From the archives of The Galitzianer

Published since 1993, The Galitzianer is the quarterly newsletter of Gesher Galicia. A selection of articles from recent issues have been put online, and more pieces will be added to this website in the near future. Articles may also be browsed by issue number or by article type. Members of Gesher Galicia can download full PDF's of past issues, and can opt to receive their subscription to the The Galitzianer in either digital or paper format.

From (February, 2007) ·

Hiring a Researcher

by Alan Weiser


I was prompted to write this article because I narrowly escaped the possibility of being scammed by an overseas genealogy researcher. To avoid unnecessary expense and disappointment in your search for family roots do not leave the hiring of a genealogy researcher to chance. This article takes you through a four-phase systematic approach (1) defining your requirements, (2) evaluating proposals. (3) contracting with the researcher, and (4) monitoring the researcher’s performance.

When To Seek Help

I have defined on a scale of 0 to 5 the experience of those who seek help in the conduct of genealogy research. At 0 are those who have absolutely no experience in the conduct of research for information on family roots. From 2 to 3 are those who may have done a bit of research on their own; they may have studied the various research tools described on the JewishGen ( and other web sites or books. From 4 to 5 are those who have done a lot of genealogy research at home or abroad and may even have had others do some research for them for pay. The people in this category could easily do the research on their own, but for reasons such as lack of time, inability to travel to another city or overseas to visit archives and other document depositories, and/or inability to gain access to such archives and depositories, they are unable to do so.

Now if you are in the 0 category don’t even try to define the research requirements on your own. Seek help by studying search aids and databases described on genealogy web sites and in books. Seek advice from Coordinators of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Research Groups (RGs), especially those associated with the city or country of interest to you. Gesher Galicia SIG and RG Coordinators’ contact information can be found on the JewishGen web site as well as for other countries and regions.

If you are in the 2 to 3 category, you can try to rough out a set of requirements following the lessons provided in this article. Before seeking researcher proposals, you should seek advice from SIG or RG Coordinators to review and comment on what you have prepared.

If you are in category 4 to 5, you are probably experienced enough to develop a good set of requirements on your own. In this case you should crosscheck your efforts against the suggestions made in this article.

Gesher Galicia members, log in to read the rest of this Galitzianer article.
Not a member? Join today and get access to almost two decades of back issues!

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people research their Jewish family roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire province of Galicia, which is today southeastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. Our organization's primary focus is researching Jewish roots in Galicia, but the diverse community records in our databases contain names that span all the ethnic and religious groups who once lived in this region.

Search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and Archival Inventory today, and learn about our terrific member benefits for genealogists, researchers, and families, starting at just $36/year. You can join online!