Myths about Hiring a Professional Genealogist

10 Common Myths about Hiring a Professional Genealogist

Hiring a professional genealogist helps you build an accurate family tree and gain a deeper understanding of who you are and where you come from.  

However, due to some people’s lack of awareness, limited understanding, and heavy reliance on what they consume online and the mainstream media, they seem to cling to traditional myths about professional family history research.  

As a result, they remain skeptical and probably miss the very precious and noble opportunity to understand their roots, uncover the stories of their ancestors, connect with living relatives, and forge meaningful relationships.   

Below, we look at some of the common myths that you’ll probably encounter in your search for a professional genealogist. But first, let’s understand what professional family history researchers bring to the table.  

Read – 5 Steps to Irish Citizenship

Are Professional Genealogists Worth It?  

Working with a professional genealogist is the best option if you want a comprehensive family history backed by credible sources and advanced genetic genealogy presented through visual illustrations and compelling narratives that resonate with you and future generations.  

Professionals like Irish genealogists have the specialty skills to access vast databases and networks for crucial records, decipher intricate ones, and understand any nuances within. Besides, these experts may be local to the records, subject area, or period that you want to focus on in your family history research.  

Most importantly, the speed and accuracy with which you receive your comprehensive family history report is unparalleled, thanks to professional genealogists’ knack for meticulously verifying sources to determine their authenticity and validate the information.  

Common Myths about Hiring a Professional Genealogist 

Despite the value and certainty that comes with hiring professional researchers, it’s surprising that people looking to create family trees and learn about their family heritage may still be held back by the following misconceptions.  

Myth #1: “Professional Genealogists Are Only Limited to Europe” 

The belief that professional genealogists are only limited to Europe is unfounded and has discouraged individuals with diverse ethnic backgrounds tracing back to Asia, Native America, Africa, and Spain from seeking research services.  

This myth implies that it is impossible to conduct family history research for individuals with these backgrounds, citing a possible limited access to historical records.  

The major sources of this myth are media portrayals depicting professional genealogy within the context of European ancestry. Genealogy as a field of study has also had a historical dominance in Europe, further fanning the flames of this myth.  

However, research professionals, including Irish genealogists, can shed light on your ancestral connections across countries and continents beyond Europe. Their access to civil registrations, colonial archives, immigration records, naturalization documents, oral histories, Freedmen’s Bureau records, etc., can provide invaluable insights into ancestry beyond Europe.  

Besides, these researchers have specialized research techniques and understand the nuances of cultural traditions, cultural sensitivity, naming conventions, and the historical context of people from all walks of life. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any worries regarding your genealogy if you happen to have ancestry outside Europe.  

Myth #2: “Professional Genealogists Use Online Family Trees in Their Research” 

The influence of technology has bolstered online genealogy databases and family tree websites, giving rise to the myth that professional genealogy research revolves around family trees. For this reason, some people expect quick verification and correction when they turn in incomplete or inaccurate family trees.  

Sure, professional genealogists have access to online family trees, but thinking they use them to correct or verify clients’ family trees depicts a clear misunderstanding of the research methodologies involved. In any case, expert researchers avoid most of the family trees found online as they could take much of their precious time trying to verify all claims and untangling any messes.  

Instead, the work of a professional genealogy researcher is bound to the Genealogical Proof Standard and involves thorough primary research, analysis of original documents, and adept verification of sources. It’s also worth noting that technological advancements can’t replace the expertise and rigorous methodology employed by professionals in family history research.  

Myth #3: “Professional Genealogists Have Special Privilege for Accessing Records” 

It is a common myth that family history research experts have a special privilege in record access due to their professional status. The overestimation of genealogical expertise among some quarters makes them believe that these experts can access even the restricted records unavailable to the general public. 

While professional genealogists bring exceptional skills in archival practices, research methodology, and evidence analysis, they follow the same legal and procedural requirements to access records as any other member of the general public.  

People think family research experts have special access because of their institutional affiliations with genealogical societies, networks across regions, and subscriptions to crucial databases and repositories. However, their collaboration with government agencies, libraries, and archives does not mean that they have preferential treatment in record access.  

Professional genealogists are also expert document interpreters, so unlike amateurs, they’re more likely to make progress from a record.  

Myth #4: “Genealogy Does Not Require DNA” 

Genealogy has long been portrayed as a recreational pursuit requiring only birth, marriage, and death records. As a result, there has been limited understanding of DNA and its crucial role in verification and breaking through brick walls.  

So, people experiencing geographical barriers and budget constraints may believe DNA is unnecessary. Nothing can be further from the truth.  

DNA comes in handy when traditional genealogy research involving documents and records proves futile or contradictory. Research experts may request DNA analysis if the case involves adopted children, distant relatives, haplogroup assignments, etc.  

