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Ellen Kowitt

The story behind the company name "Sole Searching" is personal. Ellen's paternal great grandfather manufactured shoes for the Russian army, and she's been following in the footprints of his life story for many years. Intentionally spelling "Sole" to reflect the sole of a leather shoe like the one Yosef Shindelman produced in the early 1900s, it also represents every individual pursuit of a family's unique journey.  

Ellen is a veteran Jewish records researcher and leader in genealogy activities worldwide. She has the capacity to complete projects solo or to recruit the right team of experts to collaborate and deliver outstanding results. Her lectures and articles are informative, energetic, and constantly evolving to provide current and relevant content for all types of audiences. Read about a chilling, yet inspiring success story.

As a volunteer in the genealogy world for 25 years, Ellen has held numerous leadership roles, organized records acquisition, indexed, and managed translation projects in the United States and abroad. 

Ellen continues to add to her knowledge toolbox by attending professional conferences, webinars, and genealogy institutes. She has completed the ProGen study program, and Ellen keeps the APG code of ethics in the forefront of her research and reporting.

Helping others to discover connections, break through brick walls, or learn something new to add to a family story are the goals. Ellen is dedicated and provides high quality work informed by her volunteer experience, a valuable peer network, and her professional marketing and communications background with corporations and nonprofit organizations in New York, Washington DC, and Colorado.  

AFFILIATIONS:

-JewishGen Director of USA Research Division

-Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR); National Vice Chair Jewish Task Force; Indian Peaks Chapter Registrar

-Colorado Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists

-International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies; past elected Director

-Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado; past President

-Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, DC; past President

-Israel Genealogy Research Association

-Yahad-In Unum Colorado Advisory Committee

-National Genealogical Society

-Erie, Colorado Historical Society

FEATURED ARTICLES:

"Plans to Grow the JewishGen USA Research Division." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, June 2021.

"Strategies for Navigating Jewish Family Research." Family Tree Magazine The Genealogy Insider Blog Guest Author, May 20, 2021. 
"Find Your Jewish Roots Online." Family Tree Magazine, May/June 2021.
"The Case of the Missing Ancestors: 8 Genealogy Tips from Nancy Drew." Family Tree Magazine, Jan/Feb 2021.
"Jewish DNA? 8 Strategies." Diahan Southard's Your DNA Guide Blog Guest Author, Dec. 10, 2020.
"Bridging Daughters of the American Revolution and Jewish Genealogists" Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Fall 2020. 
"How to Build a Genealogy Sleuth Kit." Family Tree Magazine The Genealogy Insider Blog Guest Author, Aug. 27, 2020. 
"First NSDAR Jewish Task Force Launches." DAR Registrar General Sunrays Blog Guest Author, July 24, 2020.
"Town Finding Aid Created for Novohrad-Volynskyi District Revision Lists on Krakovsky Website." Lara Diamond's Jewnealogy Blog Guest Author, Aug. 19, 2019.
"Jewish Resources on the Giants: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 2019, with Sunny Morton.
"Yahad-In Unum Documents Holocaust Mass Gravesites in Nine Countries." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Feb. 2019.
"A Colorado Immigrant's Tale of Three Husbands." Avotaynu: International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Feb 2018 with Karen Franklin.

HONORS & AWARDS:

-UGA Jimmy B. Parker Scholarship Award for SLIG 2021

-Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado Appreciation Awards 2012, 2009

-Linda Fenner Young Women's Leadership Award, Denver, 2009 

​-Rose Community Foundation Jewish Life Grant for JGSCO, 2009

-Rose Community Foundation Limmud Grant for JGSCO, 2007

-IAJGS Stern Award to Index JCRS Patient Application Records at the University of Denver, 2003

-IAJGS Program Award to JGSGW for Outstanding Programming that Advances the Objectives of Jewish Genealogy, 2000

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

 

DINA CARSON

Publisher, Irongate Publishing

I highly recommend Ellen as a genealogical researcher, analyst and speaker. She is skilled in all types of research but has a much needed specialty in Jewish genealogical research. If you need to find an immigrant ancestor, or be able to trace an ancestor back to "the old country" in particular Eastern Europe, then Ellen is the professional researcher you want. 

KAREN FRANKLIN

Independent Museums Professional

I've worked together with Ellen on genealogy projects for many years. She not only brings to her clients enthusiasm and interest, but also experience and extensive knowledge of sources. Ellen has the ability to integrate research into a larger history, local and international.

ARTHUR KURZWEIL

Author, From Generation to Generation

Ellen is a knowledgeable and skilled genealogical researcher who is highly  admired among her peers. In addition, Ellen is a wonderful public speaker. I recommend her most enthusiastically both as a researcher and a teacher/speaker in the world of Jewish genealogy.

