A family tree for everyone

Tel: 01625 575 700

British & Irish Genealogy

FAQs

Q: What will I get at the end of the project?

A:

It will be a hardbound book detailing your family history. The book will include our interpretation of your family story, a family tree, legible transcriptions of all records we use such as census records, birth and marriage records, parish records, your family trees, information on where your ancestors came from, a history and derivation of the names you ask us to research, jobs that they did, as well as full documentation of our sources and recommendations for further research. We can also include your pictures if you wish.

Q: How much detail will I get on each person?

A:

Unless you instruct us otherwise, the purpose of our research is to try to reveal as many generations of your family within the time allowed. As such we should be able to report on the year of birth, marriage, addresses, occupations, the people they married, and the names of the children.

We will not normally investigate your ancestors' siblings and their descendants, but anything we find in the normal course of identifying your direct ancestor we will report back with.

Q: Can I get further copies of my Family History book?

A:

Yes, we can provide you with extra copies for other members of the family, perhaps as a unique and highly personal birthday or Christmas gift. We supply them exactly the same as the hardbound original and at cost (printing, post, packaging) at £50 each.

Q: How many birth or marriage certificates will I need to buy?

A:

Its up to you. We don’t include them in our packages and so we charge extra for them. You may want to buy a certificate of a cherished relative, you may wish to buy them for every relative! Sometimes we do need to buy a birth or marriage certificate to prove the identity of a relative. We may also need to buy more than one to eliminate a potential ancestor from our research. On a single name search we recommend that customers budget for two. We charge £15 per certificate.

Q: Can I include my photos in the book?

A:

Yes you can. Just send us copies or scanned copies and we’ll incorporate them into your family history book.

Q: Can you take photos?

A:

Yes we can. One of our strengths is that we have a network of over 50 researchers all over the country with local knowledge who can undertake photography of churches, gravestones, landmarks, etc. This will cost extra, but please ask about it at the enquiry stage.

Q: How far back can you trace my family?

A:

Frustratingly, this is a very tough question to answer because no genealogist can predict the availability and quality of the records available. Each research assignment is unique. If the family originates from the UK or Ireland we would expect to be able to trace back to the 1850s, usually to the early 1800s and in 20% of cases to the late 1700s. For customers who buy the Four Branch Plus package our ambition is to get at least one name to the early 1600s if we are lucky but it cannot be guaranteed. There are so many variables such as whether the family stayed in the same area and whether their major life events were ever recorded. We must remember that surname adoption for the majority of the population only happened in the 1500s. If, however, we find a link to a wealthy family we might be able to take your line back to the Domesday book! We haven’t got there yet, but did get to 1184.

Q: Do you research forward in time?

A:

The emphasis of our work is to trace the family tree backwards, as far as records will allow. If you wish, we can go forwards to find, say first cousins, second cousins and so on. This type of research is inspired by the question “what happened to that branch of the family?” or “am I related to anyone famous?” But we must point out that this type of research is more time consuming as there are more unknown factors involved.

Q: How long does the research take?

A:

Each project is different and no genealogist can predict the likely outcome of the research because they are so dependent on the quality and availability of the records. It may be that we need to spend longer to prove a particular ancestor who somehow evades crucial records. You can rest assured that we will be pursuing all avenues to find and validate your ancestors and at all times we will be in contact with you to keep you abreast of the research so that you are in control.

For the sake of a working deadline, we would guide our customers towards 12 weeks. We need to make sure we are getting the right records and going to the right places to find them. Accessing those records builds in lag times of 2-4 weeks. For example, obtaining a birth, marriage or death certificate can take 2 weeks from the GRO – the only source of them. Sometimes we can finish the research much quicker, but we must satisfy ourselves with thorough cross checking that we have got it right.

Q: Can I upgrade my package at a later date?

A:

Yes you can. The price of the upgrade is the difference between the package prices plus £50 for the printing of the book.

Q: What if I want more research at the end of the project?

A:

Genealogy is compulsive and addictive. We often find that our customers are brimming with more questions after the research is completed. We will recommend further research and if you wish to commission us we’d be delighted to undertake it on your behalf. Sometimes the research is quite specialised and we would recommend an appropriately qualified person to do it. We always recommend that our clients go to the towns or villages that their ancestors came from and have a look around themselves!

Q: Can I have more than 4 names?

A:

Yes. Our standard packages typically trace the paternal lines of each of your four grandparents because these are the ancestors you and your family are more likely to be familiar with, and most likely to have been influenced by.

But you have eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents, thirty-two great-great-great-grandparents, and so on. Your understanding of your family history is bound to be richer for researching more names than the four we research for you. If it is a celebrity or a royal link you seek, spreading the net wider will certainly increase your chance of success.

Those of you who watch "Who do you think you are?" will notice, particularly in the later series, how the family names researched branch out from the main names in the search for an ancestor whose story makes interesting TV viewing. 

It is a question of economy. The research for WDYTYA typically costs £30,000 per celebrity. We don't charge our clients that much, but you can see how the cost of research will escalate rapidly with increasing number of names.

If you are thinking of a more tailored research programme please call or email us to discuss your (sensibly budgeted) options.

Q: Can you do research outside the UK and Ireland?

A:

Its not our speciality, though we may be able to help. Please ring or email our enquiry line.

Q: What if the research is unsuccessful?

A:

It can happen. Records run out, or there are too many people with a similar name in a town for us to economically research the likelihood of each one being your ancestor. We will be in contact with you to discuss how you would like to proceed. We will either agree a reduced rate to reflect services not yet rendered or you will instruct us to proceed with different avenues of research with an agreed budget. In either event you can be assured of our best efforts and transparency.

Q: I was adopted. Can you trace my blood relatives?

A:

In the UK only the adopted person can apply for their original birth certificate. No other person can do this on their behalf. Once you have this document, then we can help you.

Q: Are my payments safe?

A:

We do not store any personal financial information.

Q: What privacy details will you hold about me?

A:

For a longer explanation please refer to our privacy policy. We take your privacy very seriously and we maintain records about you for the purpose of communicating with you on research projects. We will never pass your records to a third party.  We are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office which requires us to maintain and demonstrate high standards of data protection and we can be inspected by them at any time. Fortunately for you (and unfortunately for us, maybe) the Information Commissioner headquarters is opposite our building so we imagine that we would be more likely to be inspected than most!

Q: Who are your customers?

A:

They come from all walks of life and share a curiosity about themselves, who they are, and why they are here. They could probably all research their family histories to an extent on their own but lack the months required to do it.

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