Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ProGenealogists has a Makeover

I didn't comment on the Ancestry.com news yesterday about disconnecting their Expert Connect service, where researchers could request genealogical services from "experts" in various locations around the world.  I had no skin in that game - I wasn't an "expert" doing research for them and I wasn't a customer of the service.

As readers will recall, Ancestry.com acquired the ProGenealogists company less than six months ago, and the last time I checked their website, it had not been "melded" into the Ancestry.com fold.

Now it has - the home page (http://www.progenealogists.com/) looks like this:

The top banner says that the site is "Official Ancestry.com research partner."  An Ancestry.com stylish "leaf" logo is displayed (although it is different from other Ancestry.com logos), the colors are the green we all recognize, and the website has been revamped considerably.

I clicked on the "Services" tab and saw:

There are two sections here - at the top is the "We Do All the Research For You"  with a list of service options -

*  Ancestry Research
*  Mini-Session Ancestry Research
*  International Ancestry Research
*  Family History Book Creation and Publication
*  Probate and Missing Heir Research

The second major area on the "Services" page is "We Help You Do Your Own Research" Options:

Here the options available for the consumer include:

*  Record Search
*  Consultation
*  Ask A Pro

It seems to me that the options in the two groups pretty much cover what the Expert Connect service providers performed, albeit with some question about quality of service and results and a major paperwork headache for Ancestry.com taking money from clients and paying the providers. 

With ProGenealogists doing these tasks, it seems to me that the quality of service and results will be better and the exchange of funds is streamlined with an existing company financial department.

What about the lack of "experts" in companies around the world at ProGenealogists?  Check the list of professionals that are ProGenealogists Associates.  http://www.progenealogists.com/aboutus.htm.  My guess is that ProGenealogists might hire some of the genealogists in other countries where they don't have expertise to be contractors for the company, including some of those that were providing "Expert Connect" service.

UPDATE:  Stephanie commented about my basis for the statement "...quality of service and results will be better..." above.  I did not intend to impugn the work quality of any particular Expert Connect provider.  It stands to reason, to me at least, that the ProGenealogists providers will have more resources available and, in some cases, more expertise, than some of the Expert Connect providers.  I should have been more precise.


Stephanie Hoover said...

I'm a bit confused about one thing: you mention you were neither a provider nor client of ExpertConnect -- yet in your post you say "With ProGenealogists doing these tasks, it seems to me that the quality of service and results will be better." I'm wondering what you mean by that..?

Stephanie Hoover

Thomas MacEntee said...


Good catch and thanks for the heads up! This is sort of in line with my thoughts on how ProGenealogists would change: http://hidefgen.com/expert-disconnect-ancestrycoms-move/

Geolover said...

Interesting, this hasty shutdown of ExpertConnect.

It can't be related to wanting non-competition with ProGenealogists, though. If you look at where the PG group does its research, it's websites and maybe the FHL Library.

Possibly changes are underway at PG, but if I wanted documents from a State, County or local treasure-house I would not be contacting them.

Kathleen O'Hara said...

If you click on "Contact Us" and then "Job Openings," you'll see that there's an option to sign up for "Part-Time and Occasional Work Opportunities" to "fetch records or your local court house, archive, or library." It seems they have a database of "agents" that are contacted by ProGenealogists to do the local work that was part of ExpertConnect, only they're only accessible to PG, not to the individuals seeking services.

Unknown said...

Wow! I am just amazed at the quality of blog posts. I'm glad I have been more open to reading additional blogs lately. For a long time even after I started reading blogs it was only EOGN and a couple blogs from x- or current FamilySearch employees. Wow, you really provide some good insights and the comments give additional insights showing that you have discerning readers too. I was actually not interested the first time I saw your blog because it didn't have a super modern clean layout in my opinion - not at all an insult toward you - but after reading the recent Follow Friday and looking closer I don't think I'll be able to stop checking your blog ever again.

Anonymous said...

There is another option for people needing to locate a professional researcher for their projects or for genealogists looking to find work. The concept is very much like Ancestry.com’s Expert Connect but was actually in place BEFORE Expert Connect.

Please Check out Genealogy Freelancers at:


Valerie J. Thompson said...

