How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Genealogist?

Understanding the Role of a Genealogist

genealogist image

Genealogists are professionals who specialize in researching family histories that involve more than just names and dates. Their services are essential for tracing one’s ancestral roots, verifying family legends, and gathering vital information for various administrative, legal, and medical purposes.

The responsibilities of a genealogist include investigating family histories, conducting research, analyzing data, writing reports, and presenting findings to clients. They can also liaise with other experts such as historians, archivists, librarians, and geneticists to validate their findings.

More specifically, a genealogist can help clients:

1. Trace their family history
Genealogists can help clients discover their family history, including where their ancestors came from, how they lived, and their cultural history. They can also provide guidance on obtaining legal documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death records.

However, tracing one’s family history accurately and comprehensively is no easy task. It requires in-depth research, patience, and expertise. Genealogists use primary sources such as census records, military records, newspapers, and church registers to piece together a client’s family history. They can also conduct DNA tests to confirm relationships and ethnic origins.

Hiring a genealogist to trace one’s family history can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 per hour, depending on the extent of research required. A simpler research project can cost between $500 to $1500.

2. Conduct Genealogical Research for Medical Purposes
Genealogical research is increasingly becoming relevant for medical purposes. Many diseases are hereditary, and their incidence can be higher among some ethnic and geographical populations. Genealogists can help clients identify their risk of certain diseases, such as breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, through analyzing their ancestry and genetic materials.

Genealogists can also work with medical professionals to identify deceased family members’ medical history, which can help determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for individuals with complex or rare medical conditions.

3. Validate Legal Issues
Genealogical research can be of great help when dealing with legal issues such as probate or inheritance disputes, adoption, and immigration cases. Genealogists can trace family members and their relationships to verify legitimacy, locate potential heirs, or assess the validity of a claim.

For example, a genealogist can be hired to investigate family trees and siblings to determine whether family members exist, and if no family exists, if they did exist and could potentially be reached out to. This is useful in an inheritance case that does not have surviving immediate family.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Hiring a Genealogist

Factors Affecting the Cost of Hiring a Genealogist

When it comes to hiring a genealogist, the cost can vary greatly depending on various factors. For those who are looking to hire a genealogist, understanding what can affect the cost is important in order to budget accordingly. Here are some factors that can influence the cost of hiring a genealogist:

1. Experience and Expertise

Experience and expertise are two key factors that can affect the cost of hiring a genealogist. Genealogy is a complex field and requires a lot of skill and knowledge. Those genealogists who have been working in the field for many years and have a lot of expertise will generally charge more than those who are just starting out. This is because the more experienced and knowledgeable genealogist will likely be able to complete the research faster and with greater accuracy.

2. Type of Research

Genealogist Research

The type of research that a genealogist is being asked to do can greatly affect the cost of hiring them. For example, if someone wants a genealogist to research a specific ancestor back several generations, it will likely take more time and effort to complete this project than it would to research only a few generations. Similarly, if the individual is looking for a genealogist to do extensive research on a particular lineage, the cost will be higher than for someone looking for very basic information or a simple family tree. It’s important to be clear about what you want the genealogist to do so that they can quote you an accurate price.

Rarely, the genealogist may charge hourly rates, and if they charge hourly rates, it is still crucial to know how the genealogist charges for disbursements. If expenses like certified copies of papers, archive fees, and membership subscription are included in the genealogist’s hourly rate fees, it is most possible that the genealogist may ask for advanced payment. The hourly rate is usually between $50 to $100, but it may differ based on different factors.

3. Geographic Area


The geographic area where the research is being done can also play a role in the cost of employing a genealogist. In some areas, such as Europe or the United States, the cost of living is higher, so genealogists charge more for their services. If the genealogist needs to travel to different locations to conduct research, this can also add to the cost. Genealogists who are based in remote areas or have low overheads may charge a lower fee than others. However, working with a genealogist who is located near where you need the research done may save money on travel expenses.

4. Deadline


The deadline or timeframe in which the research needs to be completed can also affect the cost of hiring a genealogist. If the individual needs the research done quickly – within a few days or weeks, for example – the genealogist may need to put off other projects to prioritize their work and charge a higher fee. If the deadline is flexible, however, the cost may be lower, since the genealogist can work on the project as part of their normal workload.

5. Additional Services


Finally, additional services offered by a genealogist can also affect the cost. For example, if the genealogist offers to create a custom family tree, this may involve additional time and effort, and thus result in a higher cost. Genealogists may offer other additional services, such as looking up old records or conducting interviews with family members, which also affect the overall cost. It’s important to discuss these additional services with the genealogist to determine what they will cost and whether or not they are necessary for the individual’s research needs.

Overall, the cost of employing a genealogist can vary widely depending on several factors. It’s essential to discuss the project in detail with the genealogist to receive a quote and understand all of the factors that may affect the price. Doing this can save headaches in the long run and help ensure that the project is completed quickly and accurately.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Genealogist?

Average Rates of Professional Genealogists

Average Rates of Professional Genealogists

Genealogy research involves a lot of time, effort, and dedication. If you are struggling to find your ancestral roots, a professional genealogist can help you. However, one of the first things you might wonder is how much it costs to hire a genealogist. While it varies depending on the experience and qualifications of the genealogist, there are some general guidelines that can help you get an idea of how much a professional genealogist will cost.

Hourly Rates of Professional Genealogists

Hourly Rates of Professional Genealogists

Most genealogists charge hourly rates for their services, and these fees generally range from $50 to $200 per hour. The exact rate depends on the experience, education, and reputation of the genealogist. Those who have extensive experience, advanced degrees, and a strong reputation in the genealogical community tend to charge higher rates. Additionally, those who specialize in a certain geographic area or type of research, such as DNA testing or military records, may also charge more.

