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Kimberly Powell

Ancestry.com to Discontinue Expert Connect

By January 24, 2011

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Ancestry.com announced today that it is discontinuing its popular Expert Connect service, which helps members of the Ancestry.com subscription service connect with professional genealogists and researchers who they can hire to retrieve records, conduct in-depth research, or just ask for expert advice. Though Ancestry states in their press announcement that the "service has been a positive experience," they have apparently "decided to focus on other business priorities." New project postings, bidding and awards will be discontinued February 3, 2011 and existing projects will need to be wrapped up by the service end date of March 18, 2011. Experts and members have been notified of this change of service, and members are encouraged to finish out existing projects with experts, and continue relationships for future projects outside of Expert Connect, if needed.

The last date for new project bids, February 3, is the date before the scheduled premiere of the second season of Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC. Is this a coincidence? I also wonder if there is any connection with Ancestry's acquisition of ProGenealogists, Inc. last year?

For those of you out there who have used Expert Connect, or think you may want to use a service like that in the future, the Association of Professional Genealogists and similar professional organizations are a great place to connect with professional researchers.

January 25, 2011 at 1:05 am
(1) Lisa says:

I know, with this unexpected announcement I just lost my job today.

I specialize in adoptee, family mysteries and primary resource archival research – which worked really well with the extended customer base at Expert Connect. Not so much otherwise.

Very sad news.

I feel this is similar to when ebay & paypal sold out and started caring about the bottom line more than their service. If craigslist ever sells out I’ll be completely disheartened.

January 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm
(2) Susan says:

I belong to several genealogy email lists — and the biggest complaint I hear is how unprofessional this very short notice is. Personally, I found the service less than ideal to use, but I know many people found it useful and profitable, even with the big bite ance$try took out of the fees. But to discontinue the service with so little notice and no real explanation is insulting to both the professional and clients who used the service.

January 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm
(3) Gary Thomas says:

I need the services of a professional, and tried to search for such a person on the webpage of the Association of Professional Genealogists (http://www.apgen.org/). The search page was totally useless – it didn’t even list the names of the counties correct for my state (West Virginia) on the county search bar. Very frustrating since there is not even a help address which would allow me to penetrate their useless search page. Any suggestions for another organization that might be able to help me?

January 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm
(4) ~Kimberly says:

Hi Gary,

I’m sorry for your frustrating experience. I agree that the APG Member Directory search is a bit confusing. The county list isn’t actually populated by state or even country – instead it’s an alphabetical list of all counties around the world where APG members reside. If there isn’t an APG member living in the county you are looking for, then the county name won’t be in the dropdown list. Generally, I either search by state (which brings up a list of all genealogists in the state along with their locations) or by geographic specialty (you don’t always have to live in an area to specialize in that area). I, for example, do some genealogy research in Western Pennsylvania where I live, but do much more in Eastern North Carolina – one of my areas of specialty.
As for your search for an APG member in West Virginia – do a search by state and you will find four APG members who live in W. Va., two of whom state that they are currently taking clients. Even if they don’t live in the county where your research interests lie, they may travel their for research on a regular basis. It never hurts to contact them to learn more about their services.

Best of luck with your search for a professional genealogist,


January 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm
(5) Dawn says:

I had just found this late last year, and had hoped to use it as a tool to grow my business. It is disappointing, and I cant see why they would do this considering it is successful.

January 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm
(6) DEBBIE DJ says:

SORRY, to here that you have lost your job. Praying that you are able to find another job quickly. Will be praying for you and your family.

January 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm
(7) Lisa says:

Thank you for your well wishes, I appreciate it. :)

Gary, the Expert Connect site is still open for bidding. Toucan find someone on the site before they shut down on Feb 3rd. On there you can sort through states and match up to a provider, they have until March 18th to finish open projects or you can take the work offline if you exchange info. I hope that helps.

January 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm
(8) Gary says:

Thank you so much for the suggestion, and I am truly sorry about you losing your job. But genealogy is growing fast, and I hope you can find a new position soon. We still need the experts!

January 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm
(9) Jessica McManus says:

As one of those professional genealogists who were basically “fired” by Ancestry.com this week, I want to let everyone know that there is another service out there that was in place BEFORE Expert Connect, and that Ancestry.com actually COPIED. A good majority of the ousted researchers have transferred over to this service.

Please check out Genealogy Freelancers and a place to find professional researchers for your projects.


February 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm
(10) Ronnie Peralta says:

A group professional genealogists who have been providing service to Expert Connect clients on Ancestry have now formed Ancestry Guild. The Ancestry Guild will provide the same services.
You can find us on facebook and twitter and soon on our own website.

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