Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you are just beginning your family history journey, or you’ve been researching for a while and have reached a “brick wall,” professional assistance can enhance your experience and help you achieve your goals.
No one can know everything about every type of record or resource, but as in any field of endeavor, professional genealogists use advanced techniques to explore and understand new areas of research. In short, they’ve learned how to learn! And they are trained to apply these skills to your special needs.
Professional genealogists not only know where to find the records, they understand what the records are able to tell us about your family. They analyze every source, digging deeper into the historical, legal, and cultural factors that impact the true significance of each document.
What should I look for in a professional genealogist?
Check their credentials: Are they members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)? If so, they have agreed to abide by the APG Code of Ethics. The Code sets standards for honesty and ethical business practices.
Are they Board-certified? Genealogists who achieve certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) represent the very best in skills, education, ethics and achievement.
At Prairie Roots Research we are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of scholarship and ethics. Alice is a Board-certified Genealogist who adheres to the BCG and APG Codes of Ethics. You should accept nothing less than this level of excellence in any researcher you select for your family history project.
How long will my project take to complete?
Every project is unique. A simple look-up may be completed within a week or so, depending on records availability. More complicated projects require more time, and again, records availability is always a factor. The best way to know how long your project might take is to contact us for a free consultation.
How much will my project cost?
Prairie Roots Research charges an hourly fee of $40. Copy costs and other actual expenses incurred are in addition to the hourly fee.
A minimum block of ten hours is required to initiate a new project. A non-refundable retainer fee of 50% of the initially authorized research time is due before work begins. The retainer fee will be credited to your account for research conducted.
How do we get started?
Contact us and tell us about your project. Initial consultations are free. If you decide to retain services, we provide a written contract. We will never exceed the contracted number of hours without your further authorization. Hourly rates are discounted for work subcontracted through board-certified genealogists.
Once we receive your retainer fee and signed contract, we begin the project with a thorough evaluation of the research you’ve completed and the problem to be solved. This examination includes analysis of all relevant records, documents, etc. This is a very necessary step and can save you money in the long run. Sometimes we can spot something right away that you may have missed—or that our knowledge of the records and how they were created reveals.
From our analysis we will develop a research plan, usually consisting of five or fewer “first steps” that we recommend to advance the project. Often we can complete one of those steps as part of the first five hours. We’ll deliver this initial evaluation & results for your review. With your approval, we’ll move forward in the second five hours to complete our “first steps” research plan.
How are my results delivered?
With completion of each research phase, we create a written report. We’ll send an invoice for hours and expenses; once payment is received, we’ll deliver your report, along with any document images. You may opt for delivery via email attachments, U.S. Postal Service, or online Dropbox.
View a Sample Client Report (1.5 MB)
We encourage discussion of the findings and will answer any questions you might have about the results. If additional research is advisable, we’ll present a “next steps” research plan to carry the project to the next level.