Myth #5: “DNA is a Guarantee that A Professional Genealogist Will Unravel My Ancestor” 

Sure, DNA is a precious tool, but believing that it guarantees to unravel your ancestors is a misconception that overlooks the nuance and complexity of genetic inheritance and interpretation.  

With the increase of DNA testing sites online, people are increasingly misinterpreting matches in their results as representations of their direct ancestors. As a result, they hold the myth that incorporating DNA in genealogy will guarantee the quick determination of their direct ancestors.  

However, it’s worth noting that in order to unravel your ancestor, the DNA evidence will need support from traditional records showing enough close matches on the line of focus. Conversely, not all matches will represent direct ancestors, as some genetic variations may come from relatives.  

Moreover, if your ancestors lived many years ago, the DNA may be diluted, offering only partial shots of your ancestry.  

DNA has helped Irish genealogists at unravel mysteries and expedite research, but it does not imply a guarantee in future cases.  

Myth #6: “Professional Genealogists Take No Time” 

Yes, professional genealogists may be faster in research than amateurs, but it’s a myth that they have everything at their fingertips and take no time to compile accurate results. This myth emanates from people comparing the profession with DIY research plus the advantage of vast advanced resources.  

In most cases, people translate expertise to speed, especially when they need to quickly provide reliable genealogical reports for milestones, family reunions, or probate courts.  

While hiring a professional genealogist guarantees efficiency and effectiveness, no one knows what awaits them in the research process. Besides, most professionals are hired to work on tough tasks marred with contradictory evidence and surprise results that may require in-depth authentication.  

Above all, Irish genealogists prioritize thoroughness and accuracy to avoid compromising quality due to rushing. Therefore, the process may not always align with the expectations of rapid progress and quick turnaround.  

Myth #7: “Hiring a Professional Genealogist Is Costly” 

This is a common myth among people with limited awareness of factors that influence pricing, options offered in professional genealogy research, exercising discretionary spending, or being accustomed to DIY.  

Irish genealogists offer a range of services tailored to meet your needs and budget and still provide the time, expertise, consultation, verification, documents, and a comprehensive report. Besides, we have a package as affordable as $795, and we can discuss project-based fees and more.  

Generally, the time, frustrations, and efforts you save by hiring a professional genealogist offset the cost and turn it into an invaluable investment in detailing and understanding your identity and cultural heritage.  

Myth #8: “Hiring a Professional Genealogist Guarantees Expected Results” 

Professional genealogy portrayal in media ads and other marketing avenues suggests that the process is like magic and that the expected results are guaranteed. People also often compare professional family history research to DNA testing and think it has similar comprehensive and definitive outcomes capabilities.  

Sure, these professionals invest their time to study all the leads, resources, and relatives to create a link in your research. So they’re likely to identify something others missed and reach unprecedented milestones.  

An expert researcher will leave no stone unturned but also acknowledges that the desired outcomes are not always guaranteed, especially if DNA, clues, or records are non-existent mainly due to poor preservation methods, disasters, or fire.  

Hitting a dead end is rare for Irish genealogists at, but it’s a possibility. Nonetheless, such an occurrence also offers some valuable lessons.  

Myth #9: “Hiring a Professional Genealogist Means Relinquishing Control over Research” 

It’s a common misconception that when you hire a professional genealogist, you step back entirely from an active role and wait for the results to be submitted, disconnecting you from your personal emotional journey and sabotaging the much-needed collaboration. 

To some, it’s okay for professional researchers to take full control of the research to justify their fees. However, that is not the case, since your input remains imperative to ensure your desires are incorporated and the research customized.  

Professional genealogists will need their clients’ input from time to time since they may be privy to crucial information or have exclusive access to vital records. For example, for restricted access involving a recently deceased person, professional researchers need a grant of power of attorney from their client to access the files on their behalf.  

Most importantly, the final stages of the research usually have some educational support to help you understand the historical context of the findings and their interpretations.  

Myth #10: “Hiring a Professional Genealogist Guarantees Frequent Notification on Discoveries” 

Your involvement in your genealogy research is imperative to feel the value of your money and offer direction. However, refrain from clinging to the misguided belief that the professional researcher will call you whenever they make a stride or discovery.  

This does not mean that you shouldn’t seek clarification or an update on progress, but it may not be practical for the researcher to notify you every few minutes or hours. Besides, these professionals always ask for your objectives and background information before they commence the research, so you shouldn’t worry about updates.  

So, Should You Hire A Genealogist? 

Yes. Hire a genealogist for an accurate, comprehensive report that provides reliable data and captivating narratives about your family history and your ancestors’ struggles. A report from a professional genealogist will leave a lasting legacy and offer a foundation for future generations to build upon.  

Unlike amateur research, professional genealogy is well-documented and supported by references and citations, so there’s no room for inaccuracies, misconceptions, conflicting information, or missing links. Besides, setting a timeline for your report and leaving the stress of record search and foreign languages to a professional researcher comes with peace of mind.  

Contact us today for a free consultation.  

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