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

Michael John Neill mjnrootdig at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 08:14:50 MDT 2010

While the location is not mentioned, I would not accept any such conditions
on a contract, nor would I impose them. I can think of numerous situations
where one key element, lead, etc. appears in some record written or created
well after the person of interest was born. In time periods where
contemporary records are scant, clues in records at the end of a person's
life may be pivotal.

Not communicating with you though does raise concerns. I usually request
intermittent reports and updates (informally) when the researcher is someone
with whom I have not worked before.

That said, I don't want the researcher to obtain records/documents which I
already have, but reviewing them may very well be in order especially with a
completely fresh set of eyes. I always organize what I have, include
complete copies, etc--which I'm assuming you and the group have already
done. And, much to my chagrin, there have been times when clues have stared
me right in the face in a document which I originally  thought "didn't tell
me anything."

In my own experience, in a slightly different scenario, I sometimes tell the
researcher that I would like a certain set of records searched, but then I
indicate what the "problem" actually is. That allows them to determine if
there are records I don't know about that might be helpful.

Just my two cents.

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 7:41 AM, MFP <courthouseresearcher at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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

Michael John Neill
Casefile Clues-Genealogy How-Tos
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