Genlighten Crowdsources Genealogy

May 10, 2010

5:12 pm

A few years ago my mother was really into genealogy – she spent a good amount of time researching her family back to France, but at a certain point, it just became too difficult from afar. What she needed was a service like Genlighten where she may have found a local researcher in that small French town to find the documents she needed.

Genlighten is a marketplace connecting genealogists who are often searching for specific source documentation with local researchers around the world who can find and retrieve them. Source documents are such things as marriage licenses, probate records, birth or death certificates, cemetery transcriptions, etc.

In their own words:

Genlighten is a little like Etsy (or Foodzie) for genealogy research. We connect genealogists looking for historical documents with local researchers who can retrieve those documents and digitize them. But what we really offer our customers is something called the genealogy “happy dance”. It’s a combination of the joy of being reunited with lost relatives and the satisfaction of assembling a massive puzzle where the resulting picture is of one’s own identity.

It’s free to register for the site, where you can browse Genlighten providers, request “lookups”, ask the providers questions about their lookup offerings, offer lookups to other members, post custom lookup requests, pay for documents and submit ratings and feedback.

If you happen to be a skilled family history researcher with access to nearby genealogical records and would like to earn some income for it, consider signing up to be one of Genlighten’s providers. Lookup providers set their own fees (typically $10-$20) based on the types of records they can search, their level of expertise, and the expenses they incur. Genlighten adds a handling charge of 10% to cover the cost of secure electronic payment processing. They also receive a commission on each lookup upon completion.

Genlighten will be on hand demoing their stuff as a showcased startup at TECH cocktail Chicago 13 on Thursday, May 13th, 2010 at John Barleycorn in Wrigleyville.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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