This is a basic guideline on how to select, a work with, a professional genealogist. I do not take on all research projects, but evaluate each project before doing any research. I like challenging projects and would love to assist you in growing your shrub into a majestic tree.

SERVICES.  Researchers mainly do the following:

  • Tracing Ancestry. 
  • Researching Descendants. 
  • Searching Records. 
  • Other Services may include the following­:
    • Consulting and counseling with you about how to solve a research problem.
    • Deciphering handwriting on old records.
    • Translating foreign records.
    • Instructing and lecturing on genealogical topics.
    • Computerizing genealogical information.
    • Abstracting and publishing records.
    • Finding missing people.

METHODS of Professional Genealogists.  Most professional genealogists follow a similar research process. Understanding this process will help you know what to expect from the genealogist you hire.

  • Define the Research Problem. 
  • Develop a Research Plan. 
  • Conduct the Research. 
  • Analyze the Findings. 
  • Report the Findings. 
  • Prepare Forms. 
  • Share Results. 
  • Bill for Services. (Billing does not require and detailed hourly accounting)


FEES. Rates may be as low as $25.00 per hour, but could be over $100.00 per hour, depending on the complexity of the research project. The average rate charged by most competent genealogists ranges from $35.00 to $60.00 per hour. Research fee for research at a court house, or other repository,  is $25 per hour plus fees which include travel time and related costs, such as copy fees.

My average research fee is $25 per hour (PLUS EXPENSES) with a minimum of four hours. 

​Title Search Rates

$50 per hour and may cost between $400 - $600 per search, depending on the age of the property.

​1950 to present estimated $200 - $400

1900 to 1949 estimated  $300 - $500

​Pre 1900 $600​ and up


  • Costs of copies of records, certificates, and other documents.
  • Fees paid to other researchers and research assistants, to search records.
  • Field travel (auto, meals, lodging).
  • Admission fees paid to courthouses, repositories, and other record facilities.
  • Administrative costs for items such as postage, supplies, and secretarial services.

PAYMENT.  I require my clients to pay a retainer before work begins. I work and bill against the retainer until it is spent. Then, another retainer is paid and work continues.

GETTING STARTED. It is very important you know exactly what you want me to accomplish in your project.  Find and review as much existing information as possible. I suggest you check the following:

  • Pedigree charts and family group sheets.
  • Family histories and traditions.
  • Birth, death, and marriage certificates; obituaries; funeral programs; and so forth.
  • Diaries, journals, old letters, and photocopies of family information from Bibles.
  • Military records, naturalization certificates, photographs, and so forth.
  • Current address and owner of property is required for a title searches.

​PROJECT AGREEMENT: Once you decide what you want to learn about your ancestors, summarize your research problem and submit it to me for evaluation and a project estimate. I will NOT accept a retainer or any funds toward a project without a finalized scope of research agreed upon by both parties. Revisions, modifications and changes to the original scope of research must be mutually agreed upon and may require additional funding.

PROJECT REPORTING: I will NOT be provide a detailed accounting of hours spent on a project, or provide an explanation of how I scheduled those hours, or if it was necessary to use the services of a research assistant. After we agree on a fee for a project, I normally do not charge for additional hours if they are within reason. ​You may receive interim reports on the progress of the project, but not an accounting of hours. A final report, with my findings, will be sent at the end of the project. If you insist on a detailed accounting, you may find the project a great deal more expensive.I reserve the right to refuse, or terminate a project and refund all, or part, of the retainer.


ProGenealogists ​affiliated with

If you would like to engage our professional research services, the first step is to fill out the free estimate form. There is no obligation to purchase. The smallest session of research is a 20 hour session which starts at $2,300. Prices go up from there depending upon the amount of hours required for your case. The estimate form will put your request in a queue for a professional to review. After the review, the representative will contact you to give you an idea of the cost associated with having us conduct this research, as well as present you with what we expect our professionals should be able to find for you.

Legacy Tree

They have examples of their research reports on their site.

You will find many other by making an online search. Just remember the basic guidelines when hiring someone.

​​​Genealogy Detective