Kinship, Beneficiary & Probate Research Services for Legal Professionals

AncestryProGenealogists is the professional research division of We provide expert genealogical research to reconstruct and document kinship and locate missing or unknown beneficiaries or heirs for probate or other related legal matters

What is kinship research service?

We provide expert genealogical research to reconstruct family trees where next of kin are unknown.

Our services include:

  • Ancestral and descendant people-finding to document classes of individuals for legal matters
  • Production of Affidavits of Due Diligence and family tree charts suitable for filing in court
  • 150+ professional researchers worldwide whose findings are impartial and unbiased

Ancestry ProGenealogists Research Expertise

As the research services division of Ancestry®, we have satisfied the objectives of thousands of clients, including many law firms, attorneys, executors, court-appointed administrators, and fiduciary agents.

We have thousands of combined years of expertise in a wide variety of geographic or ethnic research specialties, including many certified and accredited genealogists on staff.

We are disinterested third parties who have no stake in the outcome of our research. We charge reasonable hourly fees and do not take cases on a contingency basis.

We reconstruct family trees and can verify or complete the research begun by others, especially for a difficult branch in the line of succession.

Heir Research Interest Form

Submit Your Legal Project Details and We Will Contact You with a Quote.

If you would like to speak with an associate right away, please call 1-800-596-3230 and ask to speak with a member of the Heir Research Team.

AncestryProgenealogists Research Expertise


Client receives court-

ready packet with






A dedicated

Research Manager



and regular






research to build

family tree and

locate next-of-kin




information, determine

the gaps, plan which

documents to obtain

Heir Research Process

Research Manager coordinates research and regular project updates


Review client provided information, determine the gaps, plan which documents to obtain


Conduct thorough research to build family tree and locate next-of-kin


Client receives court-ready packet with report/affidavit, charts,and document exhibits

AncestryProgenealogists Research Deliverables

We offer our clients a variety of deliverables to satisfy the specific needs of the legal matter at hand. These work products range from formal court-ready deliverables to informal informational reports.

  • Sworn Affidavit – A concise report containing the research findings for the individuals and relationships in the families we research, progressing from the closest class of next-of-kin to more distant classes. If no individuals are found who meet the relationship criteria defined in the objective, the report summarizes the diligent searches conducted that produced no evidence for living next-of-kin. A summary report can be provided if a notarized affidavit is not required.
  • Supporting Record Exhibits – Numbered exhibits of historical or public records images, including source citations, that are cross-referenced in the affidavit or summary report narrative. Each exhibit provides documentary evidence to support our conclusions, and an index list of all exhibits is provided. Original copies of certified records can be procured if requested.
  • Family Charts – Charts depicting the paternal and/or maternal relationships among the decedent’s family, clearly identifying the next-of-kin. Charts are number-keyed to the affidavit exhibits for easy cross-reference.
  • Private/Unsearchable Ancestry® Online Family Tree – Optional means to view large families or complex family relationships (in addition to or in lieu of printable family charts).
  • Research Journal – A document containing a log of the searches conducted, research findings, source citations to records viewed, and any necessary analysis commentary, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the research conducted. The research journal establishes that a diligent search was conducted in cases where no living individuals meet the relationship class defined in the research objective.
  • People-Finding Reports – An informational listing of contact information for missing beneficiaries or next-of-kin known to an estate.
View Sample

Our Heir Research Leads

Deena Darst

Deena Darst is passionate about connecting the past, present and future generations by uncovering those relatives who were previously lost to history. She specializes in forensic genealogy, locating living persons through both DNA analysis and traditional genealogical...

Alicia Palmer

Alicia Palmer has worked in the genealogy industry for her entire professional career, namely at FamilySearch and within the heir research industry. Combining her love for genealogy and the legal field, she has worked on hundreds of probate cases that have spanned...

Michael L. Strauss

Michael L. Strauss, AG has worked as a forensic investigator for thirty years. He is a native of Pennsylvania, and a resident of Utah, in addition to being a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Michael is a court qualified expert witness in New York, New Jersey,...

Kaitlin Vaughan

With a bachelor’s degree in Photography and Film and a master’s degree in Anthropology, Kaitlin Vaughan arrived at genealogy through her interests in historical storytelling across all media. Now specializing in forensic genealogy, she relishes the opportunity to...

