How We Do What We Do (For Those Of You Who Don't Go Into Politics)

“Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you."Mark Twain

The business-types call them deliverables. We just want you to know how we do what we do. Most of what we do is conducted within a three-step process.

The Initial Consultation

First, our Initial Consultation is a free, no obligation discussion with you to learn what your needs and goals are, and then determine the best way to move forward to get you there. We’ll learn what information you already have, what steps you’ve already taken, any “brick walls” you have run into, and, most importantly, what you want to accomplish.

The Initial Consultation is done in person if possible but we can also meet by telephone or by video chat using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The Initial Consultation generally lasts from thirty to sixty minutes and can be scheduled at your convenience.

If you’re ready for your free, no obligation Initial Assessment, let’s get started!

The Initial Assessment

Following the Initial Consultation, we generally do an Initial Assessment. We take what you have given us and do some basic research. What we are primarily looking for here are the availability of sources. We have a vast (and ever-increasing) array of repositories of primary source documents that may be relevant to your particular situation.

It is also primarily here where we may suggest a refinement of approaches and/or goals. Based on our assessment of available sources and the budget you have to work with, we may suggest, for example, focusing on certain family branches to pursue further, or maybe tracing your lineage back to a certain locale or place in time. On many occasions we have uncovered new directions or goals to pursue. We may also have questions for you based on what you have supplied. 

Because every situation is unique, we mostly work with you on an hourly basis. Services can purchased in as small as one-hour blocks (with discounts for the purchase of larger blocks), although for the Initial Assessment you can generally expect a minimum of four hours but always based on the Initial Consultation. We provide you with an Initial Report and you can decide where to go from there.

If you have completed the Initial Consultation and are ready to proceed, let’s get going!

Then Things Really Get Going

The third stage is where the fun really begins! This is true genealogy, where we build out your family tree, investigate the social history behind the tree, conduct DNA testing and analysis, put it all in a final presentation — whatever scope of work we have previously agreed upon — and transform the raw data into a meaningful report.

If you have completed the Initial Assessment and want to really get going, let’s go!

Here are some stories and examples of what you might see as you uncover your past.

Preparing Your Past

Stories and Posts

For the Last Time, Newsom is Not Pelosi’s Nephew

Sometimes, genealogy can be used not only to prove family relationships, but also to disprove it. If you follow California wing nuts you have no doubt heard that our governor Gavin Newsom is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. Uh, no. He’s not. Here’s the scoop. Gavin Christopher Newsom was born in 1967 to William Alfred Newsom III and Tessa Thomas Menzies Newsom.  Bill Newsom had a sister Belinda, who in 1960 married one Ronald Pelosi.

Read More »

I Am Not a Crook, But I Am Your Cousin

While doing routine ancestry research one day on my own family tree, I discovered a rather significant and totally unexpected family connection on my mother’s side with the Quaker tradition. In doing so I also came across the surname Milhous, which I knew to be the middle name of the only Quaker American president, and began to put two and two together.

Read More »


Any Questions?

No, of course not, but we will make every effort to build as complete and accurate a family tree as possible within the confines of your budget and particular circumstances.

Absolutely! Our clients are integral members of the team, helping to guide which directions to pursue, confirming connections made, and the like. You get access to our communication network and everything!

That depends on a number of factors but the biggest is how accessible the documentary evidence is. Getting DNA results back generally takes 4-6 weeks.

That depends on what you want to accomplish within the constraints of your budget and is a primary component of both the Initial Consultation and the Initial Assessment. We’ll talk …