Q: I don’t want a huge family tree produced. I just want to know a bit about my ancestors before committing to anything major. Is that okay?

A: Yes, that’s fine. I am happy to spend just a few hours delving into your family history, and reporting back with a small family tree. This may only take a few hours’ work. It is entirely up to the customer whether they want me to take the research further.

Q: How much do you charge?

A: My charges start at an hourly rate of £25.00, depending on the type of research required. Any genealogist will tell you that it is impossible to give the customer an accurate initial quote for a family tree, as they all differ in size and complexity. However, once the research is under way, I will have a much clearer idea of the time-scale to complete the research, and can estimate full costings then.

Q: What information will you need to start your research?

A: Ideally I would need the name and place of birth of any ancestors who were alive at the time of the 1911 census. However, details of marriages or births in the early 1900s would probably be a sufficient starting point.

Q: How far can you go back?

A: An average family tree will take your family back to the late 1700s. However, this can usually be extended further back, given time and availability of sources.

Q: Do you carry out research in different areas of the country?

A: Yes. A great deal of information can be found online nowadays. However, there are many valuable documents held in the record offices across the country, and sometimes a trip to a record office is essential for accurate research. I have travelled to most of these in my career as a resarcher, from Northumberland to Dorset.

Q: Can you guarantee you will be able to produce a full, detailed tree?

A: If there is not enough information initially available, research may be severely hampered. Also, very occasionally, one can hit a dead-end. I do not guess, and I do not assume anything. Therefore, I will not take the ‘probable’ family line for want of a definite path; it is simply not fair on the customer.

Q: Do I need to pay in advance?

A: I generally request instalments as the work progresses. The full balance can be paid on completion of the research.

Q: Do you search for living relatives?

A: Yes. This is actually becoming a speciality of mine. I have put many clients in touch with long lost relatives. However, a great deal of caution needs to be taken in certain cases, especially where adoptions are involved.

Q: How long will a full family tree take?

A: It depends on the available information and how extensive the customer wants the research to be. A full tree, going back to the late 1700s should take around 3-4 months. This is not something I rush through in order to get done as quick as possible, as that is where mistakes can occur. Of course, family trees can take years to fully research, so the customer can always delve further into their tree at a later date.

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