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The Real Cost of Tracing Your Heritage

By Judith Sjo-Gaber - 2012-03-28T16:12:32Z

Photograph by Karen Kasmauski/Science Faction/Corbis

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Hire a Professional Genealogist

Kevin Lease of Seattle wanted to know more about his grandfather, who was killed during WWII. In 2009, unable to locate his grandfather's birth certificate, he hired ProGenealogists, now part of They went to the Catholic Church in Collinsville, Illinois, where his grandparents lived and found something close -- his baptismal records. "I wanted to be confident that my information was solid," says Lease, who was trying to meet Italy's documentation requirements for his application to become an Italian citizen. The documents turned out to be solid enough and Italy later awarded him citizenship.

$1,900: Minimum retainer fee for 20 hours. Additional blocks of hours can be purchased at an average rate of $95 per hour --

Running Tally: $2,050