Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Learning about Genlighten.com

One of the more interesting phenomena in the online genealogy world is the existence of clearing houses for lookup providers, expert genealogists, and similar offerings. Ancestry.com has their ExpertConnect service, and there are several independent websites where researchers can hire other genealogists to do lookups, pursue genealogy research tasks, answer research questions or provide guidance to a frustrated researcher.

One of the "lookup providers" is Genlighten (www.GenLighten.com), headed by Dean Richardson of Chicago. Dean started this website and service two years ago and it looks like it has matured into a workable system - where researchers can be connected with a local researcher who performs a record lookup in a distant place, and receive it for a nominal fee. Genlgihten takes a small commission fee from the lookup provider.

Here is the www.Genlighten.com home page - on the "Genealogy Researcher" tab:

The home page defines how the Genlighten process works for the researcher -

* You come to Genlighten looking for source documents from remote repositories

* You select a Genlighten lookup provider with access to the document you want
* The provider finds your document, scans it, and uploads it to your Genlighten account
* You download or print your document at Genlighten.com

If you want to be a "lookup provider," the "Lookup Provider" tab shows:

The how it works process is defined on this page as:

* Create a Provider Profile to help clients see your background and expertise

* Offer lookups for records you know well and can access readily
* Keep track of lookup requests you receive and communicate easily with your clients
* Upload the documents you retrieve in digital form and receive client payments

This process, from both the researcher and provider views, seems to be logical, simple and efficient.

Dean's wife, Cynthia, writes the Chicago Genealogy blog (http://chicagogenealogy.blogspot.com) and has been providing Chicago area lookups since 2003.

Cynthia posted a 67-slide presentation in her post Introducing Genlighten.com on her blog in November (and Dean should put a link to it on the Genlighten page):

If this service interests you, from either the researcher or provider angle, I recommend that you investigate Genlighten and consider it for your research needs.

The Genlighten web site has several more pages to help the reader understand how it works I checked out the provider listings and noted that there was only one provider for California at this time. There may be opportunities for genealogists to be lookup providers in many states and countries.

If you need research assistance or a record from a distant place, Genlighten may be the best way to obtain the help you need quickly and cost efficiently.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, affiliate or a provider for Genlighten, have not used the service yet, and have received no remuneration for writing this post. I have met Dean several times at genealogy conferences and was impressed by his vision for the web site and the progress he's made to bring it to a useful service.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I suppose that if you can't find a free volunteer at RAOGK, genlighten.com would be a great alternative.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your comment, Heather! I blogged a while back about the way we view Genlighten in relation to RAOGK. The post is here: http://blog.genlighten.com/2008/08/23/genlighten-were-kinda-like-x-for-y/