Code of Ethics
It is of utmost importance that you receive quality, professional services when purchasing genealogical consulting services. Incorrect information at the start of a project can cause many hours of wasted time and money.
For this reason, it is crucial that you understand the approach I use to research your family history. I follow specific steps to ensure you are provided with information that adheres to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices established by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). For more information on the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices click here.
Establishing a Baseline
As professional genealogists, it is my responsibility to ensure your family research is properly documented and meets the industry standards set for professional genealogy. To this end, I am obligated to verify that the baseline from which we start our research is solid. I cannot accept any project for in-depth research on a specific person or family until I have verified that previously conducted research is accurate.
For this reason, we will need to start with one of two packages:
- Introductory Family History Package – This is a high-level report that will serve as a foundation for more in-depth research. The research will focus on an analysis of census records and online databases using sources available such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org to rough out a family tree. This is a cost-effective way to get started. At project completion, you will receive a written report summarizing the findings along with citations for supporting documentation. The report will include suggestions for further research and recommend specific documents to be requested such as birth marriage and death records, Social Security Applications, land records and more.
- Family History Review Package – This package provides review and analysis of data you have already collected on your family. You might ask “But why should I pay to repeat work that has already been done?” That is a very good question. No professional genealogist can provide you with reliable research if they have not verified the research already done. If the research was done well, this step will go quickly. If there are mistakes in the information, or if the work has not been properly documented and cited, you might be paying for research built on faulty facts. That can prove to be very expensive and a waste of money. I want to ensure that your genealogical project proceeds in a cost-efficient manner. At the end of the project, you will receive a written report summarizing the findings of the review along with citations for supporting documentation. The report will include suggestions for further research.
Once we have established that the baseline family history is correct, we can start delving into any questions you may have.
Some examples are as follows:
- Filling in the Gaps – There are many indexes, abstractions, and transcriptions of original documents available on the Internet. However, these are considered secondary sources of information, not original. This means there is room for error. To fill in the gaps, we will focus on obtaining the original documents if they are still in existence (extant).
- Missing Relatives Research – Relative whom you have had difficulty obtaining information on, such as an ancestor you can track back to a specific place and time but then disappears for 20 years before you can find him/her again.
- To the Pond Investigation – Research to determine from what country your ancestor came to the United States. You will likely have more than one ancestor you would like to trace. Most clients start with a lineal relative, like a grandfather or grandmother. But you may have questions about a collateral relative also, like an aunt or great uncle.