Monday, 24 January 2011

Ancestry ends Expert Connect service has just sent me an email saying its Expert Connect service, launched in March 2009, will be discontinued as the company "has decided to focus on other business priorities".

"As of March 18, 2011, Expert Connect will no longer be a service that will offer to its members. New project postings, bidding and awards will be discontinued February 3, 2011."

If you are currently working with a genealogist through the site, you can continue to do so until the service stops, but I'd advise that you wait a week or two longer before settling the bill. Not only will you help the friendly genealogist save having to pay commission, if the cost is passed on to you, then clearly you'll be helping yourself also!

The instruction to the participating genealogists is: "As some of your research projects may take longer to complete than March 18, 2011, please use the Message Board to exchange direct contact information with your clients. Make arrangements to do your remaining projects off of Expert Connect, directly with your clients. You will, of course, also need to arrange an agreeable payment method directly with your clients. Then, use the 'Modify Terms' tab to cancel your project on the Expert Connect system."

UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me that the timing of the service's end is the day before the start of the new American version of our WDYTYA series. Ancestry did purchase a genealogical services agency site at the end of last year called ProGenealogists, and there has been no announcement of it being wound up. Has Expert Connect been wound up so that Ancestry can concentrate on ProGenealogists? The ProGenealogists site at now has the Ancestry branding - but be warned, its costs appear to be significantly higher than those offered by genealogists on Ancestry's Expert Connect (see the site's Order Now page for examples).

There are several professional agencies which cover Britain for research, including the APG (of which I am a member) and AGRA, and some non-affiliated but very experienced researchers. My advice is to shop around before you commission research - see what you will likely get for your money, and as importantly, how much control you can have over the process during the period you contract someone to do research for you. For example, do you wish to pay a huge lump sum in advance in an act of genealogical faith, hoping you will get what your £400 etc suggests you might get, or perhaps contract for a certain number of hours on an hourly rate with a predetermined estimate of the likely deliverables supplied for that? If somone advertises as doing three lines of research for £300, what exactly does that mean - three fully fleshed out generations, siblings, childen, etc, or just the direct ancestors? Worth thinking about!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

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