We all want to know more about our ancestors and where we come from. Learning more about family history is becoming a more popular goal. But genealogical research can quickly go from a weekend hobby to a daily pastime to a full-time (albeit unpaid) job. Relying on professional genealogy research is an attractive alternative to incomplete research or quitting your day job. Here are the top ten advantages that professional genealogy research offers.

5. Speed

Professional genealogy research offers you the advantage of speed. Using certified and trained genealogists to conduct your research allows you to take advantage of their years of previous experience. Certified genealogists can apply their previous researching experience to increase their efficiency as they conduct your search. Let their speed and efficiency work for you.

4. Training

Trained genealogists know where to begin and where to look to find the best and most pertinent information, instead of sifting through countless census, probate or other records in a fruitless search. Years of training and experience mean that your professional genealogy researcher will know where to look, how to look and what to look for. Family history research requires a knowledge of many types of resources, from computerized records to microfilm to books, from censuses to probate records to correspondence indices.

3. Geographical Access

Although the Internet is a good resource for many records, some records have yet to be entered into computers. Obtaining these records often includes sending letters and money to archives offices thousands of miles away. When choosing a professional genealogy research service, look for one that is located close to a large resource, like the National Archives, or the Family History Library, each home to millions of documents.

2. Accuracy

If you’ve been involved in genealogy long enough, you’ve received conflicting information. Perhaps an interview with your mother put your great-grandmother’s birthday in June but the official record has it in February. Or maybe your documents themselves disagree. How can you tell which source is right? Or perhaps your great-grandfather is John Smith and all you know is that he died in 1955. How can you find the right John Smith?

Trained genealogical researchers have already learned the ins and outs of analyzing conflicting sources and accurately identifying individuals in records. Based on their training and experience, they can judge which date is more likely to be accurate or which John Smith is your ancestor. It takes years of genealogical experience to assess source material, especially from documents that can’t give a clear answer. Professional genealogists have the experience necessary to ensure accuracy in their work.

1. Qualified Access

Many resources are highly sensitive or have restricted access. Most archives have stringent rules for using their resources, including who may access what, how to access materials, what researchers can bring with them, and more. Certified genealogists are familiar with these restrictions and have experience handling documents and researching in these settings. Additionally, in those archives that limit access, professional genealogists are often granted access that other researchers might not be able to get.