What can I use for a client report?

Good morning! and a good question!

I have been trying to identify a good topic to use as my client report.  I don’t have “real” clients so I was trying to decide what I could do pro bono, a situation that is acceptable to the BCG.  I thought about doing an analysis of movement patterns of the occupants of a street in Ostfriesland where my great grandmother was born. The pastor recorded the house numbers in the parish records for every BMD.  That information could be used to trace movement patterns in the 1800’s (I suspect they moved more than we think).  Another option was to take a list of the women that my sister-in-law used in her thesis for her Master’s in History (Historical Wyoming Women) and trace the genealogy of one of them.  Then it fell into my lap!  This weekend my friend visited from Iowa.  She wants to know more about her great grandfather who fought in the Civil War and I wanted her to do a quilt for a wedding present for a couple of friends of mine.  Perfect! Trade!  We figured the value and expenses were about the same for each.  And, we both think we got the better deal.

If you are struggling with this decision as well, or will be in the future, you might just keep your mind open to opportunities while always thinking about what might be good projects.  Some questions to ask yourself might be:

  • What do I want to do? (Don’t do a project you do not feel some passion about)
  • Do I belong to any organizations that might have a research need? (ask them.  It doesn’t have to be about a family)
  • Do any of my friends have interesting problems that might be fun to do? (try something different: Native American, African American research, Latino or some other ethnic group you have never worked on before)

I am excited about doing some work on her family because the immigrant served in the Civil War, was wounded and was imprisoned.  My ancestral family did a concerted effort to avoid the draft including two families that immigrated just for that reason so I have very few ancestors that served in wars before WWII.  I have already sent for the Civil War records (military and pension).

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post:  completely rewrote the Case Study.  I consider it now in a mid-draft state and will put it aside for now.  Negotiated a barter deal with my friend for the quilt for genealogy services.  Ordered the Civil War file of her great grandfather, started the new project in my software program (TMG) and did some basic census work on his family from 1870 to 1930.


3 comments on “What can I use for a client report?

  1. Hi Jill,

    Great blog!

    Re: your comment, “Some questions to ask yourself might be: What do I want to do? (Don’t do a project you do not feel some passion about).”

    You note that you do not have “real clients.” Do you plan on getting certified in order to become a professional genealogist, conducting research for clients? If so, you might want to rethink this idea. Only a small portion of the clients that I take offer projects that I feel “passion” about.

    In my understanding, the BCG includes this section of the portfolio specifically because it is *not* something that you necessarily feel any passion about. Yet–passion or not–the client report demonstrates just how well you can communicate with a client, understand the request, plan the research, deal with a time or cost limit, and communicate the results of your research.

    In my opinion as a professional genealogist it is best not to feel too much passion for a client project. With every project there lies the possibility that there will be no resolution, due to time or financial constraints on the part of the client. When you feel strong passion for a project, this can leave you severely unsatisfied and frustrated.

    • jkmorelli says:

      Great points and thanks for the compliment.

      I found that writing the lineage report (and I am still working on it) is tedious. Because of that I was suggesting that a little passion about the topic would be a good thing. But you have pointed out that the client based work is more “distant” and thus, there is less of the personal involvement. This is a significant difference between doing your own work and doing work for others in any field. This might be a topic I develop a little more fully later. I will have to think about it.

      I must admit, however, that I am enjoying my exploration into the Norwegian realm. An off shoot of the work is that my client’s relative spent a lot of time in the hospital during 1863. I did a little research on the history of nursing during that time and discovered that Clara Barton was at the field, helping the wounded, after three (at least) of the battles he participated in. In addition, he was hospitalized in DC and that is where some of the first “in hospital” nurses were stationed by Dorothea Dix. I get excited about learning something new.

      While I would like to have clients, I am not becoming certified for that reason. I am becoming certified for the personal reason of having attained the goal.

      Thanks for the comments and the encouragement.

      • Enjoyment is definitely important. If you don’t enjoy client research, you would do far better with another job. 😉

        The process of applying for certification (whether successful or not) is, in my opinion, the single best educational experience in genealogy. You can read about my own experiences in a series of posts in my blog back in July-August. See http://michaelhait.wordpress.com under the category Board for the Certification of Genealogists.

        Whether you decide to take clients or not, becoming certified is a great accomplishment! I look forward to continuing to read about your journey as you prepare.

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