Monday, March 28, 2011

Free, Fee and Professional Researchers, My Definitions

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

So, you need some assistance researching wayyyyy over there.  Do you hire a Professional researcher with a lot of letters behind their name, or a Fee researcher, or try to find a Free researcher?

Here are ole Carol's definitions of each type, which are FAR from techy, and are rather simplistic in this presentation:

Professional, been to school, tested, passed test of the professional group they desire belonging to.  Proudly display the letters they have earned behind their names!  Well educated, well spoken, know where to look, who to contact, the historical connections, small little points of research and history that many of us just don't have access to.  Many Tweet, Facebook, blog, have great connections and friendships with other professionals they can lean on for extra help.  Worth every penny you spend if you need them, no doubt about it.

Fee researchers, frequently are local researchers, may work in one county.  Quite familiar with specific locales, what is available, sometimes they are the "little jewels" of their communities, knowing resources that are powerful but may not be well known.  Personally known to the local librarians and the employees of the county courthouse.  No letters behind their names for various reasons, maybe they just don't care to take the time and spend the $$ to add those letters.  Charge by the hour or the job, most likely less $$ than the Professional, but, for small specific wishes/needs, they can get in, get out, get the document or information.  Being a local has definite benefits.  (Some fee researchers extend their territory to include their whole state.) May use Tweet, Facebook and other social media to reach out to those looking for research help, and to connect with others that live in their research area for the same reasons that professional researchers do, helping each other, a good thing.

Free researchers, volunteers, probably have much of the local knowledge that the local fee researchers have, may or may not have the time available to do extensive research, but are more than happy to grab an obituary, or maybe a death record, or stomp around a cemetery for you.  May be listed on various web sites as volunteers, or not. May be known only to the local genealogical or historical societies.  They are worth finding and I have found they are happy to "give back".

Many Professionals and Fee researchers will do free research.  The lines are not distinct or drawn in the sand. Some Fee researchers may consider themselves Professional researchers.  However, many Professionals are proud of their accomplishments, their letters behind their names -- as they should be, and this is my way of paying them that honor.  Believe me, there are a lot of fine FINE Fee researchers out there, danged good researchers they are too!

What are your definitions of Professional, Fee or Free researchers?   Have you ever used any of the above, and why?  Which do you prefer to use, and why?  Have you ever done Fee or Free research for others who live far from your locale?

I don't know about you, but, I can tell you, positively, no doubts about it, my research would not be where it is today without the help of all, Professional, Fee or Free researchers.

Bless them all!

* Source of graphics long lost, my apologies to the artists and web sites.


Lori E said...

I have use fee and free researchers and have been one. It is a leap of faith to send someone money and hope they do what they say they are going to do. Any I have paid for have come up empty handed so I really don't know.

Greta Koehl said...

I used a fee researcher once and was very pleased. Her per-article fee was less than half of the library fee (not that I wanted to deprive the library of money, but I could not afford all the items I wanted at their rates - I did later become a "friend of" (= contributor to) that library). She also gave me some extra information and a lot of good advice in addition to the articles she looked up and copied.

Linda McCauley said...

I've paid fees to archives several times but have only hired an independent researcher once. I'm not sure if he meets the definition of professional or fee but I was happy with the results.

It was a situation where I knew exactly what I needed but the records were large pages in bound volumes so had to be photographed and the archives staff couldn't do that. I got an estimate, agreed to it and had the photos e-mailed to me in a few days. I then paid him using Pay-Pal.

These pages were the only thing I needed from the Alabama archives so the fees to that researcher were a very small fraction of what it would have cost me to get them myself.

LindaRe said...

I have benefited from fee and free researchers, and I do both. I think I used a professional once, not because I was looking for one but she was the person I found to retrieve the record I needed.

I didn't plan to be a fee researcher, just fell into it by doing my own family history. Sharing my research with others, people would ask if I could get a document for them while I was at the Archives and they were willing to pay me to do it.

I am well pleased as the receiver and the retriever. Genealogy researchers tend to be good people.