11 February 2010

Trying Out Ancestry.com's Expert Connect

I'm stuck at a brick wall with my Barfield ancestors. On Tuesday I posted William Barfield's tombstone, along with the information that I know about him. I'd really like to know who William's father was, as well as more about his mother, Sarah.

William was my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. I have his birth and death dates, but no death certificate or obituary. He did not live long enough for a social security application and, though it was required, I cannot locate a death certificate. So, I'm moving on to see if I can locate an obituary. There are numerous other obituaries that I'd like to locate on this family line, and the local newspaper is available on microfilm at the local library in Swainsboro. However, I'm not able to make a trip to Emanuel County right now.

First, I looked on RAoGK, but there were no volunteers in the county. So, I thought I might try out ancestry.com's ExpertConnect for this project. I posted my "project" through the site, which only took about five minutes. My project is a request for five obituaries with death dates known. It was crazy easy and totally free to post a request. After posting my project, I'm just supposed to sit back and let the bids roll in.

Well first off, there are no researchers advertised for the area I'm researching in. If there had been, I could have simply viewed the "expert's" prices and decided whether or not to hire them. As it is, I'm waiting for someone to contact me and see if I like the amount that they "bid" to complete the project.

With no one listed in the area, I wasn't even sure if I'd get a response. Regardless, I had to decide how much I was willing to pay if I did get a bid. The way I figure, it would probably cost about $50 to make the trip myself, so I'd like it to be less than or equal to that price.

To my surprise, I actually received a response within 24 hours. The researcher says that they have three of the obituaries in their possession. For a fee of $45 (my price range!) they will digitize them and send them to me. It's great to hear a response, but it's not quite what I was hoping for - for a couple reasons:
  1. They have three obits, but didn't mention the other two. Those two were actually the ones that I really wanted: William's and Sarah's.
  2. They already have these obituaries - they're not actually proposing to do any research.
For these reasons, I'm really not sure if this bid is worth it. Is it worth $45 to have someone digitize records they already have in their possession and email them to me? They don't have to really do more than 30 minutes work. And, they aren't even fulfilling my full project request.

But that's not to be-little the offer. This person is in no way required to share their research and I am happy to hear from them. I guess what it really comes down to are the two other obituaries. If the researcher had those, I'd gladly pay the money - the same amount it would cost me for a the trip. But they don't, and their bid does not offer to find them. And really, those two obituaries were the original reason I posted the project.

So I guess for now I'll wait and see if I receive another bid that would complete the full project. If that doesn't happen, I might go ahead and accept the bid.... or not.

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yeah, it seems a little expensive when it isn't everything you want. I can see how they want to charge for it, since it is work that they did in the past. Maybe you can negotiate for the percentage that they do have?


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