Those genealogy shows have budgets that we don’t, access to experts that many people don’t, and sometimes easier access to records than we have. The shows may be fun to watch and help to provide us with motivation, but they are not always realistic.
You’ll have to work within your budget. This can be done by finding other ways to access information, networking with other relatives to share expenses, asking other researchers for suggestions (not necessarily indepth free help).
You may not have access to “experts.” It’s possible that you won’t have access to “big name” experts, but there are groups on Facebook, genealogical societies, and other locations where you can possibly interact with individuals who are “in the know.” They may not be “big names,” but they may be just (if not more) knowledgeable. A local who “knows their stuff” is sometimes more valuable and helpful than a “big name.”
You may not have immediate access to records. You may still have access, just not as quickly, not as publicly, and not with someone holding the book and opening it to the page you need. It may take longer to access the records, but it should still be possible. Reach out to others who may be familiar with the facility (Facebook groups for the area of interest are good places to start with this, but there are other approaches), for general suggestions.
How can you increase your chance of success when you don’t have a “rock star” budget?
- Learn as much about the area as you can.
- Learn as much about the records in the record as you can (at all jurisdictional levels).
- Network with other relatives if possible.
- Network with others familiar with the geographic area and records.
- Review your compiled materials, check your assumptions, write up your research.
- Keep an open mind.