Answers and advice from the team at Trace

Assessment Phase

How does your process work?

See our How It Works page for more info.

What type of information will you need from me?

We will want to know what information you already have, to include dates and locations of birth, marriage and death for the research subject and all immediate family members that you are aware of. If you can provide us with a family tree this often provides much of this information. Any records you have pertaining to the research subject are also very helpful. This can include (but is certainly not limited to) census records, vital records and newspaper clippings. Even records that may not seem applicable to this project may contain clues that will be of value to our experts. Finally, if you have already searched sources and found negative results that can be helpful to our researchers as well.

How do I share my tree with you?

On under the name of your tree there is an option called “Tree Settings”. From here you can send an email inviting us to see your tree. Please send your invitation to with a guest role.

Will you verify my information?

For successful genealogical research, it's crucial that we authenticate the details you share with us. This helps prevent potential inaccuracies and ensures that our research is both time and cost-efficient. We will examine the records and information you have already uncovered to make certain that your research project begins with a solid foundation. Kindly note that this isn't about redoing your research. Receiving an ancestor's name from a family member is valuable, but it isn't the same as having a verified, sourced record. Our commitment is to deliver top-notch research, which necessitates this verification step.

Can we initiate my research directly in the country of origin?

Absolutely, but there are specifics to consider. For instance, if you indicate an ancestor is from Germany, it's essential to understand that merely knowing the country might not be enough. Due to the way records are held and organized, targeted research requires that we pinpoint a more specific location such as a village, town, or parish. This ensures our research is accurate, focused, and cost-effective. If we need more clarity on this location, we might first have to consult records from the individual's most recently documented location. If, however, you already possess verified records detailing a precise location, we can usually embark on research directly in that country of origin.

I have an upcoming trip or special event. Can I get research completed before a specified date?

We understand the importance of special events and trips in our clients' lives. When you inform us of your desired delivery date during the initial assessment phase, it allows us to evaluate our current workload and research complexity. We will always do our best to accommodate your schedule. After assessing, we'll provide clarity on whether we can complete the research by your specified date.

Where are your researchers based?

Our researchers are positioned across the globe. While many research projects can be conducted online using digitized records, others necessitate on-site visits to specific archives and repositories in order to access specific records. Often, a combination of online and on-site research is needed to ensure comprehensive results. Regardless of the project's nature, we work to find the professional researchers ideally suited for the needs of your particular project.

How long does it take to receive a research proposal?

Once we have gathered your project details, it typically takes between two to five weeks for us to collaborate with our researchers and present you with a research proposal (or multiple proposals) tailored to your research goals. However, the duration might extend occasionally based on the complexity and specifics of your project.

How many proposals can I expect?

You can generally expect between one to two proposals. These could come from distinct researchers, or at times, an individual researcher might offer multiple options within a single proposal. This occurs when they identify several potential approaches to your project, each with its own associated costs.

Is it guaranteed that I will receive proposals?

While we make every effort to procure proposals for your project, we cannot guarantee that you will always receive one. Should this occur, we'll share with you all the insights gained during the assessment process, including specific reasons our researchers deemed the project unfeasible. In some cases, we might suggest alternative steps, such as taking a DNA test or beginning research at a different point in your ancestry. We understand that not receiving a proposal can be disheartening. However, our feedback, drawn from multiple experts, ensures you are well-informed and protects you from investing heavily in a project which cannot be completed effectively.

Research Phase

How does your process work?

See our How It Works page for more info.

How long until my project is completed?

Each proposal includes a projected date of completion for the project. We diligently aim to adhere to this date. However, unforeseen circumstances, such as a researcher awaiting an archive appointment or fulfillment of a request for records, can introduce delays. Rest assured, our team will keep you updated on any delays or changes in the projected completion date.

Can you assure that the researcher will resolve my research question?

