Research Service

Would you like to know more about your ancestral roots?  Maybe there’s an old family story you’d like to get to the bottom of, a mystery ancestor, or perhaps you just want to know more about where you’re from, and the journey your family has taken through time to where you are now.  Or perhaps you’re already well into your family history research and would like help with a brick wall.

Whatever the reason, I can offer a genealogy service tailored to your needs.

What you’ll get from me
The precise format of the presentation of the information you’ll get from me will be agreed during our initial consultation, and possibly tweaked by agreement along the way.

Family tree chart, with all facts fully supported with evidence, including transcriptions where appropriate.  Where something is not fully proven, I will tell you this.  Sometimes the records are simply not there, and in such cases all we can reach about a particular individual is a likely hypothesis or, sadly, a brick wall.

Names and dates are the essential stuff of family trees.  But for me, and I suspect for most of us, scanning a list of names with their important dates is rather like reading a telephone directory.  So where possible, and if appropriate to your needs, I treat these as the starting point.  I then try to step back and look for the stories: what might have been happening to make this person take this action?  What was happening in their world – in their family or locality, in wider society or politics?

Do bear in mind that family stories often turn out to be not what they seemed.  Remember, too, that there may be skeletons lurking in your ancestral cupboard.  Don’t worry – all secrets are safe with me!  Besides, I have a quite a lot of them in my own family tree.  I don’t judge.  We have to view events in the context of their own time, and I often ask myself if I would have done any different in their position.

Along the way I will consult regularly with you by email.  I will not purchase any certificates, wills or other documents without your prior consent.  If purchase is necessary I will explain why.

Here’s a sample of research projects I’ve worked on:
A client who knew only of ‘a German connection’ in her ancestry.  We found the line, discovered the story of how the connection came about and also the implications of being German in the UK during WW1.

A client who wanted to find out more about the grandmother she never knew.  We uncovered a surprising and very moving story.

A client who wanted to know if her mother’s and her father’s direct paternal lines, both having the same surname, were connected.  We were able to get one line back to the 17th century, the other to the early 18th; and although it seemed unlikely there was any connection between them, my client was delighted to learn more about her strong Yorkshire roots.

A client who wanted to know more about the genealogical history of his house.

What I’ll need from you
To protect the living, certain records in the UK are restricted for 100 years.  The decennial censuses, for example, are released one hundred years after the year in which they were taken, and the General Register Office birth index so far goes up to only 1934.  Some records are available for the intervening period, and civil birth, marriage and death certificates can be purchased.  But essentially, what all this means is that we have to use your parents and grandparents as a bridge to find our way back to the point at which records become easily available.  So if your research project deals with relatively recent generations, I’ll need your parents’ names, with date and place of birth, and the same for your grandparents if you have it.

Working with less information is possible.  I have constructed an entire family tree based on one quite distinctive name and a date of birth that was in fact ten years out; and another tree based only on one birth certificate containing a number of half-truths.  But the more information I have to start with, the better.  What we both want, after all, is to be sure we get back as quickly as possible to the correct family, so we can start to investigate your family’s story.

If, on the other hand, your project follows on from research already done by yourself or someone else, I’ll need all the information so far found, together with sources used and an overview of what you’ve already tried.

Initial consultation: no charge 
During the initial consultation, we will discuss your personal needs and agree an initial action plan.  I will then prepare a full reserach plan, based on that.

Research: £40 per hour
Reporting to the client
Writing family history
Communication with client in person, by telephone, Skype, etc

I am happy to agree to work in ‘batches’ of hours, e.g. four or six hours at a time.
Work and any expenses will be billed at the end of each agreed period of time. You can choose at any time after an agreed contract period to take a break, or not continue.

Expenses: billed at cost
Civil birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, etc – the need / purpose for these to be discussed with the client prior to ordering
Photocopies, Archive fees and permits
Postage and packing

Travel time and other travel expenses
Travel (by car or public transport as appropriate), parking: no charge on the Isle of Wight; otherwise at cost.

If, as part of our agreed research plan, I need to visit archives at some distance, travel time and other expenses will be agreed on per-case basis.


Other possible contracts undertaken:

One-to-one assistance with your own research: £20 per 40 minutes
Discussions by telephone, Zoom, Skype, in-person if you’re local.
Guidance on how you might progress your own research.

Speaking engagements: negotiated on per-case basis
Lectures, workshops, groups

Writing: negotiated on per-case basis
Articles for publication, chapters, etc