[APG Public List] client who ignores billing

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Mon Feb 22 21:22:22 MST 2010

I wrote (in response to Larry)
>>>For assignments in which research essentially involves “searching records,” [your suggestion of reporting after every 10 hours of research] is wise. On the other hand, in many areas across rural America, where research is far more complex and piecing together even a pattern might not be possible in less than 40 hours, reporting every ten or so hours would not work. The time would be insufficient to develop anything meaningful and clients would walk away thinking “once again, I got nothing from the search.”
Then, in response to Larry’s response, I explained more fully:
>>“The ‘patterns’ to which I refer are evidentiary patterns developed through correlation and analysis of seemingly disparate pieces of evidence. It can take a considerable amount of research---not just on the elusive ancestor but on what I call his FAN Club (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors)---to develop patterns of migration, naming and religious practices, activities, land ownership, etc., from which we might squeeze the first viable clues to origin, identity, or parentage. In cases such as this, reporting after, say, 10 hours would provide the client with nothing of any obvious value.  
Now, Jeanette writes:
>I'm having trouble with this.  If you can't figure out where the problems are within 10 hours - rural or not, something is wrong with the genealogical researcher's skills.

Jeanette, I did not say that I (or any other researcher, generically) cannot figure out where problems are within 10 hours. That point is obvious in the above snippets that you quoted.  
Beyond that, If you’ll reread my original message, you’ll see that figuring out where the problems are and what approach to use is the critical part of the problem analysis that I recommend as the first step prior to launching research. 
However, I’m the one who is now confused by your comment above. A while ago, you transplanted this APG discussion onto TGF and there you stated your disagreement with me quite differently:
>Elizabeth, you also mentioned that 40 hours might not be enough to find needed information.  I'm having a difficult time believing that a "professional genealogist" would not be able to find enough information in that amount of time.  The "professional genealogist" who can't is the last person I would want to hire.
At this point, I’m pulling out my hair trying to figure out exactly which it is you disagree with—my planning or my research.  But, here as there (or there as here), I have to agree with Jack’s TGF response in which he asked if you were “seriously suggesting” that “absolute evidentiary proof [could be found] for any research question in 40 hours or less.”
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
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