HOW MUCH, HOW LONG - and other important questions
How much depends on your budget. Charges were last revised in July 2016.
My hourly rate is £25
I also offer a day of research at an archives for the sum of £100 which will include post visit analysis and report writing. Not included are travel and expenses such as copying fees as charged by the archives.
What expenses are there likely to be?
These are additional to the hourly rate which covers my time, knowledge and expertise. They can be as varied as certificates ordered from the GRO - birth, marriage and death certificates currently either £9.25 for paper or £6 for PDF supply (or £10 from local registration offices); probate will copies currently £10; copying fees which depending on archives used can be from £1 per image to £9.50 for a day pass; transport; fair use of subscription websites for which I pay an annual fee or occasional useage of a lesser known website taken out for the one project.
I charge travel costs but not for the time taken to travel. Typical travel can be from £8.50 to £25 depending on location. As a guide I charge 25p per mile.
Do you consult me about any additional expenses?
Any large expenditure will follow a consultation to confirm that you are happy for this cost.
How do I approach you for work?
Once you have decided how much you can afford focus on the most important facts that you want out of your research request. If you have a clear idea of what you want to know it helps me to focus on the best resources to obtain this information.
Firstly you need to contact me, preferably by email and outline what you need doing, be it a full family history or a brickwall problem. I will reply and ask a few questions appropriate to your research. Usually some information is returned and I start by looking at what you have already done towards your goals with a free appraisal - usually I would not expect that to take me longer than an hour. This should enable me to see if I am the best person to assist you. If not I will recommend another researcher more suited to your task.
What is the appraisal, will it give me answers?
This appraisal is not part of the research - it is a look at what needs doing and what has been done, the reliability of the resources already viewed, and whether the resources needed to progress the work are available. In some cases the resources needed to break through a brickwall or to prove a fact do not survive. If this is the case there is nothing that can be done. I will not take on work if there is no possiblity of it being completed.
Will I get the answers I am after?
Searching is part of the research process and needs to be done to rule out all possibilities with brickwalls. It is essential that every document that could give an answer is examined. Sometimes a task needs revisiting after a few years as documents are deposited in archives as they are discovered. Many archives lurk in dusty attics just waiting to be discovered and deposited. Just because the answer wasn't around 20 years ago doesn't mean it isn't now.
How long will my research project take?
As a guideline, for a straightforward family history which includes total research of one couple in any generation [major life events, census records, occupation records, investigating children and their history in brief] can take up to 10 hours. It takes longer to find no information than it does to find information! If you multiply this up to the research package of five generations - each generation doubles up - many hours of work are needed. The report also needs writing and during this the work is double checked for omissions and possible errors. A gap in research is often beneficial as coming to a task with fresh eyes gives inspiration to try a new resource. For the 5 generation package expect to wait up to six months.
What does your 5 generation package offer?
The fixed price research package that I offer is a direct line 5 generation family tree and history. This concentrates on the direct ancestors of a named subject so will start with this person, their parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents. GRO certificates and Probate Registry wills are not included in the charge which covers the research, a direct ancestor chart and a family tree suitable for printing out. A presentation folder and printing will be extra and charged at cost. When you consider the time quoted in the preceding paragraph this represents exceptional value at £500.