Some genealogists may also charge a minimum hourly rate, which means that you will be charged for at least a certain amount of hours, regardless of how much work is completed during that time. Others may offer discounted rates for larger projects or may charge a flat fee for services like compiling a family tree or conducting a records search.

Project-Based Rates of Professional Genealogists

Project-Based Rates of Professional Genealogists

Some genealogists may also offer project-based rates for their services. This means that instead of charging by the hour, they will charge a flat fee for a specific project or set of services. For example, a genealogist may charge a flat fee to research and compile a family tree for a specific family or individual. Project-based rates may also include travel and expenses if the genealogist needs to travel to a specific location to conduct research.

Project-based rates vary widely depending on the scope of the project and the experience and qualifications of the genealogist. However, it is typically more expensive than hourly rates, especially for larger projects that may take several weeks or months to complete.

Additional Costs of Hiring a Professional Genealogist

Additional Costs of Hiring a Professional Genealogist

Besides hourly or project-based rates, there may be additional costs associated with hiring a professional genealogist. For example, if the genealogist needs to travel to a specific location to conduct research, you may be responsible for paying for their travel expenses and lodging. If the genealogist needs to order research materials, such as copies of birth certificates or military records, you may also be responsible for paying the fees associated with obtaining those materials. Additionally, some genealogists may charge fees for additional services, such as presenting findings at conferences or creating custom genealogy charts and graphics.

Before hiring a professional genealogist, make sure to ask about all potential costs associated with their services. This will help ensure that you are not surprised by hidden fees or expenses.


While hiring a professional genealogist may seem expensive at first, it is important to remember that the cost reflects their expertise, experience, and dedication to helping you discover your family history. By discussing rates and fees upfront and understanding the costs associated with specific services, you can ensure that you receive the best possible service and that you are getting the most for your money.

How to Determine if You Need a Genealogist

Family Tree with Magnifying Glass and DNA Helix

Genealogy is the study of family history and lineage. It is an interesting subject to delve into, but it is also time-consuming and requires extensive research. It is not something that everyone has the patience to do. That is why some people hire genealogists to carry out the research for them. But how do you determine if you need a genealogist? Here are some factors to consider:

1. Time


Time is precious and limited. Do you have enough time to carry out extensive research on your family history? If you have a full-time job and a family to take care of, it will be difficult to devote sufficient time to genealogy research. Hiring a genealogist will save you time and enable you to focus on other important aspects of your life.

2. Resources

Library with Books and Laptop

Researching family history requires access to information that may not be readily available to the public. Genealogists have access to libraries, archives, and databases that aren’t widely available. If you do not have access to such resources, it may be difficult for you to carry out comprehensive research. In such cases, hiring a genealogist becomes necessary.

3. Expertise


Genealogy research involves a lot of skills and expertise. Genealogists are professionals who have trained extensively to conduct family history research. They have a deep understanding of historical documents, geography, and demographics. Genealogists are qualified to interpret the information they come across in the course of their research. If you do not possess the knowledge and expertise for genealogy research, it is better to hire a genealogist.

4. Brick Walls

Brick Wall

Have you hit a brick wall in your genealogy research? Sometimes family history research can be frustrating, especially when you have exhausted all the resources at your disposal and still have not made any progress. Genealogists are experts in overcoming obstacles and personal biases. With their experience and expertise, genealogists can often find a way to get around brick walls that may appear insurmountable to others.

Genealogy research can be rewarding and fascinating. However, it can also be tedious, time-consuming, and complex. If you are struggling with finding the time, resources, and expertise necessary to carry out comprehensive research, it may be worthwhile to hire a genealogist. They can help you navigate the challenges of genealogy research and uncover your family’s unique history.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Genealogy Research Budget

If you are on a budget and need to hire a genealogist to help you with your family research, it is important to get the most out of your money. Here are some tips for maximizing your research budget:

1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Before hiring a genealogist, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Set specific goals for the research project and communicate your expectations with the genealogist. This will help the researcher tailor the research to your needs and ensure that you get the most out of your budget.

For example, if you want to find out more about your great-grandfather who emigrated from Ireland, be clear about what information you expect to find. This could include birth, marriage, immigration, and naturalization records, as well as any family stories or other historical information.

2. Provide Accurate Information

To get the most out of your genealogy research budget, provide as much accurate information as possible to the genealogist. This will allow the researcher to quickly and efficiently search for relevant records and information. Make sure to provide details such as names, dates, locations, and any known family history or stories.

It is also important to be upfront about any gaps or uncertainties in the family history. This will help the genealogist avoid spending time and money searching for information that may not exist or be relevant.

3. Use Free Resources

There are many free genealogy resources available online that can help you save money on your research. These include online genealogy databases, message boards, and social media groups where you can connect with other genealogists and family historians.

By using these free resources to gather information and conduct preliminary research, you can narrow down your research goals and help the genealogist focus their efforts on finding the most relevant information.

4. Be Selective with Records Requests

Gathering records can be a big expense when hiring a genealogist. To save money, be selective with your records requests. Only request records that are essential to your research goals and that cannot be found through free resources.

Commonly requested records include birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and immigration and naturalization records. These records can often be obtained from government agencies and archives for a fee, and it may be more cost-effective to request multiple records at once rather than individually.

5. Review Research Reports Carefully

When you receive a research report from the genealogist, review it carefully to make sure it meets your goals and expectations. If there are any discrepancies or missing information, communicate these concerns with the genealogist and work together to resolve them.

Reviewing research reports carefully can also help you identify any areas where further research may be necessary to achieve your research goals. By being proactive and communicating openly with the genealogist, you can ensure that your research budget is being used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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