My Bespoke Family Tree Research Service
What Is Available?
It is possible to trace a person's ancestry back to 16th Century (or even earlier if they were people of note or nobility), providing the relevant records have not been destroyed. Many records can be found online whilst some need a visit to the local archives. Although being local means that I specialise in Sussex history, I have obtained a wealth of information from online sources for other areas of the country, including Scotland and Wales. Wherever possible I glean records from original sources, e.g. images of old Parish Registers and Censuses. Sometimes the only records available are transcripts, which are not always 100% accurate. However, I record the source of my information every step of the way, so any doubts about the relevant facts can be highlighted.
As well as finding the names, dates and whereabouts of your ancestors, sometimes it is also possible to find other interesting records such as Military and Criminal Records. There is an increasing amount of Newspaper Articles now available with everything from murder trials to engagement announcements. Other documents such as Business Directories, Valuation Rolls and Last Will & Testaments are also available. I have even discovered hand written letters and photographs. All these and more can build a truly rounded picture of the past and the way our forefathers lived it.
What It Will Cost
Because of the uncertainty of information available, I charge nothing upfront*. I will do a minimum of 2 hours research to make sure there is information to be had. If I find nothing, it will cost you nothing. However, if I do find something (which is most often the case), I will charge £10 for that initial research and any subsequent research will be charged at £7.50 an hour.
There is complete flexibility in the way I work for you. You can cap the amount of hours I do each week or each month, meaning you can stick to a budget. Alternatively, you can leave the work hours to me. Either way you will receive a monthly invoice on or around the 20th of each month, which will be payable by the 27th. Payments can be made by bank transfer, PayPal, cheque or cash. (If paying by cheque the payment will be due by the 23rd).
Most information about parentage is gained from the Censuses which are available online. However, owing to Privacy Laws the last census available is 1911. If your ancestor was born after that date and you can trace them no further back, it may be necessary to obtain Birth or Marriage Certificates from the General Register Office. These cost £9.25 to order. Sometimes even for records before 1911, where the censuses are not very forthcoming, it may be necessary to obtain these certificates to verify data. Of course they also can give a lot of other interesting information such as occupations, cause of death etc. so you may find you want to have them anyway. That would be entirely optional. Registration of Birth, Marriages and Deaths in England & Wales began in 1837 (1855 in Scotland). Anything prior to that would be in the Parish Records online.
To obtain these and other online records it is necessary to pay a subscription to the websites. For this I charge just £2 per month per client. I also charge £3 a month for stationery. If I need to travel outside of Worthing town centre I will also add travel costs. (I would not do this without your prior agreement). These charges will be added to your monthly bill.
What You Will Receive
Once we have agreed how you would like to proceed, I will begin the process of gathering the information. I will start with one surname and go back as far as I can. If you wish me to delve further, I can look into as many or as few other branches of the family as you wish. There is no commitment as to how much or how little work I do for you. You can stop at anytime.
I can print out all the documents and write all the facts in a file so you have a hard copy. I can also email you anything you require from my research. I can present your hard copy on a monthly basis or whatever suits you best, at a time and a place of your choice. If you prefer to do everything via email, that is fine too.
I also write paperback back books and can arrange to have your ancestors' story printed in book form. If this is something that might interest you, then let me know and I will show you examples of my work.
What I Will Need From You
To get the best results I will need as much information as you have about your ancestors, going back as far as you can. Include documents and information contained in letters, or just anything gleaned from your parents or grandparents recollections. Often memories are not totally accurate, but they can be a good starting point. I can visit you at home, we can arrange to meet elsewhere, or you can simply email me the information. But remember, the more information you have, the more chance there is that we can find your roots!
The complete bespoke family tree service