Services & Fees

Free Service:  On the 15th of every month (or the following Monday if the 15th is on a weekend), CPGen makes pilgrimage to the Stephenson County, Illinois Courthouse and Clerk & Recorder’s offices.  While your search will be conducted at no charge, any fee assessed by the County for obtaining/copying documents and postage costs to mail documents will need to be pre-paid.

On Tuesdays, CPGen is at the Frances Woodhouse History Room, Freeport Public Library, Freeport, Illinois. Vital records at the History Room are provided at a reduced cost ($2 per record) by the Stephenson County Genealogical Society.  CPGen, as a member of SCGS,  conducts limited searches free of charge save for the fee for vital records as assessed by the Genealogical Society.

If you would like CPGen to conduct a free records search for you, please contact us by email ( for more information.

Records search in counties other than Stephenson County, Illinois and other services

CPGen services are typically based on an hourly rate of $40 per hour, plus associated document costs.  CPGen contracts with each client on a per-project basis.  For extensive projects, such as a full family tree or house-history project, fees are negotiated and contracted prior to beginning research.  Contracts typically include a do-not-exceed amount.  As costs near the set limit, it is the client’s decision whether or not to move forward.

For longer projects, CPGen provides regular updates throughout the research process so the client is kept aware of our progress.  At the conclusion of research or at the end of the contract term, CPGen provides a written report and all documents acquired during the research period to the client.

All contracts require a deposit.  CPGen requires 30 percent of total contract to be paid prior to the research effort, with a minimum deposit dollar amount determined at time of contract.  When the deposit is exhausted in research, the client will be billed for the remainder of the contract; for larger projects, payments will be made at 30-30-40 percent of total costs, with the first 30 percent as the project deposit.

Should a project be completed after the initial deposit is expended but prior to reaching the next payment made by the client, all unused payment is returned to the client.

~~CPGen now accepts electronic payment.~~

For more information on CPGen’s geographic area, please read our About page. 

Negative searches

It is quite possible that records may not exist for a contracted project.  Sadly, this is far too common in genealogy.  Every client needs to understand that a negative search means that the genealogist has made an exhaustive effort to locate a document but was unable to find anything.  In many cases, other documentation might be located that will help address the problem, but it may not be direct evidence of what the client wants answered.  As this is an unfortunate part of genealogical research, clients need to recognize that the genealogist has done as asked by the client and will bill for hours spent in the effort, even if nothing results from it.

The Client’s Role

Every genealogist begins their research with the most important resource: You!

CPGen begins every new project by working directly with the client.  We ensure we understand specifically what you are looking for as well as what you‘ve already accomplished through your efforts.  Listening to our clients is the most important service we provide.

CPGen now invoices through PayPal‘s business service.
There is no additional fee for paying electronically.