Genealogical research is a journey of discovery, and while we wish we could, we cannot guarantee specific outcomes. When our researchers present their proposals, they detail a plan outlining the steps they intend to take in an effort to address your research objective. Accepting a proposal means you are agreeing to the research plan and compensation for the professional researcher's time and expertise, not a predetermined result. They will furnish a research calendar (log) and report to document their research efforts, detailing both their findings and analysis. Even if the outcome is not what you hoped for, this information is invaluable. Based on these insights, we can suggest recommendations for subsequent research to further aid in uncovering answers.

Discovery Phase

How can I join your network of researchers?

To begin our process, please complete our researcher application. Through this form we will learn more about your experience, interests, skills, and what, if any, repositories you can visit.

Can I join your network if I am not a professional?

On occasion we need help with record lookups, translation services, or other services that supplement our professional researchers. Please complete this form so that we can learn more about what services you can provide.

How often will I receive projects?

This varies highly depending on your area of expertise and the requests coming in from our clients. Some researchers receive multiple projects to bid on in a day and others may not hear from us for a few months. You can also inform us of when you can accept projects or not so that we reach out to you during times when you have capacity.

What happens when a client accepts my project?

Congratulations! Our team will let you know when your project has been accepted. Please do not start work before we let you know this. Once you begin work, our team will expect timely updates from you to keep the client apprised of the progress of your research. You will be required to provide a research log and report documenting your research and analysis. We will also expect for you to stay focused on the project objective and carry out the plan you provided in your proposal. If you have questions during the project, you can reach out to our team for assistance.

Discovery Phase

I’ve worked with AncestorCloud or but I don’t know Trace. Who are you?

Trace is on a mission to make genealogy research accessible and affordable. We started as AncestorCloud with a marketplace for research and then acquired the genealogy services business We took the best parts of both businesses to create a managed marketplace - which means we add our own services internally to provide you with a great customer experience while leveraging a large network of researchers.

Where are you located?

We are headquartered in Provo, Utah, but our team and network of researchers are located all over the world.

Assessment Terms & Conditions

1. No research will be completed (no records will be produced) during the assessment phase. During this phase, we identify qualified genealogists whose skillsets and experience align with the needs of your project. We then compile an organized research plan dictating the research needed to be completed, along with a cost associated with the research.

2. Our team will be emailing you a link to a your secure, custom project questionnaire with questions regarding your research subject(s). It is necessary that you fill out all the information requested, including uploading relevant genealogical records and answering questions listed in order to not duplicate prior research efforts, as well as to determine a sound starting point for your research project. In regard to prior research, please include any websites and onsite repositories you have already searched, such as libraries and archives. Once you have completed our questionnaire, please lock in your answers. We cannot reach out to researchers until we have confirmation that you have supplied all relevant information.

3. If revisions to your proposal are required due to an omission of relevant information and/or documents with Trace at the start of your project, Trace reserves the right to charge a revision fee for the additional time and effort to reassess the project.

4. At times, it may be necessary to conduct a preliminary phase (or phases) of research before we can focus on your ultimate objective. For example, if your ancestor(s) immigrated to the United States from Europe, it may be necessary to carry out a phase of research focusing on United States records before we have the necessary information to efficiently research European records. In the long run, this approach is much more cost-efficient and the chances of positive research findings are increased.

5. We will make every effort to provide research proposals within three to five weeks from the time you locked in your answers on your custom project questionnaire. However, this process can take longer than three to five weeks depending on the nature of your project and/or the availability of our professional researchers.

6. We will make every effort to provide at least one research proposal for your project. However, receiving a research proposal is not a guarantee. If our professional researchers determine your project is not feasible after an assessment of the information you provide, you will be provided with a Feasibility Assessment consisting of their insight and recommendations.

7. If you require certified copies of documents (for citizenship applications, etc.) it is imperative for us to know this up-front. Otherwise, there may be additional fees and delays to get certified copies of the documents after research has been conducted and records have been obtained.