MARTY DUBIN

Client, Denver, Colorado

My 91-year old mother, whose father

had died when she was 14, knew

nothing about how he got to Colorado, how he started his clothing store, and who or where the rest of his family resided. Ellen interviewed my mother with sensitivity and respect. Ellen answered my mother's questions and so much more, and all the documents and pictures she found were so exciting to see. We can't thank her enough.

We needed a fresh set of eyes to
review our family tree, as well as an experienced professional to suggest resources. Ellen did not disappoint
and gave our genealogical research project a great boost! She analyzed
our work, found records, added to our story, and was so helpful with
replies to our questions.  

 

JOANN ADVENSKY

Client, Manchester, New Jersey

I needed help with researching my American family with UK and Italian roots, and Ellen was a terrific resource for troubleshooting. She knows how to access most online records, and when she doesn’t, she knows the right people who do. Ellen is thorough and conscientious. You can tell she really loves researching and connecting people to their roots.

AVI B.

Client, Boston, Massachusetts

CAROLYN LEHMANN

Client, Thornton, Colorado

Ellen thoughtfully navigated and enhanced my family tree using online resources and then downloaded a GEDCOM file to my desktop. She skillfully identified and integrated marriage and other vital records for my German Jewish family. My tree has grown exponentially and many questions have been answered. I look forward to learning more!

MARTY DUBIN

Client, Denver, Colorado

Ellen does amazing work. When I worked as a rabbi in Colorado, she was the person that people turned to for information about Jewish genealogy. Knowledgeable and approachable, she was excellent at sharing with people the excitement of understanding their own past. She's a wonderful speaker and teacher.

BETSY ROBERTS

Client, Broomfield, Colorado

Ellen analyzed information we received about my father's adoption and was able to create a large family tree on his mother's side using traditional genealogical research techniques. But the really cool part was her use of DNA testing to narrow down who my grandfather was.

RABBI JOSH ROSE

Cong. Shaarie Torah, Portland, OR

LECTURES

  • 20-90 minute presentations that are informative and educational.

  • Optional Q&A period and handout available.

  • Content is flexible and can be delivered as stand-alone lecture, ongoing course, workshop, mentoring, or other formats. 

  • Ellen will travel out of state, conduct live webinars, or provide mp4 recordings.

  • Speaking fee is $200-$300 per lecture.

  • Please inquire about travel expenses. 

  • Click here for descriptions of lecture topics 6/4/2021.

2021-2022 SCHEDULED LECTURES and INTERACTIVE CLASSES - updated 10/16/2021

November 10, 2021JewishGen Talks Webinar Series, Researching Jewish Families in America: Jews in the U.S. Military  

November 14, 2021Jewish National Fund Private Event Webinar, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

December 8, 2021Legacy Family Tree Webinars Live and Library RecordingDocumenting Families or Communities Lost in the Holocaust by Bullets. Annual Legacy Family Tree membership of $49.95 for access to unlimited library of webinars.

December 16, 2021Family Tree University Webinar, Getting Started Researching Your Jewish Roots

December 19, 2021Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites

Jan. 11 - March  1, 2022 - University of Denver OLLI Winter Session Virtual ClassroomIntroduction to Jewish Genealogy 16-hour class/8 sessions

January 12, 2022 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County, FL Webinar, Strategies for Navigating Ukraine Resources 

February 13, 2022 Jewish Genealogical Society of New York Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites   

February 27, 2022Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston Webinar, Strategies for Navigating Ukraine Resources 

February 27, 2022Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites  

March 11-13, 2022Jewish National Fund Private Event, Carlsbad, CA, Genealogist-in-Residence

May 1, 2022 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Locating Jewish Records in the Golden Medina/USA 1654-2022

May 26, 2022 - National Genealogical Society Conference, Sacramento, CA, Tips & Tricks to Navigating JewishGen

September 18, 2022Santa Cruz Jewish Genealogy Society Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites  

ADDITIONAL TOPICS CAN BE DEVELOPED UPON REQUEST

PAST SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Recordings and handout files where indicated below. 

