Has anyone used professional genealogists?

+5 votes

Although I've had good results searching online and making discoveries I was thinking of trying to locate original records in Scotland, which is something one cannot do from behind a computer screen. Records I do see online are spotty at best.   I'm thinking the best way to go about that is to hire a Scottish genealogist.  Has anyone had any good or bad outcomes with professional genealogists?  I'm just concentrating on one particular Scottish ancestor.  I am thinking of this site:  http://www.scotlandsgenealogy.com/

in The Tree House by
If you can find out where the particular records are originally archived, there may be a service at the archives that can retrieve them for you for lesser costs than a genealogist.

One should also consider if the records have been microfilmed and can be rented by inter-library loan.
Before I would hire a professional I would EXHAUST all the links I could find (Cyndi's list offers free websites and I have seen Irish and Scottish links) I know nothing of Scotland, I would suggest seeing if there are Genealogy Departments at a local or state library. I subscribed to Ancestry.com All Access about $50.00 a month for month by month. I did find a lot of good information in England. My local Genealogy department had 1/2 hour free consultation with professional genealogist. I had a lot of information that I gave to him prior to our consultation. I had issues reading German Script from 1890's. He happened to be an expert and gave me a whole booklet of information to check. He said he didn't always have such success but I had a lot of valid information that was helpful to an experienced genealogist. I checked into Professional Genealogist just to see how much it cost. One was $125/hr 4 hour minimum. Another was $2,100.00 for four hours. Good luck in your search. I am exhausting all the FREE stuff I can find first.
Thank you Maggie. I think my particular ancestor which has already had quite a bit of research done on him, would require original records from his homeland in Scotland.  He is a possible 'gateway ancestor' (not totally certain), and I would like to verify that.  For that reason, I need to go back to  1500-1600-1700s.  There was already much research done on him on the American side, in Maryland.
Thank you Rose, I wouldn't want to go beyond $2,000, You give me some good suggestions. I  just feel that the original documents probably in local areas of Scotland reside there.  My ancestor is quite well-known and has had much research done on him by other families.  


My goal is to verify if he is a true gateway ancestor like some claim, and to verify his parents and their ancestors.
Thank you Helen for your reply and link.  In my case I would need to go way back to 1500-1600-1700s.  Dugal McQueen (MacQueen) has already been well-researched but I wanted to verify his parent's lineage in Scotland. His life in Maryland is well researched. Locating information in the 19th and 20th century are easy for me but trying to locate records in the 17th, 18th centuries are far more challenging. This is nothing I will rush into. I will think it over some more and weigh the options.
Thank you Anne B and Michael for your replies.  I won't rush into this. I'm just considering it.  I just would like to have original Scottish records from the homeland. I have considered the potential outcome of 'nothing found' or 'you  might want to pursue this course of action'. That would be quite costly with little to show for it.  There is quite a bit of research already done on Dugal McQueen, but I have yet to see any original documentation, such as records showing who his parents were, etc.


5 Answers

+5 votes
Careful - there doesn't appear to be  anything new on this website since 1 Jan 2014.    Sorry although I'm in Scotland I don't know of any professionals here.
by Maria Maxwell G2G6 Pilot (163k points)
Thank you for answering Maria.  I chose that particular site because Chris Halliday is famiilar with the  Inverness area and Jacobite rebellion, which is where my ancestor comes from, and he was a Jacobite.  I won't rush into this though, and consider other possibilities.  I know it wouldn't be cheap.
+7 votes

My answer is no I haven't but I'm wondering where you are in your search that you feel the need to employ one. You can find a lot with the records that are available online.

 Many images of  Scottish records  (parish records, censuses, wills, land valuations) are online, the Scottish government itself charges rather than farming them out to commercial organisations.


Unfortunately it isn't cheap so I suppose that it might be cheaper for someone on the spot but even then they would have to include  access fees (£15 a day )plus photocopying plus cost for their time.

by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (322k points)
edited by Helen Ford
+6 votes
I have hired a professional genealogist, with ok results. I did not get precisely what I was looking for (the location of a Mississippi plantation), but did get location of land that his wife owned. Hiring the person was a lot cheaper than my taking a trip to Mississippi. My parents frequently hired professionals.

My recommendation: have specific questions in mind and decide in advance how much you can afford to spend.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Keep in mind you are purchasing the time of a professional not necessarily a solution.  Often the answer you seek is elusive and will take some time to dig through records, analyze documents, find a new course to follow, etc.  Any of which could still lead to a dead end.  You have bought the time of the researcher, ideally with a lot of expertise in the area of your interest, who would be more effective or efficient than you.  You may end of learning that there is no "Answer" to be had or that more time is needed and therefore, more money will have to be spent.  

Heed Anne's advice for the best chance at an answer.
+3 votes
I've always found the staff at Scotlands People Edinburgh, and the Mitchell Library Glasgow very helpful.   I'm sure they would be able to tell you if any parish records, kirk session etc records exist for the place and timescale you are researching and if so where they are !!   It's worth a couple of e-mails.
by Maria Maxwell G2G6 Pilot (163k points)
Thank you so much Maria for your suggestion. I will definitely look into that. :)
+3 votes

You might take a look at the Association for Professional Genealogists. While predominantly US-based, they do have members beyond the US borders. Or they have US-based researchers who specialize in, say, Scotland and Scottish research.


A search by geographic speciality:


The search results will give you additional information.

Good luck!
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (775k points)

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