Answering Machine
6/1/2003
Google service gets you genealogy answers—for a price.
If mailing lists and message boards haven't produced answers to some of your genealogy questions, maybe you need to sweeten the pot. Google, the popular Internet search engine, recently introduced a service that gives researchers financial incentive to solve those stumpers for you.

Google Answers <answers.google.com> lets you post a question and specify the amount you're willing to pay for an answer — anything from $2 to $200, depending on its difficulty. You can ask for research advice or information on a specific family. You can even post your problem anonymously. If your query is answered, the researcher gets 75 percent of the amount; Google receives 25 percent. It costs 50 cents to post a question, whether or not you get a response.

Questions remain online for only one month — a disadvantage for genealogists who want researchers to be able to find them easily and to contact them at any time. Still, many genealogy-related questions on Google Answers do get good answers, so you just might give it a try. Maybe a modest cash reward will snag an answer to your most vexing genealogy conundrum.