Genealogy research is FUN! but, the past few days for the 'Experts' like myself have not been fun.
It will be interesting to see what happens with genealogyfreelancers.com
They have the same leaf loga as Ancestry and Rootsweb and their affliates. ???

Valerie Thompson
Professional Genealogist

genfriend said...

I am one of those Experts that was presumably less qualified than the "pro"genealogists at ProGen. Our qualifications were checked in advance. In order to be allowed access to the projects up for bid, it was necessary to have a certain minimum qualification level. In my case, that included (but was not limited to) two degrees in history and library science, work as a reference librarian, an archivist, 35 years as a genealogist, a historian, an editor, the author of a book tracing 14 families from the 1600's, teaching at a graduate school level, tutoring and training on a personal and in business levels, and belonging to an association that required that I adhere to a specific professional code of ethics. I also helped to create a database before chip technology, served an apprenticeship with genealogists from a previous generation, and I am an extremely good online researcher. If I wish to travel across a couple of time zones, ProGen will consider my application to allow me to make copies for them. No, thank you. Many of us do this for the sheer love of it and because we can. I will be moving with many of the other experts to genealogyfreelancers.com.
Mary Ann Huffstetler
Linking The Past

Anonymous said...

An interesting blog...and more interesting responses.

Your comment "With ProGenealogists doing these tasks, it seems to me that the quality of service and results will be better." is so off the mark it makes me laugh.

As a previous "Expert" on Ancesry, I find the responding posts plugging genealogy freelancers are way off the mark in the fact that it is a substandard website that promotes the hobbiest genealogist and not the true professional.

Those that frequent it are asking for trouble when looking for quaility research and the "Genealogical Proof Standard"

These "providors" are what some of us pros call the "hobbiest genealogist". Those that have done "research for family and friends for 20 years"

Progenealogist's is going to be exactly what Ancesrty wants it to be. An in house provider of research services they offer.

They used those of us on Expert Connect as testing subjects. They had started to filter projects that were over 1000.00 to them (progen) long before they made the decision to cut off Expert Connect.

To Ancestry, who has become a major corporation, it is and always has been about the almighty dollar.

The fact that Ancestry is run from Salt Lake City, and Progenealogists are also, makes this now an in house company.

With the upcoming season of "who do you think you are" and the timing of the break with Expert Connect, They are and will always look to the bottom line. MONEY

Katie O responded with a "Job Openings," remark....the job openings will be to gather information for the schumck who goes and gets the record they need at the local level for 100.00 while they are charging the unsuspecting client 500.00 to cover their in house fees.

This has become a sensitive subject for all of the past Expert Connect providers...we were thrown out like a piece of trash without warning and it's the future clients of ProGenealogist.com who will suffer the most. Mostly from their pocketbook or wallet.

Many of my current clients on Ancestry have told me, that they themselves will be canceling their subscriptions due to the way Ancestry.com has handled the transition and closing of EC.

This may in the end....wind up biting them in the behind.


An a ex-researcher for Expert Connect and a NEW researcher on Genealogy Freelancers, I take MAJOR offense in remarks about how the researchers on Freelancers are "hobbiest" genealogists. I suggest you take a look at the profiles of the researchers before making those comments too loudly. I myself have been researching PROFESSIONALLY since 2003, I have created over 250 family projects, and I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Texas State Genealogical Society and the Navarro County Genealogical Society. My works have been placed with the West Virgina Archives, The Oklahoma Historical Society, as well as the Kentucky Genealogical Society.

When I joined Genealogy Freelancers, my credentials were verified by Genealogy Freelancers before my joining was announced.

I also hold an Associate & Bachelor degree in Business Administration and I will complete my Master of Science degree this fall.

Many of the members of Genealogy Freelancers share credentials such as mine. A few are even certified genealogists. So comments about "hobbiest" is WAY off base!

Unknown said...

I recently paid Progenealogists over $1000 for research. My session is over. I found everything I needed thru a website called Exciting Poland. Mr Bartecki was wonderful and it only cost me about $200 dollars and almost all of that was for fees to archives and city hall.
I feel I've been ripped off. I've been notified by my researcher in Progenealogist that in order for me to get their report I owe then an additional $63+. I probably will pay it to see just what is in the report as the researcher said they'd get copies of records "in the next session" I will keep you informed as to what is contained in the report. I don't use or subscribe to Ancestry as they only have extensive U.S.A records.