What does a contract for genealogy services look like?

It is a requirement for the Client Report that you have a written contract.  This written contract is submittted with the resultant report.

I have written a lot of contracts in my life because of my background (architect) so this step was not intimidating to me.  I find it not worthwhile to try to write these from “scratch” and so I always use a template or some previous example.  The book Professional Genealogist has a couple of options, a formal contract and a letter type.  Both are acceptable.  Using the letter type, I wrote the contract between my friend and I.  The hardest part was putting into words the work that I was to do for my friend as her request was to “know more about Jens”.  Where to start and stop with that?  With an unknown client, I would have pinned them down to a greater level of specificity or time limit.  This scope of work was kept looser.

The letter also made reference to 2 different Codes of Ethics (APG & BCG) and one Standard (NGS).  I reread them all.

I do think it reasonable to do a little preliminary work to see what sort of records are “out there”.  For example, it is not reasonable to put a 10 hour timeline on tracing your “Martian alien” ancestor if there are no records available for Martians; it seems not fair to the client unless the client is aware of the limitations of records.

I admit that my work output is reduced right now as I am engrossed in the Ken Burn’s Prohibition series on Public Television.  An amazing work and so suitable for today.  The message at the end was loud and clear.

Happy hunting!

Jill

What I did today:  wrote the contract for the client work and did some on line work on Jens’s wife, Anna/Anne/Annie.  Found out she had 3 siblings, 2 sisters and 1 brother.  I can tell Jens is going to be harder to track down.

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