Services

Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

The "DIY" options are handled through The Occasional Genealogist Academy. We offer both online courses and programs. We use the terms "course" or "program" to differentiate between desired outcomes. This is a subtle but important difference.

The point of a program is to actually complete a task or goal whereas an online course is purely educational.

LEARN MORE

Done-with-You

Our most popular service has always been a "review." This is a more affordable option than full research but also allows passionate hobbyists to retain all the fun of making a discovery themself while still providing some professional input.

If you prefer, you can combine multiple reviews to create "coaching." This allows you to do the research but get feedback as you progress.

Done-for-You

This is the service most associated with "professional genealogy."

This is where we do all the work including traditional research or DNA analysis. We usually refer to this as a "full-research" project or a DNA project.

DNA projects may involve traditional research or not. You do need traditional research to back up any DNA analysis but we know our clients are sometimes comfortable doing their own traditional research and only want our DNA expertise.

Our Signature On-boarding Program

Our Signature On-boarding Program is designed to get you the best results, possible. After years as a professional genealogist, Jennifer found she could provide better results if clients could provide their existing information in a more streamlined fashion.

Our Signature On-boarding Program gives you exact information on how to provide your existing information as well as giving the avid genealogist ideas for additional research they can do themselves. If these suggestions are followed before getting professional input, the professional's report is so much more valuable.

DIY

The "DIY" options are handled through The Occasional Genealogist Academy and are either online courses or programs. We use the terms "course" or "program" to differentiate between desired outcomes. This is a subtle but important difference.

Programs

"Programs" are similar to an online course but are meant to be like a DIY service. There are specific actions you should take to replicate the service you'd get from a professional. This means a program includes some educational material to help you know exactly what to do.

  • The point of a program is to complete a task/goal.
  • Tasks/assignments in a program are the purpose of participating in the program.

Courses

You're probably familiar with online genealogy courses. Our online programs are hosted on the same online platform (Teachable) so they may seem similar. Please remember the desired outcome is different even though both may involve education and assignments/tasks.

  • The point of an online course is to learn something.
  • Assignments in a course are optional if you are able to learn without doing them.

It's important to understand the difference between our courses and programs. Many genealogists can't afford professional genealogy services but they want more than another online course. Look for our online programs and pick one that has the outcome you want. If you find an online course that you'd want to see as a program, send us an email and let us know.

Brick Wall Simplified is our signature program and the DIY option instead of a done-with-you review.

Visit The Occasional Genealogist Academy

Done-with-You.

Like the name says, this category of service involves you. That means it costs less than "done-for-you" because YOU do the research. There are two variations of done-with-you service.

Reviews

Our most popular service has always been a "review." This is a more affordable option than full research but also allows passionate hobbyists to retain all the fun of making a discovery themself while still providing some professional input.

Coaching

If you prefer, you can combine multiple reviews to create "coaching." This allows you to do the research but get feedback as you progress. The process works the same as a review, just repeated several times for the same goal.

A review works by providing your existing research, following the detailed guidelines provided in our Signature On-boarding Program. You must have a specific goal in mind. If you aren't sure how to determine this, it's covered in on-boarding.

One of the Southern Cipher genealogists reviews your completed on-boarding assignments and supporting material (i.e. your existing research) and provides a written report detailing suggestions for additional research you can do. You'll have a chance to ask questions and we offer upgrades if you want more post-review consultation or prefer a different format for communication after the report is delivered.

For coaching: Once you've gone through the Signature On-boarding Program one time, it's easy to update your assignments, following the guidelines, for each coaching session. Although you'll follow the guidelines, you won't actually go through on-boarding every time.

Learn more about the Signature On-boarding Program.

Submit a Project Request

Done-for-You

This is the service most associated with "professional genealogy." This is where we do the research for you, called "full-research" or where we do in-depth DNA analysis for you ("DNA projects").

