note-taking and research trips

I’m lucky enough to live in the Boston metro area, which is rich with universities, libraries, museums, and all sorts of other resources. Got a research puzzle that needs an in-person visit? I may be able to do that research for you.

Research and note-taking services:

This service is highly individual, so please fill out the form below to get started. Please include any particular deadlines (especially if it’s something like a limited-time exhibit) as well as a summary of what you’re hoping for.

I can:

  • Transcribe materials (up to an amount I can transcribe in a single visit)
  • Take cellphone photographs of items (if allowed by the institution) which allows you access to a larger amount of text.
  • Buy exhibit books and other locally produced materials and mail them to you.
  • Consult with library or archives staff on your behalf.

I have experience working with archival materials, and my professional experience and current day job make it easy for me to let libraries and archives know that I have that experience.

I am not a genealogist and do not do family history work, but can direct you to some resources for local genealogy researchers who could do this research on your behalf.

Possible locations

Along with other Boston area options for researchers, I have access to the Boston Athenaeum collection, a subscription library with an incredibly rich collection related to New England history.

The Harvard Libraries are extremely difficult to get access to if you don’t have a direct Harvard connection (I don’t). There are some options, if material is truly not available at other institutions, but it will take time to provide documentation and request access.

Visits outside the Boston metro area (which includes Salem) may be possible, but will depend on scheduling, distance, and other logistics.


  • Please read through the rest of this page so you understand the practical details and what you’re getting.
  • When you’re ready to ask a question, fill out the form at the bottom of this page with more about your project.
  • I expect it will take some back and forth, clarifying questions, and other details. These projects are more individual, so I want to figure out what works for you (and for me.)
  • Once we agree on a project, I send you an agreement for the work. It includes what you can expect as a report, my anticipated timeline, and the charges for the initial work. (A sample agreement can be accessed from the policies page if you want to see how things work.)
  • If the agreement works for you, you sign it, return it, and pay me for the initial work we agree on. This is where the timer starts.
  • I do the work, and share it with you.
  • I deliver any reports, resource materials, or other documents, and (if relevant) we find a time for any synchronous conversations.


My base fee is $50 (US) per hour. My usual agreement for this kind of project is for an hour minimum, with additional time being billed to the quarter hour. Discounts are available for projects over five hours.

In addition to my research fee, you will be expected to cover travel and expenses (such as entry fees or parking). Travel time is $20 per hour, billed to the nearest quarter hour. For sites in Boston and Cambridge, I expect to take public transit, other locations I am likely to drive.

Additional information about my rates and payment is available, including some additional options if your finances are limited.

You should know:

My availability is dependent on a number of factors. I have a traditional day-job schedule and other things on my calendar. Once I know your specifics, I’ll check out the possible timing and let you know what the options are. Once we arrange on a schedule and you make your payment, I will do my best to keep to the scheduled agreement.

For sites only available during business hours, I may be able to arrange a vacation day from work, but this is dependent on time of year, my workload there, and a number of other factors.

Boston gets weather. It’s possible that weather may delay or require cancellation of planned visits. If a delay means I can’t complete the research, I’ll refund the fee involved. This is true of hot weather (if it requires public transit and is over 90 degrees F) as well as winter storms.

Want to discuss a project?

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Last updated July 12, 2017

Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom : Jenett Silver :

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