Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
-T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton.
If you need a genealogist to do all or most of your family research,
OR a genealogist to support your research while you retain overall control
OR just a brief intervention to solve a problem:
See some sample fees below.
What?? The Roads Taken is a genealogical resource and research domain & professional service. Welcome to our website. We also publish in skeleton form, an online family tree called the NFFG Online Family Tree – you may have come to this home page by reference from one of those online family pages. More about the online family tree below. Our genealogical service is mainly intended for family researchers and genealogists who need to find, confirm, build, or verify their research. We help solve cold-case mysteries. Perhaps you have seen conflicting information online, or heard information from cousins which needs to be verified. Perhaps you have looked at family pages at Ancestry.com and noticed how many pages seem to copy each other yet do not provide good source records. Or maybe you don’t want to spend the large fees for annual renewal of Ancestry.com’s worldwide service, but need a genealogist who has ready access to that service, as well as ready access to many other online services. Have you stumbled over French Canadian resources and been stymied by the way names and spelling change when families move and names are translated into English? (We found that Peter Young of Grafton, Vermont was married as Pierre Lajeunesse, and that his father was Pierre Magneron dit Lajeunesse of St-Hyacinthe, Quebec). Have you been baffled by the lack of Irish source records? Are you trying to prove if someone is a Loyalist or Patriot or connected to some well-known body of important pioneers? Are you struggling with religious issues such as hard-to-find Baptist or Roman Catholic records? Are you trying to make sense of DNA test results? We can usually help with all of these questions, with our special private resources.
Are you aware that most records are not and likely never will be available online? We travel to the small hidden libraries and archives and cemeteries, and find the newspaper accounts, obituaries and property records, diaries and gravestones. Often, gravestones or old family sites are not available on GPS or Google maps: we can often find them anyway. For the areas which we will be visiting in the near future, please ask – expected now to be Ontario and the Montreal area - or send an email message. Our email address is nffgfamily(at)hotmail(dot)com (expressed this way to deter harvesters of junkmail providers).
We have the resources mentioned above. We have a hard paper library which includes multi-page genealogies from the time before the internet, as well as a vast repertory of online resources – hidden, private, fee-based, and others. We also have access to a wide range of NFFG Members and Contributors. For a partial list of these persons and resources, please click here. NFFG stands for “The Network of Founding Family Genealogies”. It is possible to acquire a membership in NFFG, with a certificate and the right to certain privileges here. Please ask about this.
WHO?? The lead genealogist and the Project Coordinator of NFFG is Richard Ripley, MA.
Richard is a member of APG and was a registered Expert with Expert Connect, offered for a few years by Ancestry.com, although that service was discontinued by Ancestry for budget/profit reasons. While an Expert with that service, Richard completed over 80 successful projects. Working with clients and partners over 20 years, Richard has researched over 1,000 projects for clients.
Richard says… “I will respond personally to all email inquiries.” The email address is nffgfamily (at) hotmail (dot) com.
Our Online Family Tree is a large file of over 60,000 individuals and 25,000 families which we have placed online as a courtesy to the clients and partners for whom we have undertaken research projects. There, the clients may see a quick update of our research without paying the fees for an Ancestry family page. We alone pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the internet posting of this online family tree, and the costs are covered partly by our professional fees. In our online tree, only some names, dates, and family events are shown there. Any records and sources are kept private to protect the private family histories of our clients and partners. Note that some of the records there are based on solid proofs and records, but some pages are simple worksheets of possibilities and are known to contain errors. For this reason, you should not copy any of our online pages or infer any accuracy of the details on those pages. It has happened that Googlers have taken our details and reposted them on other sites, and so the errors have become viral. If you are connected to anyone whom you see at our Online pages, and need more information, OR would like to correct an error your find, please send an email message with details. If you would like to add new families OR new branches of families, that is welcome, but remember that there will be a certain amount of professional time required to process your new persons & verify them before we post them in our online tree, and fees might apply.
Note that while we are members of Linked In and Facebook, we are not active in those domains – although some references are found on our Linked In page. We do not use Twitter. We do not engage in the exchange or broadcasting of family research. We are simply searchers and providers of private family treasures. If you wish to broadcast and share our findings on your behalf after we complete your project, that is up to you.
To enter our NFFG Online Family Tree and browse around, please click here. When you reach the first index page, click on ‘Surnames’, and go to the person you are interested in.
What do we charge for professional genealogical services? (1) You may ask a simple question at any time – whether we have any records or any sound reasoning for a family or individual you find at our Online Family Tree, or for any family which you are researching. No charge. (2) You may ask for a quick investigation of any family question or lineage which you wish, perhaps to see whether we can help further, for which we provide two hours of research and provide a brief report - $100.00 fee. (3) For a typical two or three generation research with report, which provides about 6 hours of professional investigation and a more details report, with all sources & records and analysis - $500.00 fee which could be more only by agreement in advance. Read a report for a $750.00 project fee by clicking here. (4) If we need to go in the field and travel to remote or hidden archives or locations – please ask first for an estimate– there are travel and research fees involved.
Special Extra Value Services. There are special occasions, like family reunions; and there are special people, like parents or grandparents or children. For such special reasons, you may need a special presentation, such as a book, or at least a quality printout in booklet form. How sad it is when I find a vital document too late for my initial time-restricted search: when the client has told me that only so many hours are provided in the research funding. I stop before all of the evidence is in, or before one of my contacts returns my request for information. Of course, I do provide the new document anyway – but sometimes it is after the special presentation has been completed and distributed by the client. The special presentation is incomplete or has errors. In such a case, where a client needs the best possible result, I recommend an open-ended funding plan, perhaps based on a certain funding for a certain number of hours per month, with allowances for unexpected divergences. The Sculley family book here shows the possible outcome.
Special Family Surname studies. While you are here, you may be interested in seeing some special articles or studies of some surnames. For example, click here to see an article which traces the Origins of the Ripley Surname. How did Ripley Castle in Yorkshire come to belong to the Ingleby family for hundreds of year, instead of the Ripley family? The answer is found in this article. Surnames were not used until many years after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Prior to that time, one had a single name, plus a descriptor which often referred to a location or to his grandfather. Also have a look at the Phillips family origins by clicking here. Or, thanks to documents from the Picton Castle Trust, have a look at a history of Picton Castle, ancient home of the Phillips family in Wales; click here.
DNA Test Results? When requested, I attempt to help clients with their DNA test results. These are almost always challenging for clients. The results depend on what other living person has taken exactly the same test. We consider Y-DNA results the most promising, though we also consider Mitochondrial DNA and Autosomal DNA. I have found very few cases where DNA tests for genealogical lineage purposes are completely satisfactory. Read a short article I wrote on the subject a few years ago by clicking here.
Last revised: January 27, 2015