Author Topic: Value of employing a researcher  (Read 568 times)

Offline gnorman

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Value of employing a researcher
« on: Monday 09 November 20 22:54 GMT (UK) »
Hi everyone, just a quick question. In your opinion is it worth employing a researcher to find the things youve had no luck with, even here on Rootschat?

I have a few graves I just cannot find but would it make any sense to hire someone to look in to it further or is this just a waste of time and money? In my place would you?

Thanks, Luke

Online CaroleW

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #1 on: Monday 09 November 20 22:57 GMT (UK) »
You have to ask yourself whether finding those few graves is important enough to justify the expense that may be incurred?

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Offline kiwihalfpint

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #2 on: Monday 09 November 20 23:12 GMT (UK) »
Hi everyone, just a quick question. In your opinion is it worth employing a researcher to find the things youve had no luck with, even here on Rootschat?

No, I wouldn't .... the Chatters on here are just as good as a Researcher that has a degree.

I struck gold a few months ago, with someone taking a photo of my ancestors headstone and posting it on Find a Grave (Scotland).  I think it is a matter of just checking Google every few months, new things are always popping up.  You also have to take into account not everyone could afford to have a headstone.  Just my opinon.

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Offline coombs

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #3 on: Monday 09 November 20 23:20 GMT (UK) »
It is up to you but personally if you cannot find the graves yourself, then it could be they have no headstone, and it could be a lot of expense to hire a researcher and they cannot find anything either. Have you found any burial registers in cemetery records and/or church records? Burials in a churchyard/cemetery should be recorded regardless of whether any headstone was later put there to mark the grave.

I once hired a researcher, and soon ditched her as she often gave irrelevant entries when i asked her for just specific entries for anyone of that name in the registers, not just anyone of the same surname only.

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline Josephine

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #4 on: Monday 09 November 20 23:46 GMT (UK) »
The question for me would be this: is the information I seek only available in person at a place that I can't visit?

If the answer is yes, and I'm not aware of any local volunteers, then I might hire a researcher.

If the answer is no, I would try to think of how a researcher would go about getting the information, and start making inquiries (keeping in mind that some information is no longer available).

Here's an example from several years ago. I couldn't find a death record for my 3x-g-grandfather on FreeBMD.

1st: I made an inquiry with the local archives for the city in England where he had lived. A researcher there with an interest in people of his ethnicity looked and found it, badly misspelled, on FreeBMD.

2nd: I purchased his death record, contacted the researcher and gave his exact date of death.

3rd: The researcher found his obit and sent me the info. The obit told me where he was buried.

4th: I contacted the place where he was buried (more than once) and got no response.

5th: I paid the local archives for a copy of the burial register page. There is no info on exactly where his grave is located.

6th: There used to be an online index of the headstones in this cemetery and my ancestor wasn't listed (although some of his descendants were -- on their own stones). So either he didn't have a stone (which I doubt) or the inscription was illegible at the time that the transcript was made or his stone was missed.

Finally: I have accepted that I won't know the exact location of his grave and am satisfied to know the cemetery where he is buried.

Here's one more example. We couldn't find a record of where my husband's great-grandparents were buried, even though we had a good idea of where they were probably buried.

1st: I purchased their death records.

2nd: I found obits for those who had them. Still no luck re. burial.

3rd: I contacted all the local cemeteries (whichever council is in charge). They had no record of their burials. I thought we were out of luck.

4th: My husband and I went to England. We planned our arrival date to coincide with the local archive's open house and managed to get there before closing time. We gave them a list of names, dates, etc.

5th: They passed our inquiry on to a local researcher as well as someone who worked at the church where my husband's grandparents were married. We also visited the church.

6th: One of the researchers at the church checked their registers, which were still at the church and not on file at the local archives, and found a bunch of burials for various relatives, including my husband's great-grandparents.

7th: They found the graves and sent us photos.

8th: We arranged to go back to the church and someone showed us the way to the graves. One grave appeared not to be marked. I mentioned the low markers I had seen at the base and on the sides of some graves and the church people did a bit of poking around and found some! They went to the trouble of uncovering the low markers for us.

Finally: I didn't know this until someone at the archives or church told me: church cemeteries are privately owned by the church and therefore do not fall under the purview of the local burial councils. If I had known this, I could have written directly to the church or the local archives and requested a look-up. However, if we hadn't been there in person, it isn't likely that someone would have gone to the trouble of digging around to find the missing markers, especially as maintenance of the graves is the responsibility of family members and the churchyard is a protected nature area (I can't remember why).

I hope this hasn't been too boring. If the information is out there, it's probably possible for you to get it through your own efforts (and a bit of luck), but sometimes having someone there in person is what you really need.

Several years ago, someone who was volunteering through Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness ( went to a cemetery and found headstones belonging to some of my husband's other ancestors. He also sent me photos. At the time, there was no index available, and the church didn't know where the stones were (and didn't have anyone with the time to check for me).

England: Barnett; Beaumont; Christy; George; Holland; Parker; Pope; Salisbury
Scotland: Currie; Curror; Dobson; Muir; Oliver; Pryde; Turnbull; Wilson
Ireland: Carson; Colbert; Coy; Craig; McGlinchey; Riley; Rooney; Trotter; Waters/Watters

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 10 November 20 00:47 GMT (UK) »
I dont know about graves but I have paid for a record office before

They found an affiliation order for  birth father of my.nana the lady who found it was really helpful it was first time she.d looked for one and I think she spent more than the hours work id paid for on it .

It was worth paying for as we wouldnt.have had his full name otherwise

and we certainly couldnt have found it ourselves .
even experienced researcher at a genealogy fair told me theyd never seen one before.

With something like graves youd have to be prepared to pay for their time and not get results .

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Offline lizdb

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 10 November 20 10:37 GMT (UK) »
Personally I wouldn't hire a researcher. If the records are available for them to see, then they are available for you to see. If they aren't there, then a paid researcher wont be able to see them either.

As someone has just said. if you know there are records definitely available that are only available in person and you cant get to yourself, nor can find a volunteer to go for you, and they are absolutely vital to your ongoing research, and you have tried to get past the sticking point by looking at as many available sources as you can, then and only then might there be just a very small chance I would even begin to consider it.
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Kemp - Essex
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Offline JenB

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 10 November 20 11:07 GMT (UK) »
I have a few graves I just cannot find

Do you mean that you know in which burial grounds the graves are situated, but you can't pinpoint their precise locations?

Or do you mean that you can't discover where the people are buried in the first place?
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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Value of employing a researcher
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 10 November 20 11:11 GMT (UK) »
Coming from the opposite angle ;D
I am a (part-time) researcher on the Isle of Man.

I often get requests to find a grave location.
Because of the records available to me, I can usually find something in under an hour ;)

So minimal expense to the enquirer.

No letters after my name.
Didn't go to University!
But I have 40+ years experience ;D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)