process, fees, code of conduct

John M Barr - Professional Genealogist

  Hiring a professional genealogist is a great way to discover your family history. If you have never considered hiring a professional genealogist before, you may be wondering what to look for and what to expect. You can find additional information about what to consider in selecting a professional genealogist and what to expect once you hire one on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) website.

Services and Process

I am available for classes or lectures for your society or even family reunions. Contact me for details.


Understanding the genealogical research process I use will help you know what to expect from Old Northwest Genealogy. The following are normal steps taken by Old Northwest Genealogy:


  Planning. Free  consultation is the first step in planning our journey through history.  Together, we'll look at information you already have and discuss what more you would like  to learn. A research objective will be agreed on based on this  information. 

  Develop a Research Plan. I will develop a research plan that outlines what I will do to find the information you want. Most plans consist of a prioritized list of the records I will search. Research plans will be written.

   Conduct the Research. As I follow the research plan, I will go to libraries, courthouses, archives, cemeteries, and other places to search for the information. As I search, we normally photocopy pertinent records or acquire official copies as needed.

  Analyze the Findings. I will regularly review the research and make conclusions about what I have fund. I will also compare my findings with other documents to confirm or disprove conclusions.

  Report the Findings. I will prepare reports about our research activities. Reports will include photocopies or abstracts of important information. I may also make suggestions for continued research.

  Prepare Forms. At your request, I can prepare forms such as pedigree charts, family group sheets, and applications to lineage societies. I may also enter information into a genealogical computer program for you.

  Share Results. I can help you share the results of our research on your family. I can contribute the findings to a genealogical data bank or help you develop a family web page. I can also prepare articles or books on your family.

  Bill for Services. I will bill for our services at agreed upon intervals and will clearly identify the time spent and expenses incurred on the project to date. Most professional genealogists have found that it takes as much time to define and develop the research and report the findings as it does to do the actual research.  


  As do most genealogists, I charge  an hourly rate plus expenses. I accept payment via Check, Money Order, or PayPal. Common expenses include, but are not limited to: 

   Costs of copies of records, certificates, and other documents (these could range from 5 cents a page to over $1.00 a page depending on the repository),

  Fees paid to other researchers to search records in distant cities,

  Field travel (auto, meals, lodging),

  Admission fees paid to courthouses, repositories, and other record facilities,

  Administrative costs for items such as above normal postage (large Packages, express deliveries, etc.)    We will ask you to pay a deposit before work begins. Typically 100% of any research under 10 hours or 50% of work exceeding 10 hours.

    Our fee is between $35 and $65 per hour (3 hour minimum) depending on how quickly you need the report and documents.

 A minimum prepayment of $100 is required before work can begin.

Copy costs and other actual expenses       will be in addition to this fee.

   These additional expenses will not be incurred without your consent. 

 Please state your objective, as well as the maximum number of hours or dollars that you'd like to spend on that objective.

 You will be billed for the amount over your deposit.

   A letter of agreement and contract will be required to start any project. 

Code of Ethics and Professional Practices

  Purpose: The APG Code of Ethics and Professional Practices serves to promote: (1) a truthful approach to genealogy, family history, and local history; (2) the trust and security of genealogical consumers; and (3) careful and respectful treatment of records, repositories and their staffs, other professionals, and genealogical organizations and associations.   

Consistent with these purposes, I agree to:

   Present research results and opinions in a clear, well-organized manner;

  Refrain from withholding, suppressing, or knowingly misquoting or misinterpreting sources or data;

  Report appropriately qualified genealogical conclusions in writing based on the weight of the evidence with fully and accurately cited sources;

  Represent my abilities, services, and credentials honestly, avoiding the use of misleading or exaggerated statements;

  Engage in sufficient continuing education to maintain competence and comply with applicable requirements;

  Prepare and abide by written agreements regarding applicable project scope, fees, charges, payment structures, and deliverables without concealment or misrepresentation;

  Disclose potential conflicts of interest;  Maintain confidentiality of client communications and research, except as permitted in writing by the client or required by court or professional disciplinary proceedings;

  Treat information concerning living people with appropriate discretion;

 Refrain from violating or encouraging others to violate laws or regulations concerning copyright, rights to privacy, business practices, or other pertinent subjects;

  Refrain from mutilating, rearranging, or removing from their proper custodians printed, original, microfilmed, or electronic records;

  Give proper credit to the work of others and refrain from plagiarism;

  Refrain from soliciting established clients of another researcher through denigration, violation of laws or regulations, or other improper means;

  Refrain from behaviors or statements that malign or are maliciously calculated to injure the profession;

 individual genealogists; genealogical associations, programs, or educational organizations;

 or the Association of Professional Genealogists.  

Best laid plans!

 Our country has a rich and diverse past. This has led to times of unrest  that often resulted in destruction of key repositories and properties.  Some documents and records have been lost or destroyed. Every effort  will be made to recover requested documents or associated documents that  meet The Genealogical Proof Standard.