Below is a sample of questions I have been asked by prospective clients. Forthcoming questions will be published here.
What details will I need to provide?
Dependent upon what you wish researching as a general rule to get started the following information will be required: The full names and place of birth of earliest known ancestor together with that of any siblings where possible, together with details of any birth/marriage/death certificates currently held relating to the family/families you wish to trace. Any other details relating to the family in question will be an advantage. I do not require details of any living individuals.
How long will my research take?
An estimate will be provided with your initial consultation. This will depend upon what exactly you wish researching, if documents need ordering, and how much research is undertaken. As a rough guide most small research jobs should be completed within a couple of weeks of confirmation, whilst lengthier jobs such as full family histories can take substantially longer. You will be given regular updates whilst your research is being undertaken.
How far back will you be able to go?
Dependant upon a number of factors this will vary substantially from case to case. In the vast majority of cases your ancestry on any given line should be able to be traced relaibly to the early 19th century using census entries and civil registration alone. Before this is dependant primarily upon the surviving availabilty of records. If you are fortunate enough to discover what is known in the trade as a "gateway ancestor" in many cases it is possible through published pedigrees and other documentary evidence to travel back many hundreds of years.
Would it not be cheaper to do the research myself?
If you have the time to learn research methods and the time and patience to research your own family history over an extended period then conducting family history research yourself can be a very rewarding experience. However, almost invariably you will have to pay for your efforts and subscriptions to the major genealogy sites are expensive. Furthermore, it is very easy for the inexperienced to look at records and misinterpret them through no fault of their own and I have seen numerous published family trees with false information. By hiring a professional such as myself you have the satisfaction of knowing we have the experience of accurate problem solving giving a better chance of a successful outcome.
How will I receive my work?
This is up to you. You have the option of receiving your work either by post in paper form or as a PDF. Ordered documents will be sent to you as part of the service free of charge. For larger amounts of research your findings will be be sent to you in a complementary display folder.