I was approached today by a woman who asked if I could help her with some Greek immigrants. The contract would have been exceptional, and I could certainly have used the money!
But I turned her down.
Oh, not because I wanted to!
Before beginning any research project, I always do a preliminary search to make sure I am going to be able to give my client "something", even if just a quick reference, on their family. Unfortunately, for this client, I met only brick walls from every angle I took!
However, I did steer her to APG [Association of Professional Genealogists] to look for a specialist in immigrations. Hopefully there she will be able to get the assistance she needs.
I mention all of this because of one thing: there are some very unscrupulous persons out there who like to pose themselves as genealogists, and who really only attempt to perform the work for one reason. The money. [Believe me, the money is not that good! There are many more financially lucrative occupations out there!] These nefarious individuals take a clients money and promise them whatever the client wants to hear. And then never come through with the promised goods.
I assisted one woman recently who had spent over $5,000 just to receive her own research back. [You got it! The "genealogist", found the client's family tree posted online, copied it, word for word, and then sent it to her. No sources, bibliography, or professional report. Just the tree.] In order to prove to her that we weren't all in it for a "killing", I offered her the first 10 hours of my research project for free. Her first words after seeing those 10 hours were, "You gave me proof of everything you said!" That's me!!!
If I can't find any information for my client, I absolutely refuse to charge them. And if I find someone who has been treated wrongly by a so called genealogist, I will always offer them some research for free [not always 10-hours! usually 2-4 hours].
The point is, if you love this work, treat it like you love it! Treat your clients with the utmost respect and compassion. Chances are, they are wanting the research done because of some life altering experience [unfortunately, it seems following the death of a loved one is the most prevalent time to want to perform it, seconded only to the birth of a new child].
If you can't perform the work, tell your client so, and then steer them toward someone who can do it! Never leave them alone in their dilemma!
I always tell my clients that the door is always open, and they are free to contact me at any time. Please do the same.
If you love genealogy and it's your passion, be passionate about it!
Until next time!