October 16, 2021Arvada Family Discovery Day, Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy

October 10, 2021 Congregation Beth David, Saratoga, CA Webinar, Overview of JewishGen

October 6, 2021JewishGen Talks Webinar Series, Researching Jewish Families in America: Jews in New England  

September 19, 2021Jewish Genealogy Society of Southern Nevada Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites

August 1, 2021IAJGS Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Recording Available for 60 DaysLocating Jewish Records in the Golden Medina/USA 1654-2021

August 3, 2021IAJGS Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Recording Available for 60 Days, JewishGen USA Research Division Update SLIDES

July 25, 2021 - JGS of Colorado Webinar, Alex Krakovsky LIVE From Kyiv! Discussing his Ukrainian Archives Digitization Project with Ellen Kowitt

July 14, 2021Legacy Family Tree Webinars Live and Library RecordingComparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites with Sunny Morton. Annual Legacy Family Tree membership of $49.95 for access to unlimited library of webinars.

June 27, 2021 Congregation Beth David, Saratoga, CA Webinar, Introduction to Jewish Resources on Genealogy Websites

June 11, 2021Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2021 Conference Recording, Documenting Jewish Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets.

May 25, 2021JewishGen Talks Webinar Series, Researching Jewish Families in America: Focus on Southern Jewish Resources. Recording coming!

May 20, 2021Elevenses with Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel, Jewish Genealogy & Eastern European. RECORDING

May 19, 2021Family Tree Magazine Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke, Best Websites for Jewish Genealogy. RECORDING at 29:30-43:20.

April 25, 2021 Orange County, CA Jewish Genealogical Society Webinar, Ukraine 2021 Update Your Research Plan 

April 22, 2021 - Erie, Colorado Public Library Webinar, The Case of the Missing Ancestors: Genealogy Tips from Nancy Drew

April 11, 2021 - Jewish Genealogical & Archival Society Greater Philadelphia Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites

Mar. 30 - May 4, 2021 - University of Denver OLLI Spring Session Virtual ClassroomIntroduction to Jewish Genealogy 12-hour class/6 sessions

March 21, 2021 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento Webinar, Why Would a Jewish Genealogist Return to Ukraine for the Third Time?

March 17, 2021 - Southern California Genealogical Society Webinar, Find African American, French, Jewish, & Spanish Revolutionary War Patriots

March 11, 2021 - The Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society Webinar, Locating Jewish Records in the Golden Medina/USA 1654-2021

February 25-27, 2021 - RootsTech Connect 2021 Virtual Conference Recording, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed in three 20-minute segments; Overview, Names, & Places  RECORDING PART I, PART II, PART III

Jan. 25 - March  1, 2021 - University of Denver OLLI Winter Session Virtual ClassroomIntroduction to Jewish Genealogy 12-hour class/6 sessions

November 11, 2020 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County, FL Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen

November 8, 2020 - Miami Valley Jewish Genealogical and Historical Society, Dayton, OH WebinarComparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen with Sunny Morton

October 15 - Nov. 5, 2020 - University of Denver OLLI Virtual ClassroomIntroduction to Jewish Genealogy 8-hour class/4 sessions

October 11, 2020 The Jewish Federation of Orange County, NY Webinar, Get Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots

September 15, 2020 - University of Denver OLLI Tuesday Speaker Series Webinar, Documenting Jewish Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets

August 29, 2020 - CO State Genealogy Society WebinarDocumenting Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets

August 23, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington DC WebinarComparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen

August 14, 2020Congregation Beth Evergreen Legacy Society Webinar, Private Talk Back Event

August 10, 2020 - IAJGS Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Virtual Recording, Ukraine 2020: Update Your Research Plan 

August 10, 2020 - IAJGS Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Webinar, Introducing the New JewishGen US Research Division - SLIDES

July 26, 2020Jewish Genealogy Society of Illinois WebinarComparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen

July 26, 2020Jewish Genealogy Society of Illinois WebinarWhat Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources 

July 20, 2020 - Broomfield Genealogy Society WebinarWhat Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources 

July 16, 2020 - MyHeritage Ask the Experts Webinar, Jewish Resources on MyHeritage - RECORDING

June 21, 2020 - Israel Genealogy Research Assoc. (IGRA) WebinarUkraine 2020: Update Your Research Plan

June 11, 2020 - Estes Park Genealogy Society WebinarWhat Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources

May 17, 2020Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado WebinarWhat Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources

May 5, 2020Boulder Jewish Community Center Webinar, Connecting Generations and Sharing Family Stories - RECORDING

March 11, 2020 - Pikes Peak Genealogy Society, Colorado Springs, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

March 3, 2020 - Highlands Ranch Genealogy Society, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

March 1, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Conejo Valley, CA, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen

February 4, 2020 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, Lunch n' Learn, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

January 29, 2020Aurora Rotary Club, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

January 26, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado,  Mile High Resources: Researching Jewish Families in Colorado - HANDOUT AVAILABLE

