Visible Roots


"There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his." - Helen Keller

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do we get started?

A: First things, first! Before any work begins, we will need to determine your research goal(s). (e.g. "I want to know where my grandfather's family came from," or "I'd like a pedigree of my mother's side of the family, going back five generations.") Once a goal has been set, and a contract signed, you will need to provide me with as much information as you have. The more information you can give me, the better able I'll be to track down leads.

Q: How long does it take?
A: That depends on the project! Every project is unique, which makes it difficult to predict the amount of time it will take to solve a research problem or locate specific records. Some projects move forward quickly, whereas others take a bit more time due to their complexity or types of records that need to be reviewed. For a large research project, however, you should expect a minimum of ten working hours and up to six weeks before your project is delivered to you. If I hit a stumbling block in my research that makes it difficult to accomplish our goal within the set time, I will contact you. 

Q: How much do you charge? How do you set your fees?

A: Like most researchers, I charge by the hour. I currently charge $35 per hour. If I am unable to find any information for you in the first hour, your deposit will be returned and you will not be charged for my time.

Q: Do you take credit cards?

A: I don't, sorry. I do take PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay, as well as personal checks.

Q: What about photo restoration? 

A: My fee for restoration of images with significant damage is $45. Those needing relatively minor repair are $25. Please note that these are digital images, not prints. The pricing for prints is dependent on size, and whether or not you'd like them framed. If you would like prints, please contact me!

Q: Can I set a cap before you begin?

A: Absolutely! A fee limit is included in the contract. You will never be charged for hours you have not authorized. 

Q: Can you find out if I'm related to King Arthur/Robin Hood/Beowulf?

A: Possibly. But it wouldn't be ethical or accurate! There are a number of genealogies -- particularly medieval genealogies -- that claim to do just that. I've seen family histories literally going back to Adam. I've also seen histories tracing a family's descent from Zeus. If a genealogist claims they can do this for you, nod politely and put your money away. 

Q: Family legend says that we have Native American heritage. Can you find out if that's true?

A: Possibly. Proving Native American heritage is usually either very easy or very difficult. There are a number of resources, but they aren't always complete or accurate. In the 1800s, some families hid their native heritage to avoid forced removal. Census takers in some places also had a tendency to mark residents as "Colored" or "Mulatto" instead of "I" for "Indian". Native Americans, African Americans, and people of mixed heritage might appear in Census records as "Indian" one decade, and "Black" the next.