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Get Started!

Maybe you're ready to hire me or maybe you want to learn to do some research yourself. Here are ideas for the next steps in the search for your family.


  • We'll schedule a phone call. This isn't charged to you; it’s just a nice way to introduce ourselves, and a chance for you and I both to ask and answer questions.


After our phone conference, I’ll send you an email reviewing what we decided.

  • Complete and return the two documents I send.

    • Research questionnaire. You'll provide whatever information and sources you already have.

    • Contract. You and I both agree what work will be completed.

  • Submit the retainer fee.

Once these steps are completed, I'll begin research!

So you want to hire me! What's next?


Decide where you’ll track your research.

There are paper forms, downloadable software for your computer, or online sites like and

Start with yourself and work backwards.

Always start with what you know, and be as complete as you can before you move on to the next person or generation!

Gather the sources you already have.

A source is anything that contains information. Look through your pictures, papers, and artifacts. What information and clues can you get from them?

Understand repositories.

A repository is any place that physically or digitally holds sources. Your house is a repository! So are libraries, archives, courthouses, and websites like FamilySearch, Find A Grave, and thousands of others.

Start searching!

Go to some repositories and search for relatives you already know. They will lead you to the ones you don’t! You’ll come across many different kinds of records, like military, church, cemetery, probate, land, and vital records, and most exciting of all for genealogy, censuses! Be careful when deciding if a record actually refers to your relative. Even uncommon names can be shared and birthdates can be similar.

Keep learning and keep searching.

There’s always more to discover!

Hints to get started on your own ancestor search!

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