Answers and advice from the team at Trace

Discovery 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/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 places 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 invite to with a guest role. For a visual reference click here.

Will you verify my information?

Yes! It's vital to genealogical research that we verify information you provide to ensure we don't go down the wrong path, wasting time and money. To achieve this, we will review the information and records you have already found to ensure research begins at a sound starting point. Please don’t misunderstand this process for duplicating research, as being told the name of an ancestor from a family member is not the same as having a sourced record and we would not be providing you with high quality research if we didn’t take this important step.

Can we start my research “across the pond” right away?

It depends. Sometimes we know that an ancestor was from “Germany” but Germany is quite a large area! We need to discover and verify information in the US to tell us exactly where across the pond to look. In this case we will likely match you with a researcher who is US based to find concrete records telling us where to go next, and then recommend that research to you as a next step if you would like to continue. If you already have sourced records that help us narrow down a specific area then we will usually start with research in that country.

I am going on a trip and need my results before then. Can you do that?

Please inform us of any trips you have so that we can be aware of the timeline and include that in our brief for our researchers. Depending on the objective and the timeline for you trip we may be able to do this and will let you know whether or not it is feasible.

Where are your researchers located?

We have researchers throughout the world. Some projects can be done online, utilizing records that have been scanned in, other projects require onsite assistance, and some projects require a blend of both.

How long does it take to get bids?

After we’ve collected your information, it usually takes 2-5 weeks to work with our researchers to compile a research proposal (or proposals). Sometimes this may take a little longer, depending on your project.

How many bids will I get?

Typically we see 1 to 3 bids. Sometimes these are from different researchers and sometimes a researcher provides more than one bid if there are a few different approaches, and therefore costs, they can take.

Can you guarantee that I will get proposals?

No, we cannot guarantee that you will get a proposal. When this happens we provide you with all the information we learned as we tried to get a proposal, such as the reasons that our researchers felt that this project was not feasible. Sometimes we recommend that you take a DNA test or take another next step that will help provide our researchers with more information to go off of. While this can be a disappointing result, it provides you with valuable information curated over several experts and prevents you from spending a large sum of money on a project that will likely not provide a positive result.

Research Phase

How does your process work?

See our How It Works page for more info.

When will my project be completed?

In your proposal, we include an estimate for how long the project will take to complete. We try our hardest to stick to that timeline, but sometimes there can be delays. For example, if a researcher needs to visit an archive they may need to wait until they have an appointment there or until it is open for research which can sometimes take a long time. Your project manager will inform you if there are any delays. On average, our projects take two to four months to complete.

Can you guarantee that the researcher will answer my question?

No, in genealogy we can never guarantee a specific result. We request that our researchers provide a plan in their proposals explaining what work they will do to try to answer your question. When you accept a proposal you are paying for them to complete this work. The researcher will provide a research log which tells you where they searched and what information they found or could not find. While this can be a disappointing result, it provides you with valuable information. We use this information to make recommendations on a future project that may help you find additional 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 customers. 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 project manager 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 project manager will expect timely updates from you to keep the client apprised of your work. We will expect a research log documented your searches. We will also expect for you to stay focused on the customer’s objective and carry out the plan you provided in your proposal. If you have questions during the project, you can reach out to your project manager for help.

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.

Scoping Terms & Conditions

1. No research will be completed (no records will be produced) during the scoping phase. During this phase, we identify qualified genealogists for your project and compile an organized research plan dictating the research needed to be completed, along with a cost associated with the research.

2. Our Onboarding Team will be emailing you a link to a client brief 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 to gather more genealogical information for your project. It is imperative that you answer these questions, even if the answer is, “I do not know.” Please also let us know where you have already searched for information so that we do not duplicate research; this can include websites and/or offline repositories, 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 you have physical (paper) copies of documents you wish to provide, you can mail in those physical documents. We will scan those and upload physical copies of the documents to your project. There is a small fee for those physical documents to be returned, which is based on the number of pages. If you choose not to have your physical documents returned, they will be shredded. As an alternate solution, you can take your physical documents to a local print shop or office supply store to have those documents scanned locally and provide just the digital copies to us - we recommend this option, to eliminate the risk of your original copies being lost in the mail.

4. 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 extra labor.

5. At times, it may be necessary to conduct preliminary phase(s) 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.

6. We’ll make every effort to provide research proposals within 3-5 weeks from the time you locked in your answers on our client brief. However, this process can take longer than 3-5 weeks.

7. We’ll make every effort to provide at least one research proposal for your project. Providing multiple proposals sometimes is not possible. If we are only able to obtain one research proposal and you feel it is not a good fit for your needs, we can explore contacting more researchers for proposals or adjusting the scope of the project.

8. If you need certified copies of documents (for citizenship applications, etc.) it’s helpful 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.

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

10. Please note that once we provide a proposal to you, the researcher can only guarantee their availability for up to 30 days after the proposal is presented. If it takes longer than 30 days for you to decide whether you would like to buy the proposal, we reserve the right to find a new researcher, if the original researcher 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 their Account Manager 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 scoping 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 appraised 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. We reserve 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.

Phone Consultation Terms & Conditions

1. When purchasing a "phone consultation" service from Trace, you are paying for two hours of a researcher's time, in addition to the time spent on your project internally; these two hours include pre-research in preparation for the consultation, a 30-60 minute phone consultation with the researcher and the preparation of a document summarizing key points of the consultation and recommendations for next steps. Trace has the responsibility of reaching out to the client via phone and/or email three times, in an effort to schedule the consultation. If the client has not responded after three contact attempts, Trace will no longer be responsible for setting up the phone consultation with the researcher; however, the client can follow up with us a later date to schedule the consultation.

2. Once a time for the consultation has been agreed upon, the researcher blocks out this time out on their schedule and must be paid for this time. Any cancellations or rescheduling of the appointment must be completed at least two business days in advance (business days are defined as Monday-Friday, excluding United States federal holidays). If notice is not given 2 business days prior to the Trace Team and/or client does not make the consultation appointment for any reason, the researcher will still be paid for that block of time. A new call can be scheduled for a fee of $25. A summary report of research conducted by researcher before the consultation call will be provided to the client, whether or not the client attends their scheduled appointment time.

3. Accepting and scheduling a phone consultation serves as an agreement for services rendered, regardless of whether the research results in positive or negative findings. The proposed phone consultation is customized to the objective(s) agreed upon by the client at the beginning of the scoping phase. As such, objective(s) cannot be changed after accepting and locking in answers on your Project Brief. Subsequent phone consultations or phases of research can be arranged at an additional cost, if the client desires further research of additional objective(s).

4. In accepting and paying for a phone consultation, the 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 prepare for your phone consultation. If information and records were not disclosed by the client before payment, Trace is not responsible for any duplicated research efforts or records and client is still required to pay for these efforts.

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