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.
- J David Nick in Palm Springs, CA
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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