Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are consultations just for NEHGS members?
Anyone, regardless of membership, may make a request to schedule a consultation with a staff genealogist.
Q. Are consultations free?
Consultations are paid one-on-one sessions with a staff genealogist to receive research guidance about a specific topic, an individual or a family. The non-member rate is $90 per hour, and for basic members (Individual and Family) is $70 per hour. Contributing Membership levels include additional rate discounts as well as complimentary consultation time. For more information about NEHGS membership levels, you can find details at http://www.americanancestors.org/Membership/levels-and-benefits/, or by calling our Member Services team at 888-296-3447 (choose option 1).
Q. Does the complimentary consultation time expire at the end of my membership year?
Complimentary consultation time is usable during the current membership year and, if unused that year, can be accrued through the next 2 years of membership. Once used, time spent in consultation is charged at the established hourly rate for the consultee's membership level.
Q. I don't live in Boston. Does that mean I can't book a consultation?
Consultation sessions are held either on-site at our Boston library, or by telephone. Our staff genealogist will call you at your preferred telephone number on the scheduled day and time.
Q. How long is a consultation session?
The minimum length of a scheduled consultation session is 30 minutes, while the maximum time is 2 hours. Contributing members may book sessions beginning at 15 minutes in length.
Q. Do I pre-pay for my consultation session?
Pre-payment is not required. The consulting individual may shorten or extend the scheduled session time based on the evolving conversation. For example, a scheduled hour-long session may be shortened to a half hour's time if the consulting individual believes s/he has received enough information to continue research, or may extend up to the 2-hour maximum (based on the staff genealogist’s availability) if they have more questions about their topic. At the end of the session, payment is expected for the amount of time used, and may be made by credit card or, for in-person consultations at the Boston library, credit card, check, or cash.
Q. Can I book a consultation for the same day I call or visit?
For the best experience, consultation sessions are booked at least 4–6 weeks in advance to allow the consulting genealogist to review your question and related data. Events and other activities scheduled at our library may also blackout particular days for scheduling individual consultations.
Q. I still want to book a session to coincide with my visit to Boston in shorter than 4 weeks. Can I?
We will make every effort to accommodate your schedule, however, for bookings of 5 days or less from initial contact, the hourly rates are doubled. Same day bookings incur not only the double hourly rate but also a flat rush fee of $50.
Q. What are some of the topics that consulting genealogists have handled before?
Frequent topics include advice for locating records mentioning parents of or a death place for a particular individual, using genealogical software, DNA tutorial, and using NEHGS resources.
Q. Can I choose which genealogist I meet with?
Based on your topic, we select the genealogist with the best matching experience.
Q. I'd like someone to find vital and other records for one of my ancestors. Will the consulting genealogist do that for me?
The consulting genealogist will review your question and data, and may spot check resources to later review with you during the session. While the genealogist may encounter some relevant records and references to bring to your attention, consultation sessions are primarily opportunities to learn about research techniques and record resources to enhance your skills as a family history researcher.
If you would like NEHGS staff to look for records about a family member, our Research Services team is ready to help you. For more information, go to http://www.americanancestors.org/Services/Hire-a-Researcher/or call 617-266-1233.
Q. How can I make a consultation request?
You may complete our order form at http://www.americanancestors.org/Services/Consultations/.
Q. Can I give a consultation session as a gift and what is the cost?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-226-1271 to provide us with your contact information, the session length, and to whom you wish to give a consultation. We will contact you for payment information, and a gift certificate will be forwarded to you or directly to the recipient. The cost is based on the established hourly rate of the donor's membership level.
If you have further questions about consultations, you can send email to email@example.com or call 617-226-1271.