January 21, 2020 - Columbine Genealogy Society, Centennial, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

January 13, 2020 - Anthem Ranch Genealogy Club, Broomfield, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed

November 21, 2019 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, Facilitating Ellis Island Stories - HANDOUT AVAILABLE

November 7, 2019Weld County Genealogy Society, Greeley, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

October 26, 2019 - Castle Rock Genealogy Society, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

August 2, 2019 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Cleveland, OH, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Mishpacha

July 28, 2019 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Cleveland, OH, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen with Sunny Morton

June 20, 2019 - Protecting Memory Project Memorial Opening Ceremonies, Lyubar, Ukraine, A Jewish Family Story Over 200 Years in Lyubar: Remembering My Grandfather's Roots

November-December, 2018 - Yahad-In Unum at Boulder Jewish Community Center, Docent for 14 Holocaust By Bullets Exhibit Tours

October 7, 2018Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Warsaw 2018 Conference Roundup Facilitator

August 8, 2018 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Warsaw, Poland, Everyone Didn't Die in the Holocaust: A 2018 Warsaw Jewish Family Reunion

May 9, 2018 - Longmont Genealogy SocietyWhat Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family

February 14, 2018 - Pikes Peak Genealogy SocietyPlanting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity

December 5, 2017 - Boulder Genealogy Society, Jewish Genealogy for the Non-Jewish Researcher

July 23, 2017 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, Outreach for Societies and Organization Leaders

April 15, 2017Adventure Judaism Passover Retreat, Moab, Utah, Curious about how to research your family history?

March 13, 2017 - Anthem Ranch Genealogy Society, Polish and Ukrainian Research

July 14, 2016 - Estes Park Genealogy Society, Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity

June 3, 2016 - Bonai Shalom Synagogue, Boulder, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

May 19, 2016 - Larimer Genealogy SocietyPlanting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity

April 16, 2016 - Boulder Chapter Hadassah Parlor Event, Genealogy and Small Plates

November 15, 2015 - Denver Jewish Community Center, What are you Waiting For? Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Family History Now

November 11, 2015 - Longmont Genealogy SocietyPlanting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity

July 30, 2014 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Tracing Jews Who Coughed Their Way West

February 9, 2014 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Strategies for Success: Researching Outside of the U.S.

December 2, 2012 - Back to the Basics in Jewish Genealogy

Fall, 2011Hebrew Education Alliance, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education

June 24, 2011 - Family History Expo, Loveland, CO, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

January 13, 2011 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

January 6, 2011 - Weld County Genealogy SocietyWhat's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

December 5, 2010 - Jewish Community Center, Denver, Colorado Resources Panel

Fall, 2010Congregation Emanuel, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education

January 2010 - Highlands Ranch Havurah, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy

January 17, 2010 - Denver Chapter Hadassah, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed

November 24, 2009 - LEA Chapter Hadassah, Denver, Researching Your Family History: What Can You Expect to Find

October 18, 2009 - Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, CO History Museum, Kid's Program

Fall, 2009Temple Sinai, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education 

May 24, 2009 - Limmud Colorado, Colorado Springs, Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots

April 26, 2009 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop

September 13,2008 - Parker Genealogy Society, How To Maximize Time While Visiting Ancestral Homes Abroad

Fall, 2008 Congregation Har HaShem, Boulder, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education

May 16, 2008 - Limmud Colorado, Keystone Ski Resort, Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots

September 4, 2007 - Boulder Genealogy Society, Creative Applications for Genealogical Research 

May 20, 2007Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop

February 11, 2007Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Threading a Genealogical Tapestry on JewishGen

August 17, 2006 - IAJGS Annual Conference, New York CityResources for Tracing Jews with Tuberculosis

August 13, 2006- IAJGS Annual Conference, New York City, IAJGS Management Sub Seminar

April 17, 2005Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop

March 15, 2005 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Online Access to Washington, DC Area Records

Winter, 2005Jewish Genealogy Society Southern Nevada, Online Access to Washington, DC Area Records 

April 18, 2004 - Congregation Emanuel, Denver, Beginner's Workshop

July, 2003 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Washington, DC, Family Newsletters as a Genealogy Tool with Judith Caplan, Diane Freilich & Gladys Paulin

July 9, 2000 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Managing the Large & Small JGS: A Workshop on Challenges

July 9, 2000 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Ukraine SIG Lunch, Shtetl Research 2000: Make Your Research Come Alive 

1999 - Tracing Your Family Roots Cable Access TV, Northern Virginia, Research and Travel in Ukraine

1998 - Tracing Your Family Roots Cable Access TV, Northern Virginia, Having a Family Newsletter

 
 

SERVICES & PRICING
Updated 2/18/2021

New Clients: Rate is $75 per hour with a 20-hour minimum ($1500). 
*New clients are not being accepted in 2021 due to existing client commitments.  
 

