Research Services

In-Depth Family Research

If you are interested in learning all there is to know about your family history, then this is the search for you. This is my favorite type of research to do because it is very rewarding for both myself and the client.

Through in depth research, we get to know the ancestors very intimately. We learn all the details of their lives and we feel their joys and sorrows. We may encounter and solve family mysteries along the way. We see the impact of the decisions those ancestors made on the lives of their descendants many generations down the line. We learn their names and we remember them. They may be gone, but Sicilian Family Tree can help you record their story so they won’t be forgotten.

Research Method

To begin in-depth research, I first review what you already know about your family. Resources like Ancestry, FamilySearch and GenealogyBank can help us confirm and/or discover the Who, When and Where. (Sometimes the family stories we are told are not 100% accurate!) We also discuss your research goals and budget and develop a plan of action to achieve your goals within your budget.

Next, I determine what resources are available for your town of origin. FamilySearch has compiled vital records for most of the towns of Italy, generally including civil records of birth, marriage and death from approximately 1820-1910. Records for some towns may start as early as 1809 and extend to 1929 or even later, while others may only cover 1820-1865 or only 1866-1910. Some towns may also have church records available for as far back as the 1500s. And many towns also have “Riveli” records, which are like a census and tax record combined in one. They were only done sporadically, they are all handwritten and can be challenging to use, but they also provide information about a family that won’t be found on a vital record, such as information about property, household goods, taxes owed and so forth. All records are in Italian, Latin and occasionally French.

FamilySearch’s collection is almost entirely digitized and available online, however, some items are “restricted” and can only be viewed at a Family History Center while others are still only available on microfilm. Some records can also be found on the Italian State Archives website, although it is more tedious to use. I also work with a Sicilian researcher who is able to help obtain documents directly from town vital records offices, churches and archives in Italy. In short, the amount of information available to those with Italian ancestry is enormous and usually allows for very extensive research!

Now the search through the Italian records begins in earnest! I do all of the research work myself so I can be sure the work is done accurately. Research is usually conducted in 10-hour blocks, although this can vary depending on a client’s budget and overall plan. Related documents are saved as digital files so they can be easily shared, used in online family trees, and saved for future generations. For future reference, I also make a note of any documents I come across that have your family surnames, even if they are not known to be related at the time. Those notes will be used to create (or add to an existing) Excel database for your ancestral town that can later be searched as needed. The database will be posted on the Vital Records page of Sicilian Family Tree so that other descendants from the same town may be able to find connections with their own families. This method has helped several clients expand their living family trees, because people contact me about the database and I can put them in touch with clients.

After completing a round of research, I prepare a Research Report that includes a full description of the search that was conducted, information about the documents that were found, translations of documents where necessary, source information for all documents found, a summary and a plan for what I feel should be done next. In addition, all of the new family information is put into Legacy Family Tree, a genealogy software program that allows me to prepare detailed family tree charts. Updated ancestor and descendant charts are sent with every report, so clients can see their tree expand from report to report. Clients can expect to receive thorough Research Reports every 3-6 months, give or take depending on the overall calendar and client load. If a client has particular time constraints, such as an upcoming trip to Italy or Sicily, I will adjust the research schedule to try to accommodate those constraints.

When research is complete, Legacy Family Tree can also generate a file that will allow your family tree to be uploaded to websites such as MyHeritage, Ancestry or FamilySearch.  Some clients also ask me to update their online family tree for them, which I am happy to do. We can also create beautiful family tree books that can be shared with your extended family if you wish.

Quotes and Costs

In most cases, it is difficult to provide an exact quote for in-depth research because genealogy is quite unpredictable! There are so many variables that can affect how much time it will take to fully research an entire family and often we don’t even know what the variables are until after we get started. For this reason, it is generally better to determine your main goal and your budget (either total or per report) and then allow Sicilian Family Tree to work within that budget to meet your goal.

Client can expect to receive a report every few months. We can do as little or as much as you like and we can stop at any time. Each research report has suggestions for what can be done next and new research is not begun until the client has approved the next round. In this way, it is entirely up to the client how much we accomplish and learn.

My hourly rate includes:

  • Research Time
  • Digital Copies of Documents
  • Translations
  • Preparation of Research Reports
  • Writing Vital Records Requests
  • Ancestor and Descendant Charts
  • Excel and Legacy Data Entry
  • Family Tree Book Compilation, if desired
  • Any Other Time Spent Completing the Research

Additional expenses include fees associated with obtaining documents that are not available online, i.e. ordering a vital record from a State Health Department or a naturalization record from the USCIS. The purchase of complete Family Tree Books is also the responsibility of the client.

Generally, I do not charge for new client consultation phone calls, initial file set up, mileage, materials, photocopies or postage. I also do not typically charge for time spent in phone consultation or emailing back and forth with clients, except in some Dual Citizenship cases where that type of communication takes up a large portion of time.

In-Depth Family Search Request

After receiving your message, we will contact you to review your request, answer any questions you may have and provide options for paying the required $100 deposit. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to working with you!
You can specify a per-report budget, such as $200 per report, or an overall budget.
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