8. The assessment fee is non-refundable. The assessment process allows our team and our researchers to review your project and determine its feasibility. The extensive time devoted to your project by Trace and professional genealogists precludes refunds of the assessment fee, even if a research proposal cannot be provided.

9. Please note that once we provide a proposal to you, the researcher’s availability and project costs can only be guaranteed for up to seven days after the proposal is presented. However, extensions of up to 30 days can be provided for special circumstances. If it takes longer than seven days for you to decide whether you would like to buy the proposal, Trace and the researcher reserve the right to decline to fulfill the original proposal. Trace also reserves the right to find a new researcher if the original individual becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances.

Proposal Terms & Conditions

1. Research proposals outline research that is to be conducted by the researcher(s). Due to the nature of genealogical research, research outcomes cannot be guaranteed. Accepting and paying for a research proposal serves as an agreement for services rendered as outlined in the proposed research plan(s), regardless of whether the research results in positive or negative findings. All findings, whether positive or negative, will be reported to the client, as outlined in the accepted research plan(s).

2. The research outlined in the accepted proposal - and only the research outlined in the accepted proposal - will be conducted; no additional research will be conducted as a part of this research project. Should the client wish for additional searches to be conducted, they may either discuss the possibility of additional searches with Trace before paying for the proposal, or they may discuss a subsequent phase(s) of research (at an additional cost) upon completion of this project. It is not always possible to accommodate requests for additional research - such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If additional searches are added to the existing research plan before the plan is accepted, the researcher may change the cost of the plan, to accommodate for the extra time and/or additional travel or repository expenses. Please understand changes cannot be made to the research plan or cost once a proposal has been accepted.

3. The proposed research plan(s) is customized to the objective(s) agreed upon by the client at the beginning of the assessment phase. As such, objective(s) cannot be changed after accepting and paying for a research proposal. Subsequent phases of research can be arranged if client desires further research of additional objective(s).

4. In accepting and paying for a research plan(s), client acknowledges they have provided all information, previous research attempts, and records they have applicable to the research subject(s) and objective(s) of this research. All information and records provided by the client were reviewed by members of our team and researcher(s) to create the customized research plan(s). If information and records were not disclosed by the client before payment we are not responsible for any duplicated research efforts or records and client is still required to pay for these efforts.

5. When possible, we provide estimates of the time it will take to conduct the outlined research. While we do our best to conduct research as quickly as possible, there can be unforeseen and uncontrollable delays. This can include delays in beginning work on a project. As such, any provided commencement and completion dates are merely estimates and we cannot guarantee completion within the provided estimates. We will provide updates, as they are available, to keep the client apprised of delays and progress on the project. Trace will not cancel a project or provide a refund if a project commences later than anticipated or is completed later than anticipated.

6. Trace reserves the right to reassign this project to another professional in our network, at no additional cost to the client, if the researcher becomes unresponsive, ill or unable to complete the project for any reason. This is to ensure the client receives the research paid for in the event the original researcher cannot complete the project.

7. Upon completion of the project, client may contact Trace if they have any questions about their deliverables. Such questions must be submitted in writing within 45 days of the date the deliverables are provided to the client; we cannot promise to answer questions about the report or other deliverables beyond this timeframe. In addition, we are unable to answer questions regarding research which reach beyond the scope of the purchased research plan - this service is for the purpose of clarifying information about the deliverables themselves.

8. As genealogical research is a personalized service, Trace is unable to refund projects after purchase of research proposals, regardless of how much time has passed since purchasing the research proposal.

Why We're Different

The research system is broken. We're fixing it.

Traditional Research Agencies
Unknown risks and feasibility of project
Large retainer to get started
Small network in few locales
Often focused on specific area
Unexpected fees throughout project
Small team
Uncertain customer service
We de-risk your project before we start
Focused on your end-goal, not billable hours
4,000 researchers in 90+ countries
Global research expertise
No hidden fees or expenses
Thousands of active professionals
Dedicated customer support team