FAQ for Clients

Commonly Asked Questions

How much will it cost?

FEES: Lantern Genealogy’s fee structure is based on project type. Are you a member of The Erie Society for Genealogical Research or the United States Armed Services?
Mention this to Claire to receive a discount!

Genealogical Research projects are billed at an hourly rate and are generally worked in segments of at least eight (minimum) to twenty hours.

  • For new clients, Claire requires a retainer equal to 50% of the initial authorized hours. The retainer includes review and analysis of all prior research, and preparation of a research plan. Depending on the complexity of the research problem, review time will vary. In cases where the client is just beginning research, the retainer also covers initial client interviews, via phone, video conference, or email. Any time remaining after the review will be spent on research..
  • Out of pocket expenses,for example, parking fees, repository entrance fees, microfilm rentals, and costs of copies and ordering original documents, are billed separately and due upon receipt. Expenses over $50 require client’s prior written consent.
  • In cases where the client is just beginning research, the retainer also covers initial client interviews, via phone, video conference, or email.

Forensic and heirship projects are handled on a case by case basis. Please contact Claire for her rates and availability.

Record Retrievals are generally billed at a fixed rate, regardless of findings:

  • Erie County Public Library: obituaries (up to two) or city directories (up to four) $20
  • Erie County Courthouse: marriages, deeds, probate records (up to two) $20 plus copy charges
  • Larger quantities are billed at $40 per hour (one hour minimum), then in half-hour increments, plus copy charges
  • Depending on Claire’s waiting list, she will refer lookups to library staff or to the ESGR research chair.

How long will the research take?

The scope of a project is based on each client’s individualized needs, and estimating the time a project will take to complete is impossible. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Lineage society applications can be very time consuming, depending on the number of generations involved, and the research required to connect generations, especially for those involving a female line. For these projects, the research retainer also includes preparation of a preliminary application worksheet, to highlight areas where information is missing or not well documented. Claire recommends a minimum of twenty hours to begin the research phase.
  • “Brick wall” problems take time to research, as the solutions are rarely found in one record, and the easily accessible record groups have already turned up nothing. These types of problems typically rely on cluster research and Claire asks for an initial minimum of twenty hours, once the research phase begins.  Projects which are completed in less than the authorized hours are billed at actual time used.
  • Longer term projects, such as compiled genealogies and multi-generational narratives, usually require a minimum of fifty hours and are billed at scheduled twenty hour intervals.

When can we get started?

Claire currently has a minimum waiting list of four weeks.Contact Claire to secure a spot on her calendar!

How do we get started?

  • Gather together everything you already know about your ancestor and determine what you want to know.
  • Contact Claire by email or phone to discuss your project. If you’re having trouble targeting your research goals, Claire can help you determine a focused research question to get your started.
  • Once you’ve identified your one (initial) research goal, a letter of agreement will be drafted for your signature.
  • You can view a sample client research agreement here