Why would you consider hiring a professional genealogist? Maybe your ancestry search has gotten too time-consuming and difficult, or maybe you've hit the dreaded "brick wall" and can't seem to get past it. A professional genealogist has had years of training and experience and is better-equipped to tackle difficult research problems.
ICAPGEN and BCG
Should you decide to hire a professional for your ancestry search, there are two main organizations you should know about. The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, or ICAPGen, and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, or BCG, are the two organizations for credentialing in the field of genealogy. Both organizations have been around since 1964. ICAPGen was founded by the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later became an independent entity; BCG was founded by the American Society of Genealogists.
To find and contact a professional genealogist for your ancestry search, you can simply go to the website of either organization and search their directory. Genealogists credentialed by ICAPGen are known as AGs, or Accredited Genealogists, and genealogists credentialed by BCG are known as CGs, or Certified Genealogists. Both organizations require rigorous credentialing processes and impeccable genealogical standards.
Hiring a Professional
On the ICAPGen website or the BCG website, you can choose a genealogist who has expertise in the geographical area where your ancestors lived, or you can choose a genealogist who lives and works near an archive or library where you want research conducted.
Before hiring a professional to do your ancestry search, you should understand that no professional researcher will agree to find a certain number of generations of your family tree in exchange for a certain amount of money. Instead, a professional genealogist will charge you by the hour for their time spent researching, and they will do their best to find as much information as they can in that time.
When hiring a professional, figure out exactly which ancestor(s) you want researched. Make sure that you share with the genealogist all information you have on a family, and also any relevant documents that you have in your possession. Otherwise, the genealogist's time and your money will be wasted tracking down documents that you already have. Most importantly, keep an open communication with your genealogist throughout the process of your ancestry search.