— David L. Zolman

The following is a dialogue, typical and frequent. This has been formulated after hundreds of in-the-home, one-on-one with Latter-day Saint families who wish to hire assistance in research.

Brother Brown: As the family representative, I have been given $100 to spend on research. What can you do with it?

Researcher: We are interested in giving you the satisfaction that your research is being done, and done properly. Our discussion is to determine how your family wants to feel when we are done. Let’s explain …

  1. If you and the family want to have the knowledge that they are doing all they can do to discover new families, $100 will not be enough.
  2. If you want to have us define a starting place for more research, that you can do, it is too much money.
  3. And should the family not know what to expect for the funds invested, or what you want to accomplish, money is not the answer.

Brother Brown: The real problem is that the family has assigned me to find a professional and a friend recommended you. Can you help me or can’t you?

Researcher: Our object as a profession is to provide the best analysis possible on your ancestral connections. This analysis is accomplished by eliminating research alternatives or finding the new generation and completing the family.

  1. The quest of everyone who desires research is the advise and time of a well-trained specialist in your family’s behalf.
  2. Are these things you expect from a professional for the family?

Brother Brown: You seem to understand my position so far. My family has done searches for forty years and have run out of ideas. In fact, one aunt says nothing more can be done. Why can your services make a difference?

Researcher: This brings us to an essential part of our services that you may find exciting. Our objectivity, freshness in approach, that cause creative problem solving will increase results. Again results are defined as the finding new family members or the elimination of research alternative. Certain principles of research are universal from family to family such common denominators are places lived, and occupations used for support. The different family problems derived from where they live and when they worked from the fabric of family tradition. These traditions whether of strife or sympathy in many cases can obscure the correct research solution. Thus objectivity is of high significance for your family.

Brother Brown: Your discussion is helping me to discover my own desires from research specialist. For there is much to do and little time to do it. I wish to see our family do all it can do to achieve genealogical excellence.

Researcher: Let’s examine the areas of concern in your family's records. We should consider the most productive areas first, and you will find that after seven to ten years of steady searching, your family's extensions will be completed and the dead ends thoroughly documented. This phase of the spirit of Elijah could then be presently fulfilled.

Brother Brown: For my wife’s family, I see that, more than ever; she wants to do her own research, feel the excitement from her own analysis.

Researcher: Fine, as a professional we encourage you to follow sound standards of proper analysis and enjoy the search. Our efforts are in behalf of those unable to do the searches themselves. A word about that excitement; we have discovered that our clients receive that same thrill and excitement whether they do the search or if we go after the family in question. That we do it or they find it, the result is the same. Her family will not need to fund any professional assistance at this time.

Brother Brown: My brother feels quite differently about professional services: he wonders how can he be blamed for letting someone else do his family search. He considers that his responsibility cannot be assumed by anyone else. How do professionals view this reasoning?

Researcher: What a common dilemma in the world of genealogy, and for those who are Latter-day Saints, the problem is especially acute. The increased emphasis on our ancestors was best summarized by Joseph Smith, “It is the greatest responsibility laid at our hands.”

One principle of extended application is the concept of proxy work. The LDS expansion of this common principle ranges from Fast Offering to supply the Bishop’s storehouse for the poor, to Home Teaching for the Bishop, to being cleansed from our sins by the Savior for our joy to be full.

In the world it is common to have one represented by another in the matter of law, stockholders votes in a corporate setting, and ambassadors represent countries. All of these proxies are well known.

Thus, professional genealogy is a simple extension of that idea. Your family cannot gather sufficient expertise to solve all research problems, especially when different countries and languages are concerned. You then can draw on this research team for alternatives to doing nothing about difficult research problems.

Genealogy is as other commandments. After a lifetime of effort we can derive divine satisfaction that our ancestors will be saved after al1 we can do. Some families will reach a point of diminishing returns in research sooner than others. But if the best effort possible is applied, all families can enjoy that peace that comes when you know your research is being done and done well, and your ancestral family members have been thoroughly considered.