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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interesting Genealogy Encounter

It has been some time since I have had a chance to stop by and update my blog with a real post.  Usually I am busy trying to earn money to take care of my family.  After all, that is why I am in the genealogy business, not only to help my amazing clients with their history and become a part of their story but also to provide for my family.  And by that I mean using whatever extra money I have to pay bills, buy food, make payments on our house or credit cards, or just other daily bills that have to be paid.

I also do sales of Genealogy products and services.  I do this to provide resources and services to people in the Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska area's but also products that are for sale.  I was told today by a certain library that my books were of no value to their customers and that I shouldn't be scanning/copying records and then trying to sell them for profit.  This person didn't condone that behavior.  Apparently this person is an expert in all things Genealogy.  So by their logic printing or scanning records at courthouses and then selling them is by this person's logic immoral. Unfortunately this is not the first time I have heard this from someone in the genealogy world. I guess they think Genealogy records should be free. I suppose this library might think I will write them back and just say "O.K., you can have my records and books for free."  But how am i going to print if I don't have any ink or paper or printers or scanners? Should I just give them my original source material?  Not bloody likely.

I recently took on a client who tried to change the terms of the agreement that had been agree upon AFTER the project had been accepted but this client wanted to pay me the same rate.  I spent 4 hours on this clients project when they wanted to change the scope.  I point this out to my client at the time and was given a dissertation on why I did not understand what they wanted.  I provided them their original agreement to remind them and then kindly ended the contract with the client.

This isn't the first time this has happened.  I normally bend over backwards for my clients and go as far as I can on what their budget is.  I am conscientious with their funds and judicious with my time to ensure I am not wasting their money but still want to provide a quality project.  With shows like Who Do you Think You Are and Genealogy Roadshow people want the world and they want it cheap.  That is simply not the case.  It costs money to do research, to travel, to purchase records, to conduct online research, to pay for online genealogy databases and my time is also valuable.

I have received numerous rude emails and messages over the years for being a for profit Genealogist. When I started this as a hobby I thought most people were genuinely  nice and supportive.  But when you have bad customers or others approach you with a demanding or diminutive attitude it really takes the life out of me and what I do as a Genealogist.  I have been doing this for several years and am an expert at what I do.  For 12 years I have been researching my own family history  and have developed those skills necessary to help others and it's what I want to do.  But by helping me, there has to be a compensatory relationship.  There also needs to be a clear and definitive scope of work by the client with what they want and expect, without changing the project after it starts.  If you do change it expect to pay more because time is valuable and so are all things related to Genealogy.

I'm sharing this because there has to be a happy medium for the client the genealogist..  I will continue to work hard for my customers and give them everything I have.  I only hope those who hire me will give me that same consideration.  For my fellow researchers who are also professional researchers, I would love to hear your stories.

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