Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
So, you need some assistance researching wayyyyy over there. Do you hire a Professional researcher with a lot of letters behind their name, or a Fee researcher, or try to find a Free researcher?
Here are ole Carol's definitions of each type, which are FAR from techy, and are rather simplistic in this presentation:
Fee researchers, frequently are local researchers, may work in one county. Quite familiar with specific locales, what is available, sometimes they are the "little jewels" of their communities, knowing resources that are powerful but may not be well known. Personally known to the local librarians and the employees of the county courthouse. No letters behind their names for various reasons, maybe they just don't care to take the time and spend the $$ to add those letters. Charge by the hour or the job, most likely less $$ than the Professional, but, for small specific wishes/needs, they can get in, get out, get the document or information. Being a local has definite benefits. (Some fee researchers extend their territory to include their whole state.) May use Tweet, Facebook and other social media to reach out to those looking for research help, and to connect with others that live in their research area for the same reasons that professional researchers do, helping each other, a good thing.
Free researchers, volunteers, probably have much of the local knowledge that the local fee researchers have, may or may not have the time available to do extensive research, but are more than happy to grab an obituary, or maybe a death record, or stomp around a cemetery for you. May be listed on various web sites as volunteers, or not. May be known only to the local genealogical or historical societies. They are worth finding and I have found they are happy to "give back".
Many Professionals and Fee researchers will do free research. The lines are not distinct or drawn in the sand. Some Fee researchers may consider themselves Professional researchers. However, many Professionals are proud of their accomplishments, their letters behind their names -- as they should be, and this is my way of paying them that honor. Believe me, there are a lot of fine FINE Fee researchers out there, danged good researchers they are too!
What are your definitions of Professional, Fee or Free researchers? Have you ever used any of the above, and why? Which do you prefer to use, and why? Have you ever done Fee or Free research for others who live far from your locale?
I don't know about you, but, I can tell you, positively, no doubts about it, my research would not be where it is today without the help of all, Professional, Fee or Free researchers.
Bless them all!
* Source of graphics long lost, my apologies to the artists and web sites.