About a month ago. I came in contact with Wesley Eames of Trace.com. After a lengthy discussion, I asked Wes if I could interview him and share the exciting work that Trace is doing for its customers. Below is that interview.
If you are like me, you have been doing your own genealogy research for decades, improving your results through experience, educational classes, etc. Sometimes I have felt that I have been bumbling along. But like me. you might have some brick walls, or just areas or ancestors that you just want to find out more about.
Trace is a company who utilizes a network of 4,000 genealogists and a well thought through process to scope and deliver genealogy research for a fee. The details are described below.
It is exciting to report that Trace is providing a substantial discount to The Ancestor Hunt readers. Please read the details below.
1. Hello, Wesley. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Could you provide a short history of the Trace.com company and its mission?
Thank you Kenneth for talking to me today. Trace.com started in 2015 with a mission to make discovering yourself and your family’s history more easy and affordable for our customers. We believe there is a wealth of knowledge among the professional genealogists of the world and we wanted to help consumers unlock that expertise and increase the accessibility to them globally.
We started as a pure technology marketplace and have evolved into a tech-enabled service over the last four years as we’ve completed thousands of projects and learned and iterated. Today, we help customers gain access not only to our network of 4,000 genealogists, but we enable them to get the highest quality of research results with a lower risk than most research firms and generally save them over $1,000 in doing it compared to the alternative.
2. It seems like having a professional genealogy research-oriented technology and team has some real advantages for those of us researchers who don't know how or where to start in hiring a consultant to help. Can you summarize the process and provide a link to where a possible client can discover more?
Sure thing! Our process is pretty straightforward and has evolved as we continually focus on making things easy and less risky for our customers when it comes to hiring a professional.
We think the logical first step in any project is to narrow down the specific objectives and analyze exactly where the customer is in their research. We begin this process with a very low upfront fee of $150, which allows our professionals to roll up our sleeves and dive into the tree data, records and research already conducted, to establish a starting point. Once we have a complete understanding of that starting point, our team matches those objectives with the best researchers in our broad network, who not only can help, but will have the highest probability of success in meeting those research goals.
We then collect 1-2 proposals from researchers we trust and who have a proven track record of success with similar objectives in that area of expertise. We schedule time with our customers to review the options and then it’s 100% up to them if they choose to move forward from the initial scoping phase to the more in-depth research phase of the project. They can make an informed decision now that they know the full scope, the risks associated with the search, any results of the preliminary searching and the fees and number of hours necessary for the research plan to be carried out.
We’ve found this process provides people with more transparent information upfront, for less than the hourly retainer model. It has also increased our success rate and reduced our number of negative search results substantially more than a typical research firm.
If anyone wants to get an idea of what we can do for their brick wall, they can visit Trace.com and schedule a free consultation with a member of our team here.
3. How do you assure that the person(s) who do the work are competent and trustworthy? How many researchers around the world can you avail yourself of?
Great question, Kenneth! Having completed thousands of projects, all of which Trace.com is the sole party responsible for the quality and end product of the delivered research, we’ve developed an internal scoring/review system that allows to grade and rate each researcher based on dozens of criteria including but not limited to their communication, research approach, source citations, timeliness of deliverables and many more.
Not only that, but we back each project - so if something doesn’t meet our highest standards for research, we either redo the research ourselves or enlist another researcher on our dime. We ensure and stand by each project’s deliverables, as they are ultimately Trace’s deliverables.
Our network spans over 4,000 researchers and it’s growing every week. We have tiers of expertise and trust as a subset of that larger list and actively work to train and build trust with more of the newer researchers in our network or just ones that haven’t completed as many projects for us.
4. How does one start if they are interested in obtaining a quote, and is there a cost for that?
If anyone reading has a brick wall or a research project they’ve considered getting professional help with, be it DNA research, overseas records that are not accessible or even language/skill gaps, they can very easily fill out this form: Getting Started Form
Once completed, they will be able to schedule a 20-30 minute free consultation with one of our expert team members to go over specific objectives, the feasibility of the research and potential scope and costs to get it done.
We’re also offering more than 30% off to all of your readers Kenneth, if they would like to start and scope out a research project through the end of January. We’d gladly honor reducing our scoping fee from $150 to $99 during that time frame on a first-come, first-serve basis. It doesn’t cost anything to schedule an appointment and we’ll gladly talk through your research goals and a plan to start accomplishing them.
Head over to Trace.com or fill out this short form to redeem this offer.
Certainly! To give you an idea of Trace’s operation and experience, any given month we have approximately 500 projects being managed by our team and technology. Additionally, hundreds of new ones are started every month.
If anyone would like to see recent customer testimonials, they can review those at TrustPilot:
6. Is there anything else that potential clients should know?
Yes, actually. We've found over the years many of our customers share a similar sentiment at the end of their project. Specifically, that they waited years longer than they should have in hiring an expert because they thought it was either a) too expensive and not something they could afford or b) didn’t realize how big of a difference it would make hiring a professional researcher compared to what they knew how to do.
This is always bittersweet when we solve a 25 year brick wall for a customer, because we are thrilled they broke through it, but saddened they struggled with that part of the family tree for so many years when it usually only takes us a couple months to complete those projects.
So, if you’ve ever considered hiring a pro, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation and we’ll gladly help however we can!
Thank you WesleyI I have an interest in one major branch of my tree, for dozens of ancestors from a small town now in Poland—Szubin (formerly Schubin, Germany). I will be contacting you so that Trace can help me with further discoveries!