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Forensic genealogy is research, analysis, and reporting in cases with legal implications.

Using methodology and ethics consistent with the highest standards of the profession, Forensic Genealogy is conducted by unbiased, disinterested, third party practitioners with no personal or professional stake in the outcome. [Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. LRS, a founding member.]

What is a Forensic Genealogist versus an ‘Heir Searcher’?

A Forensic Genealogist is qualified through a combination of education, training and work experience; is employed or retained by attorneys, law offices, estates, courts, corporations, governmental agencies or other entities to perform genealogical work in legal issues as an independent third-party researcher, analyst, reporter and witness.

The term ‘Heir Searcher’ is more familiar to many, and is used by many in the genealogical field. But, the term usually signifies a person who searches for heirs to cases and takes a percentage of the value of the estate in the form of a contingency fee. In using such a person you lose the ability to be assured you are using a disinterested third-party. Contingency based fees can cost the heirs a substantial portion of the estate. An hourly rate often leaves more of the assets for the family.

Who do Forensic Genealogists serve?

Most of our clients are attorneys; law firms; courts; private investigators; oil and gas companies; insurance companies; banks and trust officers; guardians for the elderly; and executors to estates. Our focus is, of course, on kinship determination.

Forensic Services

My goal is to help you discover the answer to your question in a timely and efficient manner. You can have piece of mind knowing that all heirs will be identified.

Legal Community Service

  • Locate family when there are no known heirs
  • Document kinship of heirs to your person of interest
  • Locate current contact information for heirs that need notification per your state law
  • Kinship charts and construction of family trees for you and the court
  • Consultations available


  • I have access to Oregon Vital Records (all vital records for the state of Oregon)
  • I have access to local courthouses in Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas counties
  • I have access to Genealogical Forum of Oregon records, local libraries, as well as the Oregon State Archives, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Oregon State Library
  • I am able to travel across the Northwest to do on-site research for you.
  • I work with trusted researchers across many states, as well as internationally.

Research fees are charged by the hour (a minimum one hour charge) plus expenses. Travel and parking expenses are additional. Normal fees will be applied for copies, micro-form and film rentals, and postage. Payments via cash, bank certified check, money order, and personal or business checks are subject to approval, payments can be made via PayPal if preferred.

Lawson Research Services, LLC offers the professional services of Leslie Brinkley Lawson, using genealogical skills and ethics that are consistent with the Association of Professional Genealogists and the standards and practices of conduct as per the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy.