Posts Tagged ‘How Genlighten Works’

How to Create a Genlighten Research Report

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

So you’ve finished a research project for your first Genlighten client. Congratulations! It’s time to upload your report so you can get paid.

Upload ReportLog into the site and click on the “Provide” tab. You’ll see a list of pending requests. Click on the red title for the request you’re ready to complete. Scroll down the page and you’ll see a button on the left that says “Upload Report.” Click it to go to the report page. (If you don’t see the button, check to make sure you’ve accepted the research request.)

A Genlighten report has three required parts but they don’t have to be completed in one sitting. You are welcome to upload images to the report page for safe-keeping while you’re working on a project and you can edit the report as many times as you’d like as long as you remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Save” every time you do. Your client won’t have access to the report page until you select “found” or “not found.”

Part 1: Tag the results “Found” or “Not Found”
Found/Note Found

Select “Document Found” or “Document Not Found” by clicking the radio button to the left. You can toggle back and forth between the two options but you can’t deselect both once you’ve chosen one.


Once you’ve selected “found” or “not found” your client can view your report and any documents that you’ve uploaded. In many cases, it’s best to leave this step for the very end.

Part 2: Compose Report to Client
Report Box

Your report format will depend on the level of service you choose to provide. Many providers use this box to share an informal summary of the research process and results. If you choose this approach, please make sure to tell your client where you found the document(s) you are uploading and to provide enough information that another person could follow in your footsteps and retrieve the same record.

If you choose to share a more formal report, you can enter it in this box or you can upload it in another format. PDFs work well. So do Word documents. If you choose to upload your report in a file instead of using the report box, just add a note that says something like “Please see the report I’ve uploaded.” You have to type something in the box.


If you have Internet access at the repository you visit, you can use the report box to take notes. Just remember to “Save” each time you leave the page.

It’s sometimes helpful to your client if you include site-related guidance at the end of your report. For example, sometimes clients try to print images from a browser and this usually results in the pages being cut off no matter what they do. Adding a link to our “How To Print Your Lookup Document Images on Genlighten” can help clients avoid frustration. You are also welcome to add a note that reminds clients to contact if they have any trouble using the site—downloading images, printing images, etc.

Feel free to format your report with HTML. You can use code for things like bold and italic and also to add paragraphs.

Part 3: Upload Scanned Document(s)
Upload Images
Please upload digital images of the records that you retrieved for your client. You can upload almost any image format – JPG, GIF, TIF, BMP, PDF – and you can also upload documents in Word format. If you upload jpgs or gifs, the site will create thumbnails to appear on the report page. If you upload a pdfs or a Word document, your client will just see a red link.

You can upload images one at a time or you can upload them as a batch. If you upload them as a batch, they will be in order from the bottom of the page to the top. In other words, the first image that your client sees will be the last one you uploaded.

What if your research didn’t generate any images? Then you’ll have to be creative because you won’t be able to charge your client until you upload something. You could upload a photo of the repository you visited or provide a copy of the report as a PDF or Word document. You could also provide images of an index or page searched to document a negative result.


Please do your best to provide quality images. Create images with high enough resolution that the record can be easily read on a computer screen and/or printed. If it’s a document, a 200 dpi jpg is probably fine. If it’s a photo, you might want to include a higher resolution image.

Consider making small tweaks to the images with a program like Picasa. Quickly rotating and/or cropping images can make a big difference in your presentation.

If you have the ability to create multiple file formats, e.g., jpgs or pdfs, consider offering a choice to your clients.

Finishing the Research Request

Once you’ve completed and saved the three-part report, a “Charge Client” button will appear on the request page. When you’re ready, click it. Your client will receive email notification that the request is complete and your account will be credited with your fee. Even though the request is complete, you can still edit the report if you find you need to made additions or corrections.

If you get an error message when you click the “Charge Client” button, please delete the images you uploaded (so your client can’t see them) and email immediately. Usually, it’s just a matter of the payment authorization having expired (you have about four weeks to complete a request before that happens)–something that can be easily fixed with your client’s help.

If you have questions about how to create a report, just send a quick email to I’m always happy to help.

The Genlighten Research Process: Provider View

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Genlighten Report PageIf you’re thinking about offering research services on Genlighten for the first time, you’re probably wondering how the Genlighten website works. In this blog post, I’ll walk you though it from the provider side with a quick summary of the steps involved.