For "full-research" projects or DNA projects involving traditional research, you will still go through our Signature On-boarding Program to provide your existing information. All projects involving traditional research begin with a review before moving to the actual research (all professional genealogists work this way, we just offer the option to purchase just the review phase).

Please see the section about our "Signature On-boarding Program" to learn more about it OR if you're interested in an even more complete "done-for-you" option. We do provide an option to pay to have us do the work from the On-boarding Program for you. We don't recommend this because your results depend on providing all your relevant existing research and the On-boarding Program helps you make sure you provide all the information.

Submit a Project Request

Signature On-boarding Program

We talk about our Signature On-boarding Program a lot because it has been years in the making.

On-boarding uses our online program "Brick Wall Simplified." In fact, Brick Wall Simplified was designed for on-boarding but also worked as a stand-alone program so we gave it a name and offer it separately.

Your down-payment covers the cost of Brick Wall Simplified plus an on-boarding consultation. The down-payment is non-refundable BUT, if you find you're happy with the DIY review you end up doing and don't want to purchase a review or full-research project after completing Brick Wall Simplified, that's fine with us!

There is no commitment to purchase a service after paying your down-payment (just remember the down-payment is non-refundable).

Also, you won't need to pay the down-payment for additional services as long as you can access Brick Wall Simplified. The entire point of an on-boarding program, not just a process, is to make getting started as straightforward as possible. We want you to know what to give us and also in what format. This allows us to provide you as much value as possible.

DNA On-boarding

If you purchase a DNA project without traditional research, you will not go through the review phase and therefore will not purchase/need the Signature On-boarding Program.

However, DNA projects involve privacy issues so there are several additional permissions you must grant us in addition to providing access to your results.

This is still part of the "on-boarding" stage, just not a formal program.

Done-for-you On-boarding Option

If you do not wish to do the assignments in Brick Wall Simplified, you can pay a $400 fee to have us do the work for you.

You still need to provide your existing research, though!

This means you may still be doing almost as much work. Paying the $400 is not a way to avoid having to do anything. It is an option if you have all your information ready to go and want us to sort and format it for you.

Beginning Your Family History

If we are truly starting your family history from scratch, you won't need the Signature On-boarding Program. We are currently working on a "beginning" on-boarding program.

We rarely get projects that really are starting from scratch. We highly recommend going through the Signature On-boarding Program, if possible. It easily saves $100 or more over the cost of our time to gather your information and format it for review.

You may be wondering what happens if you start Brick Wall Simplified, want to upgrade to a review or full-research, but can't seem to finish your assignments. Does that mean you have to pay the $400 for us to do it for you? Probably not.

The $400 covers the cost of us doing it for you because you don't want to. If you are trying to do what you can, but run into problems, that's why people purchase a review. We can usually go ahead with a review with what you have been able to do.

Brick Wall Simplified is meant to give people a way to do their own review. That doesn't mean everyone can do a professional caliber review. That's OK! Every genealogist starts as a beginner and has to learn new skills and develop them.

The point of doing Brick Wall Simplified before purchasing a service is to give you the chance to do as much as you can. We hate doing a review and feeling like you could have gotten more if we had just told you to give us certain information or tried something else, first. That's why we developed Brick Wall Simplified.

For some genealogists, your skills aren't to the point to go all the way through Brick Wall Simplified. It may be your research skills, your analysis skills, or your organizational skills. Realizing this and getting help where you are is part of the point of the Signature On-boarding Program.

If you still have questions, most will be answered with your on-boarding consultation. You can always email us, try our FREE guide, or purchase Brick Wall Simplified as an online program. You can always upgrade to add a review or full-research project if you still want professional input after trying the DIY option of Brick Wall Simplified.

Because we specialize in helping hobbyist genealogists, we know many of them want to try to do what they can themselves. This is why you can purchase Brick Wall Simplified without committing to a project. Brick Wall Simplified will also help any genealogist with a tricky problem, regardless of the time or place of the project. Southern Cipher DNA & Genealogy only offers research for select timeframes and locations, though (you can learn about our specialties in our FREE guide).