Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you require ten hours upfront for most research projects?

It takes 2-3 hours to get familiar with the families and confirm any research materials you have provided. We have found ten hours is a great start in finding information. More hours may be required to solve the query, but ten hours helps us to make great initial headway in the project.

Can you help me join a lineage society?

We do our best to document for the lineage society you wish to apply for. Every lineage society has its own set of rules that we review and follow. Most societies require the first three generations (you, parents & grandparents) to supply birth, marriage, and death certificates that apply. In some cases, we need to show divorce records to prove a woman’s name change. Every effort is made to find the documentation needed, but there are no guarantees. We have a great success rate. Please note we are not allowed to order the documents for you. We recommend calling the county archive or using Some documents are available thru our database, and we do our best to locate those for you.

What do negative results mean?

The hours researched not only include time finding the needed documents or information needed, but it also may include research that provided negative results. There may be times we find microfilm or books for a particular area we hope to be helpful but find nothing of use. We are still paid for the time spent researching negative research, but we try our best to limit how often that occurs.

Why do you want to review the work I have already done?

We have found in past cases that previous work may have some errors, which have led us to do work that is on the wrong family. We just do a quick review of the data you provide, to ensure we are on the right family lines. If you prefer we do not do this review, we will ask you to sign a waiver to forfeit this review, noting that if the wrong family was researched, Past & Present Pathways will be found harmless.

Do I need to have my DNA done?

DNA may help us locate cousins and show us which directions to go on for a family line. We are not able to order the DNA kits for you, but we are here to guide you through the process and help you analyze the results. Note that some DNA companies may take a few months to send the results in. You might want to watch for sales during the holidays. The companies we recommend for Autosomal are AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe. The only company that does Y DNA is FamilyTreeDNA.