Create a Research Offering
You can find a detailed description of how to post research offerings in a previous blog post titled Five Steps to a Successful Lookup Offering

Watch for Email
When a client requests your services, an email with the subject “Genlighten: New lookup request from” will arrive in your inbox. Please make sure the email address you have listed on your Genlighten account is current and typed correctly so those messages are delivered to you.

Accept or Decline
Review the information the client has provided, message back and forth, if necessary, and accept or decline the request. I usually send a quick note when I accept to let the client know what the likely turnaround time will be.

Do the Research
If a request involves multiple steps, I often upload documents to the report page for safe keeping and keep my notes in the report box. Clients aren’t able to view the report page if you haven’t selected “found” or “not found.” (Do that as a last step.)

Create the Report
Return to the request page and create a three-part report. Upload image(s), type in your report text, and select “found” or “not found.” You can use HTML to format your report, if you’d like.

Charge the Client
Once you’ve saved the report with all three parts completed you’ll be returned to the request page and a “charge client” button will be visible. Edit the report, if needed. When you’re ready, click the “charge client” button to finish the request.

Let the Site Notify Your Client
When you click the “charge client” button an email is automatically generated to let your client know that the research is finished. The email contains a link back to the request page so that he or she can read your report and view/save the images you’ve uploaded. You can continue to message back and forth on the request page and you can also edit the report, if needed.

Get Paid
Your account will be credited with your fee minus our commission when you click the “charge client” button. Funds for new providers are held in escrow for seven days but that period can be shortened or eliminated for providers who have stellar feedback. (If you’re a five-star provider, feel free to contact us about that.) Available account balances can be transferred to your PayPal account by clicking the “Payout” button.

Artist at Work: Kevin Menzie creates our “How Genlighten Works” illustration

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I came across this video on Kevin Menzie‘s blog today. Kevin runs Slice of Lime, a design, web development and strategy firm in Boulder, Colorado. SoL’s done a huge portion of the front-end design work for Genlighten. As you may recall from previous posts, they created our logo, this blog, and the basic design palette of Genlighten itself. (I’ll take credit/blame for the navigation, architecture, and feature set.)

The video shows part of the design process for one panel of the “How Genlighten Works” illustration on our homepage. It’s accompanied by some very pleasant background music which Kevin also composed. Enjoy!

Creating a monitor icon from Kevin Menzie on Vimeo.

Preview: Homepage Update Coming Soon

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009


The folks at Slice of Lime have been working with us for a while now to develop a “How it Works” illustration for the Genlighten homepage. This is what they’ve created. We really like it. Look for it to be added to the site soon.

Just by way of comparison, here’s an earlier draft that we ultimately decided not to go with. What’s your opinion? Did we make the right choice? Why or why not?


How Genlighten Works

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Diane Haddad was kind enough to mention Genlighten on her Genealogy Insider blog today. For those of you who are visiting this blog as a result of Diane’s post, I thought I’d offer a brief overview of “How Genlighten Works”.

First and foremost, we’re an online marketplace for genealogy document research and retrieval services — or genealogy lookups for short.

If you’re looking for specific genealogy documents — death certificates, marriage licenses, obituaries, probate records, etc. — and they’re not already available online, you can use Genlighten to connect with a local researcher who may have access to the documents you want. You can get help from our local researchers — we call them lookup providers — in two different ways.

First, you can search our lookup listings geographically by county. For example, if you need a record for Chicago or elsewhere in Cook County Illinois,  you simply select that locality on our lookup search page. You’ll see a list of our providers and the lookups they offer, their fees, and client ratings they’ve received. If you see a lookup you’re interested in, you’ll click through to get more details, enter the data the provider needs to perform the lookup, and add the lookup to your shopping cart. The provider will then retrieve the document and upload a digital image to the site for you to view and download.

Second, if we don’t currently offer the lookup you’re after, you can submit a custom lookup request. Here you’ll define a document retrieval task you’d like performed, set a target price and a specify a deadline. Our providers will be alerted to your request and submit quotes. You can then choose from among them the one that best meets your needs. Providers can’t see each others’ quotes, so there’s less chance of a “race to the bottom”.

Our site is still not fully operational yet, and we won’t be open to a wide audience for another month or two. For now, you can register to be invited to our private beta. We’ll send you an invite code when the site is ready for you to try out. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to click on the “Contact” link above for ways you can get in touch with us. If you’re interested in becoming one of our lookup providers, you’re welcome to download a copy of our free Provider “How To” Guide. Thanks!