Wondering when you should decline a client's request? Looking for advice on scanning paper documents to produce readable digital images? Puzzled by the feedback you've received from a client? We answer some common questions asked by lookup providers below.
Here's a brief key to each of the status codes and their meanings:
You can use the filter links above and to the left of the Status List to limit which entries are visible. Click on the "Pending" filter to display just the orders with status Submitted, In Progress or Contact Us. Use the "Completed" link to display just the Found and Not Found orders.
Click on the Client's Unique Descriptive Title for a specific lookup request (highlighted in bold, red type) to be taken to the Lookup Status Detail page corresponding to that request.
From the Order Status page, use your browser's "Print" functionality (usually accessible by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the "P" key, or Apple-P on an Apple computer) to send the page to your printer.
Providers should review each lookup request they receive in order to verify that the client has followed the instructions given them and that they have provided the data needed to perform the lookup. If the lookup request:
Then the provider should decline it. The site will prompt the provider to post a note explaining their reasons for not accepting the request. This note should be thorough and polite, and should include suggestions for how the request could be rephrased and/or redirected to a different lookup or a different provider.
You can delete messages you've posted, but we haven't yet implemented the ability to edit them. To delete, just click on the stylized X to the right of the message.
We haven't yet added that capability, no. If you're interested in this feature, please let us know at support(at)genlighten(dot)com.
We suggest you begin by attending meetings and conferences held by your local genealogical or historical society. You can also try visiting their websites or those hosted by the USGenWeb Project. We also encourage you to simply call or visit your local repository and talk with with employees or volunteers there. Building a positive rapport with them is a great way to enhance your success as a lookup provider.
Many articles in genealogy magazines and on genealogy-related websites discuss this topic. We'd recommend the following articles online as a good starting point:
Our commission rate is currently 15%. If you as a provider set your "Document Found" fee at -- for example -- $10 for a particular lookup, we'll credit $8.50 to your Genlighten provider account each time you complete that lookup successfully and upload the client's requested document to the site.
The time to first ponder this question is before you create the lookup offering. Your "detailed description" should outline what you expect to be able to find as well as possible negative search outcomes. When a client submits a request to you and you accept that request, the two of you share the goal of getting a particular document into the client's hands. If you believe that the document you've retrieved fulfills the expectations that your offering has raised in the client's mind, you can feel justified in marking the lookup "Document Found." This is true even if the document does not end up containing groundbreaking new information for the client.
If despite your best effort, you are unable to find the document you expected to be able to deliver, you should mark the lookup "Not Found." Depending on how you phrased your detailed lookup description, there may be other situations that would also merit the "not found" designation.
The "Bible" of genealogical source citation methodology is Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Every Genlighten lookup provider should own or have ready access to a copy. Mills' Quicksheets are also an extremely useful reference to have nearby.
Articles on this topic appear frequently in publications of the National Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Online message boards moderated by the APG provide a forum where such questions are frequently addressed and answered by experienced practioners.
Documenting a negative result is as important as providing images when records are found. When your search doesn’t yield the record your client was looking for your report should tell your client what records you searched (titles, call numbers, etc.), where you searched them (repository name), and how you searched (for example, if you were searching a church register did you just check an index in the front of the volume or did you read through every entry between specific dates).
In many cases, it’s possible to provide images that document the result. For example, if you searched an alphabetical index for the surname “Ackley” and there were no entries found, you could provide a copy of the page that would have included that name.
Genlighten requires an upload before a request can be completed and charged. If the search didn’t result in an image to share, you can upload a report as a PDF or Word document. You are also welcome to upload a place-holder image, a photo of the repository you visited, for example, so that you can complete a request as “not found.”
At the moment, it isn’t possible to respond directly to negative feedback but you’re welcome to add a note of explanation to your profile page, if you’d like. Most times a consistent 5-star track record will minimize the impact of a single instance of negative feedback.
The answer here obviously depends on the type of lookups you offer and the overall popularity of the records you can retrieve. But we can offer a few general suggestions: