[APG Public List] Problem with professional genealogist; formerly, Repeating client's work

MFP courthouseresearcher at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 06:41:48 MDT 2010

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 4:14 AM, Israel P <IsraelP at pikholz.org> wrote:

> What do you folks do when - after asking client the three basic questions
> what do you know, what do you want to learn and what resources have you
> already checked - client then says "Why did you spend two hours on such
> and such?  I already looked at that."

I have a question that pertains to perhaps the opposite of this situation
and look forward to guidance from knowledgeable members of this list.

We (our family research group of six members) commissioned a genealogist to
search for parentage of our ancestor who was born (our best guesstimate ca
1768) In our initial exchanges of correspondence, we wrote: "if it happened
after 1815, we either have it already or don't want it if we don't have it".
That guideline was included among  a number of exchanges both on the
telephone, written letter and email.

To our chagrin, we found that this genealogist is reviewing on the web,
children of the ancestor whose parentage we seek! In our explicit
instruction we included data on all thirteen of the ancestor's children and
stated clearly as I wrote above----if it happened after 1815, etc.

We have paid a three hundred dollar retainer to cover basic expenses, and
would like to retrieve our money, but have no idea how to proceed. In
addition to statement of our research goals that included our verbatim
statement of "no research of this family after the year 1815, the contract
read simply: "after research of several sources, I will inform client of
findings and decide whether to proceed". The hourly rates were specified.

The genealogist has been informed of our finding the research being done on
the web, and so far, no response.

This experience, one of three such unhappy results of commissioning
professional researchers (one of which was caused by my self), has convinced
me it is time to prepare myself to do my own research.

Please advise/offer opinions as to how to proceed with this genealogist.

Mag Parker
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