Marie Thatcher

Marie comes to ProGenealogists from the heir research field, having worked on more than 2000 intestate estate settlements over 17 years, focusing largely on New York estates with their particularly rigorous research and documentation requirements. She loves the...

Our researchers perform work within many different geographic or ethnic specialty areas. We regularly conduct research in international locations or foreign-language records in places including Italy, Ireland, England, Scandinavia, Germany, Eastern Europe, Australia, and South America, to name a few. View an expanded list of our researchers experienced in locating next-of-kin in these and other areas.

Cari Taplin

Cari A. Taplin has been a genealogist since 2000 when she was intrigued by the family story that her family was related to Roy Rogers, …which they are not. After completely disappointing her family, Cari went on to earn her Certified Genealogist credential from the...

Claire Egginton

Claire was born and raised in Ireland and is based in our Dublin, Ireland office. She began researching her own family tree at an early age after being inspired by her grandfather who knew, not only his family history but that of neighbors and friends in their local...

Debra Carter

Debra Carter has long held a passion for genealogy, and developed her research skills and professional genealogy business acumen while living around the world, including stops in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway, Canada, and Indonesia. During...

Eva Goodwin

Eva Goodwin grew up in Upstate New York and is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, but her undergraduate degrees in philosophy and German could not have predicted her eventual career path. She has had a life-long fascination with history and genealogy...

Gary Horlacher

Gary has been doing genealogy since 1979. He was accredited in Danish (1990), Swedish (1990), German (1991), and Norwegian (1998) research and ran his own genealogy business, "German, Scandinavian, and Dutch Family Research" from 1989-1997. From 1997-2001 he worked as...

George Ott

George has worked as a professional genealogist for more than 40 years. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Colorado State University in 1974, he moved to Salt Lake City and worked for Genealogical Services Inc. until 1980. In 1979, he was a member...

Gordon L. Remington

Gordon L Remington, FUGA, FASG, is a native of Western New York and has over 40 years experience as a professional genealogist.

Janette Silverman

Janette began her genealogical journey more than 35 years ago as a hobby with her father. What started as a hobby quickly became more as she immersed herself in Jewish history, both as a student and a teacher. Janette served as a Board member of the...

Kaitlin Vaughan

With a bachelor’s degree in Photography and Film and a master’s degree in Anthropology, Kaitlin Vaughan arrived at genealogy through her interests in historical storytelling across all media. Now specializing in forensic genealogy, she relishes the opportunity to re...

Kelly Bodami

Kelly Barbano-Bodami is a professional Italian genealogist, specializing in the Italian diaspora, Sicilian Research, and Italian Dual Citizenship. Her United States expertise is in New York research and records, but she is well-versed in researching and obtaining...

Kory L. Meyerink

Kory began his career in genealogy as a record searcher while attending Brigham Young University, and he has been involved in nearly all aspects of the field for 40 years. He served on the staff of the Family History Library as a reference consultant and...

Marie Thatcher

Marie comes to ProGenealogists from the heir research field, having worked on more than 2000 intestate estate settlements over 17 years, focusing largely on New York estates with their particularly rigorous research and documentation requirements. She loves the...

Michael Miller

Michael has a master's degree in history from California State University Long Beach and a bachelor's degree in classics. He comes from a long line of genealogists, and he has done research for nearly two decades.


Noah Lapidus

Noah was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and earned his B.A. in international affairs from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. During his college years, Noah worked intermittently at the Library of Congress and spent a semester at Vilnius...

Paul A. Schmidt

Paul became interested in genealogy when he started asking questions of relatives and made a trip to the New York Public Library to see what he could find. In one afternoon, he discovered Mayflower ancestry, and he has been hooked for the 40 years...

Quentin Burrows

Quentin is an Accredited Genealogist ® specializing in Irish research. Quentin is a Chicago native, and his mother was born and raised in Ireland. He has made frequent trips to Europe and maintains dual Irish-American citizenship. Quentin began researching...

Ursula Krause

Ursula is a native German, working for AncestryProGenealogists remotely from Germany since August 2017 as an expert on German genealogy. Besides that, she also is a spokesperson for Ancestry® in Germany and Sweden and represents Ancestry® as a genealogy expert on...

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AncestryProGenealogists® is not a law firm or licensed private investigation firm, and we do not provice legal advice in any form.

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