My researcher is getting ready to go back and perform some more work on my ancestors in Thuringia, Germany. This will be the second time she’s done work for me in that area. Before I post about the new research, I’ve decided to revisit the initial goals and what was accomplished.
Before the first work was agreed on, I communicated with the researcher what I wanted to know about the family based upon what I knew from records in the United States. All that information was summarized–including sources. My initial goals were:
- to obtain the birth or christening records of my great-great-grandfather, John Michael Trautvetter (born in Wohlmuthausen, Thuringen, Germany, in 1838) and his siblings;
- to obtain the birth or christening record of his mother, Sophia Elizabeth Derle in Helmershausen in 1808;
- to obtain the marriage of Sophia Elizabeth Derle and Johann George Trautvetter–date and location were unknown;
- anything else of interest on immediate members of this family that might be located while searching for information to answer the first three questions.
Based upon these goals the researcher developed a research plan. The location and date of the Trautvetter-Derle marriage was not known, so an initial plan was constructed based upon the likely time frame and place of the marriage. I had additional things I wanted to know about the family, but one needs to set limits for financial reasons and to establish a rapport with the researcher before a very large project is undertaken.
I had some information on the earlier generation of the Trautvetter family from American records (most of Johann George’s siblings were also immigrants to where he settled), but decided to wait on that research until work was done to locate the birth information on his children. I also knew little about Sophia’s family and wanted to expand my knowledge of her background as well.
Fortunately my researcher was able to find all the desired information and somewhat more–including information on Johann George’s siblings and some of their children who were born in Germany. I took what she located and what I knew and came up with a new list of things I wanted. We will discuss the development of that list in a future post.
Before even hiring a researcher one needs to have some specific goals in mind of what they want the research to try and accomplish. It is also extremely helpful to organize all the information that has already been located. Tat makes it easier to set goals and for the researcher to evaluate what the next research steps are. Goals need to be communicated with the researcher–who should ask for them. The goals make it easier to:
- write a contract outlining the research that will be conducted and where it will be conducted
- set time and financial limits
- determine how records will be sent to the client, whether they will be transcribed and or translated
Those details are things the researcher and the client should agree on before any money is spent or any research is conducted.