'''Six Steps for Hiring a Genealogist'''<br>
1. Determine your research needs
2. Obtain a list of genealogists
3. Contact candidates
4. Determine whom to hire
5. Make an agreement
6. Pay fees and provide information to start
Do not start with a general or vague goal (example: I want to know more about my ancestors on my mother's side). Clarify the problem by finding and reviewing as much existing information as possible. You may want to check:
*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 .
After deciding what you want to learn, summarize your research problem and state how the genealogist can help you.
=== Step 3: Contact Candidates ===
Contact several genealogists whose skills and credentials seem appropriate. If you telephone candidates, you can find out immediately if the genealogist is available and interested in working on your project.
And you may also be able to gain a sense of the genealogist's competence. However, be considerate of the researcher's time. Do not expect too many ideas before the genealogist has seen your records.
Writing letters is a slower process, but many genealogists prefer written correspondence because they have time to think about the project before responding. Be sure to include your return address, phone number, and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Discuss the following in your phone call or
*Your research problem, materials, and goals
. *The genealogist's availability and interest in your project . *The research strategies the genealogist might use . *The genealogist's access to records required for your project . *The reporting procedure . (You may even want to see a sample report.) *The genealogist's areas of specialty and credentials, including language skills if needed . *Rates and billing procedures .<br>
=== Step 4: Determine Whom to Hire ===
=== Step 5: Make an Agreement ===
Before the genealogist begins working on your project, be sure to make an agreement. Although verbal agreements are possible, especially when the project is small, they may be of little benefit in the event of a dispute. A written agreement can be as simple as
a letter stating your expectations and authorizing the genealogist to proceed, or it can be a formal written contract. Either you or the genealogist can prepare the agreement. In lieu of a formal contract, some genealogists have a list of their research methods and policies that is modified for each project and signed by the client.
Any agreement, verbal or written, should include at least the following:
*The research goal and scope of the project. *Frequency of reports and bills
. *Content of the reports . *What constitutes fees and expenses . *Payment and limitations of fees . *How cost overruns should be handled . *What happens if one or both parties do not or cannot fulfill their part of the agreement. *Publication rights to the research findings . *What forms the genealogist will prepare .<br>
=== Step 6: Pay Fees and Provide Information to Start ===
=== Stay in Contact ===
As you work with your genealogist, be sure to communicate often. Most problems can be avoided through good communication. However, if problems do arise that you cannot solve together, get in touch with the organization that credentialed the genealogist. Many organizations will mediate or arbitrate disagreements between the genealogists they credential and their clients.
== Part III: Reference Section ==