Professional Genealogists: A discounted rate of $50 per hour, without a minimum, is available to colleagues.

  • Analysis of materials already collected such as family trees, documents, photos, etc.

  • Creation/revision/maintenance of an online family tree (such as Ancestry.com) and/or GEDCOM formatted file.

  • Identify genealogical records, and document relationships or confirm ancestral origins.

  • Research about U.S. or ancestral communities to provide family history context and background.

  • Written narrative or presentation materials for a family reunion.

  • Special projects​​.

  • One-on-one coaching to guide your research.

  • Interviews of relatives or landsman.

***Read 5/12/2020 blog post Cost Analysis of Hiring a Genealogist - with Quotes by Kimberly C. Starr of the Genealogypals.

PROCESS

  1. Develop a focused research objective. You may have several objectives but only one question will be researched at a time.

  2. Provide all information and previous research you have on this subject.

  3. You will receive a basic contract that specifies the research objective and the number of hours of work you authorize. 

  4. A signed research agreement and $1500 payable by check or Zelle transfer are required to begin work.

  5. Additional expenses are billed at cost and include subcontractors, translators, document retrieval fees, copies, postage, repository research fees, parking, and tolls.

  6. Unless otherwise specified, you will receive a report with copies or links to all documentation as well as recommendations for further research. 

As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, I adhere to the APG Code of Ethics.

When Is It Time to Get Help From a
Professional Genealogist?
Excerpted from Family History Daily

1. You’re Frustrated and Have Been for Some Time

Professional genealogists, who specialize in a specific subject or area, are well acquainted with a wide variety of sources that a less experienced genealogist may overlook.

2. You’re Tired of Spending Money and Getting Little Reward

Hiring a genealogist can save you money in the long run. If you’ve been at it for a while you’ve probably spent countless dollars on database subscription fees, courses, books, software, supplies and maybe even travel. While all of these things provide a great deal of value, they can add up and, if you’re not finding the answers you need, it may make sense to spend the money where it really counts – on someone who knows just where to look.

 

3. You’ve Hit a Major Brick Wall

Sometimes it takes a trained eye to get a family tree back on track. A professional genealogist has the knowledge and experience necessary to solve confusing puzzles. And allowing fresh eyes to methodically examine your brick wall allows new information to surface. Professional genealogists are an excellent resource to validate research passed down by other family members or to verify work you have completed yourself. Not only can they make new discoveries, but they have also been trained, utilizing the Genealogical Proof Standard, to analyze and interpret existing evidence, which may lead to new conclusions. They are experienced in working with specific information on a variety of record types over various time periods.

 

4. You Need Someone With Specialized Knowledge

Understanding the culture and social customs during a specific time period is key when completing any genealogical research project. In many cases, there is no one vital record to answer our genealogical questions and the experience of a professional in consulting multiple record types can be invaluable. Without an understanding of the history and context of the records created during a given time period, one could draw false conclusions or miss information altogether. A professional resource to guide you through historical changes in boundaries, governments, languages and laws for your specific project is crucial.

 

5. You Don’t Have the Time or Money to Travel in Search of Obscure Documents

With advances in technology and online genealogical databases over the past 20 years, census and other vital records are now widely available to the public, leading some to wrongly assume that if it can’t be found online, it does not exist. This is a mistake. Digital resources can only get you so far.

 

Only a small percentage of records are available online compared to the number that are still held in local or state repositories. In many cases the only way to find information is to access original records on-site and it could be those hidden gems that finally reveal the details you’ve been hoping for. Unfortunately, this requires time and travel and can become very expensive.

 

It is very often more cost effective to hire a local professional researcher on the ground. A local researcher is well versed in which records and which repository will likely hold the answers to the research question at hand. They understand the language, but can also navigate the local customs, laws and boundary changes.

 

6. You’re Not Taking Advantage of Everything DNA Has to Offer

Genetic genealogy is an ever-growing field, and most of us are baffled by what to do with our results beyond scrolling through our matches and trying to figure out why we show up as 3% Ashkenazi Jewish. Understanding how to combine scientific and historical documentation can be a stumbling block for those of us who are passionate about genealogy.

 

Genetic genealogists are trained in how to utilize your DNA data to aid you in solving your genealogical puzzles. Because genetic genealogy requires a distinct skill set from traditional genealogical research, it may be of value to seek the help of an expert to determine kinship.