Searching for who we are by discovering who came before us.


Curious to know your family’s roots? Did you or someone else in your family start to trace your tree and then stopped due to a lack of time, or not knowing where to go next? Want to know more than what just a DNA sample can tell you? If the answers are yes, then hiring a professional genealogist can be a great alternative. Leaves & Branches genealogist, Michael D. Smith can assist your quest utilizing high evidential standards and proven historical research methods. Based in the Kansas City area, he is available to help you with your genealogical questions.


* Tracing your ancestry with thorough research methodology.

* Detailing factual family histories.

* Locating long-lost relatives and descendants.

* Assisting with “brick walls.”


After spending time researching his family heritage to locate long-lost relatives in Virginia, Michael next successfully built trees for a couple of adopted people searching for their roots. Realizing this had become a genuine passion, he decided to pursue genealogy professionally. His extensive educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from College of the Ozarks and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Both degrees are in American history with an emphasis on the Civil War and pre-1865 America. He has also had courses on European history and graduate-level studies in research methodology as well as having experience in journalism. He is currently a member of the Missouri State Genealogical Association and the Cass County Historical Society in Harrisonville, Missouri.




The scope of a project is based on each client’s individualized needs and estimating the time a project will take to complete is impossible. Here are some general guidelines:

“Brick wall” problems take time to research, as the solutions are rarely found in one record, and the easily accessible record groups have already turned up nothing. Michael asks for an initial minimum of 10 hours at $20 per hour once the research phase begins.  Projects which are completed in less than the authorized hours are billed at actual time used.

Longer term projects involving a comprehensive family tree and multi-generational narratives, require a minimum of 20 hours.

Projects begin with an initial interview (in-person, telephone, Facetime, Zoom or email) to ascertain what you specifically would like to find out and what information you already possess. Genealogical research projects are billed at an hourly rate and are generally worked in segments of at least eight (minimum) to 20 hours. A 50% retainer fee is required before work begins.

Out-of-pocket expenses, such as parking fees, repository entrance fees, microfilm rentals, costs of copies and ordering original documents, and notebooks, paper, etc. for printed family histories are billed separately and due upon receipt. Expenses over $50 require client’s prior written consent. As the project moves forward, the client will receive regular progress updates. Payments will be accepted via Venmo or cash.


Before any work begins, a research agreement will be signed by the client and Michael D. Smith. Upon completion of your ancestral project, you will be provided with a detailed report containing all of the information requested plus photocopies of relevant documents. Please send a message using the form below if you would like to set up an interview and we can get our journey started!

“To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.” – Chinese proverb



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