As an attorney for 27 years who regularly conducts research and writes and gather's evidence for reports I would like to commend We Go Way Back for the amazing work done by its founder Meryl Schumacker; after a decades long search for my great grand father's final resting place the search is over.

Thank You.

- J David Nick in Palm Springs, CA


Genealogy Research

What is it?

Professional research into the ancestor, family, or genealogical problem of your choosing. Research is available in hourly installments, with most projects beginning at 15 hours. Final products take the form of a research report.

Final product.

Research projects are delivered in a report format. Research reports are comprehensive accounts of findings and analysis, including images of relevant documents, maps, or photographs.


Projects begin with a retainer and are billed in installments at $100/hour.

On average, most research installments run between 15 and 30 hours.

To anyone needing historical or genealogical research conducted in the New York City area, I wholeheartedly recommend Meryl Schumacker!

I myself have 37 years of research experience; but even "experts" need assistance now and then. In my case, I needed someone in Manhattan to examine documents in person that were unavailable online. I searched for someone with both experience and credibility and selected Meryl from a long list of contenders. As expected, her assistance proved superior and she was able to provide me with exactly what I needed in a most professional and efficient manner.

Thank you, Meryl. Much appreciated!

- Michael Tormey


Family History Books

What is it?

Go beyond names and dates with a narrative genealogy, featuring the biographies of your ancestors alongside their lineages. Discover the social and historical context that shaped their lives, woven together in chapter form. Packages may incorporate your DNA test results, giving context to your DNA “pie chart.”

Packages begin with four ancestors. An average timeline is 3-12 months, depending on project scope.

Final product.

A shareable PDF of your ancestors’ life stories, written in chapter form. For an additional fee, narratives may be printed and bound with a hardcover or softcover (allow additional lead time).


Contact for a quote on your genealogy project.

Add-ons, including DNA testing and book printing, are available.

I certainly would endorse you for helping people find out about their family backgrounds!

I really appreciate your help-you were very professional, timely and answered all of my questions thoroughly. If I need further information in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to contact you again.

- Barbara


Record Retrievals

What are they?

Photography and copying services for records at repositories throughout the New York City metropolitan area. This service is ideal for distance researchers who know exactly what record they're looking for, such as vital record copies from the New York City Municipal Archives. Cemetery photography also available upon request.

Looking for a search of records, and then retrieval? Check out Genealogy Research.

Final product.

Record copies are available in digital or print formats:

  • Digital delivery: High-resolution images, complete source citations, and fast turnaround.

  • Printed and mailed: The best choice for certified records, copies are insured and mailed overnight.


Below is a selected list of repositories. Additional repositories available upon request:

  • New York City Municipal Archives

  • National Archives at New York City

  • Courthouses and court archives in New York City's five boroughs, from Surrogate's Courts to the Bronx County Courthouse

  • City Register Offices for Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx

  • Richmond County Clerk's Office (Staten Island land records)

  • New-York Historical Society

  • New York Public Library

  • Center for Jewish History, including the YIVO Archives

  • Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library

  • Morgan Library & Museum

  • Brooklyn Public Library

  • Brooklyn Historical Society

  • Queens Public Library

  • Local cemeteries, such as Green-Wood Cemetery and the New York City Marble Cemetery

  • One-day turnaround of New York and New Jersey vital records for dual citizenship applications (rush fees apply)


Both digital and mailed record retrievals are offered at a discounted hourly rate. Additional expenses may apply, such as record fees, transportation costs, postage, and the like.

I highly recommend Meryl for discovering whatever genealogy records you may need in New York City or even, in my case, New Jersey.

I had almost given up finding certain family records for a foreign citizenship application.

As with most families, despite best intentions, dates, names and places are often not recalled correctly leading to formidable obstacles when researching our past. That was certainly the case with me. Piecing together what I did know with an eye on what I really needed for my application, Meryl keenly steered a patient yet determined path through the government archives of New York City and New Jersey to retrieve all the required records. In one instance, she uncovered a distant marriage certificate that had eluded other relatives for years. Beyond its use by me, it was satisfying for my relatives to finally have it in hand.

Thanks again Meryl for the good work.

- Tom S. in DC



New York Genealogy - Jewish Genealogy - Genetic Genealogy


New York Genealogy

My path to genealogy began with my New York ancestors. Living and working in the city, I have a deep familiarity with offline collections that help me break through clients’ brick walls.

Geographic specialties

  • New York City’s five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island)

  • Westchester County, New York

  • Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County)

  • Hudson Valley, upstate New York, and New Jersey projects on a case-by-case basis

The majority of We Go Way Back LLC’s clients have New York roots between the 17th century and the 20th century.

Past projects

  • Identified the parents and siblings of a “brick wall” ancestor in early 19th century New York City

  • Traced a client’s New York City ancestry back to a Revolutionary War patriot on Long Island

  • Confirmed an Irish immigrant ancestor’s maiden name

  • Narrative genealogy (biographies) of three generations of New Yorkers, from the 18th century to the 20th century

Genetic Genealogy

I regularly incorporate DNA evidence into my genealogical research. In 2019, I published a case study in the peer-reviewed New York Genealogical and Biographical Record that used a combination of traditional records and DNA evidence to identify clients’ fourth-great grandparents.

Research specialties

  • Adoption and unknown parentage cases

  • 18th- and 19th-century genealogical problems

  • Admixture results, also known as “ethnicity results” or “pie charts” showing geographic areas or populations of origin

Past projects

  • Identified living clients’ parents using a combination of DNA and traditional records

  • Connected a 1% South Asian admixture result to a female ancestor in 18th-century Bengal, India

  • Using a client’s DNA results, traced hidden Jewish ancestry to 19th-century Hungary

Jewish Genealogy

As a Jewish person myself, I grew up believing that there was nothing to find about my Jewish ancestors. (I even wrote a whole blog post about it.) Today, I help clients learn about their Jewish ancestry, both recent and distant.

Research specialties

  • Locating Jewish immigrant families’ towns of origin across Europe

  • Identifying Jewish families’ original surnames, Yiddish names, and Hebrew names prior to assimilation

  • Reconstructing the identities of Jewish ancestors who converted or otherwise hid their religious or family histories

  • German language

Past projects

  • Narrative genealogy (biographies) of a Jewish family, with the social and historical context surrounding their emigration from Europe and beginnings in America

  • Identified a client’s Jewish ancestor who had hidden his birth name, parents, and origins from his children

  • Traced ancestry to a family of 15th-century Sephardic rabbis