Your Family Tree

Are you interested in having your family history researched, or do you need some extra help unblocking your own research? I am a professional genealogist with many years’ experience. I offer a one hour free consultation, followed by a full research service to meet your specific needs and budget.

Every tree is different, so the notes below are only a guide:

Consultation

I usually begin with a free consultation, up to an hour, to establish what you would like to achieve, and to collect existing information. This can be done by telephone, or I can travel locally to meet you.

I normally begin the consultation by discussing your requirements, for example, we may discuss whether you’d like to research your paternal line, your maternal line, or a complete fan. We will discuss your budget, and your expectations for how back in time I will research. We will also discuss any particular goals, for example to identify an absent family member, to research a WW1 service record, or to resolve a family legend. If you wish I can show you an example family tree fan and report.

Finally I will collect known information, including names, dates, locations, and any other facts, memories, or rumours, to give my research a kick start.

Initial Research

My initial research uses a variety of online sources. I will draw up a quick sketch fan, with five generations including yourself, going back to about 1800. This usually takes a minimum of five hours. At this point, your tree will probably contain most of your direct ancestors, including their brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, but not necessarily all. For example it may not show all infants who died, or all children born before the present marriage.

I do not usually produce a written report at this stage, and your tree will only be accessible to me. This is because the research is likely to be missing key information, such as maiden surnames, birth and death dates, or second marriages. Also, some information I have gathered may be speculative, and awaiting definitive proof.

This is often a good time to review your goals and expectations, in the light of any exciting leads, or indeed brick walls, encountered so far.

Further research

In most cases, the next stage is to work in greater detail on your tree, to achieve a full five generation fan. This stage normally takes about ten more hours.

The aim is to identify and record all the documentary evidence available online for key information, including births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, addresses and occupations. Research may include some snippets of extra information, such as court cases or poor law records.

First Report

A report can be issued on completion of this stage. You will receive:

  • A beautiful fan tree showing all your direct line ancestors.
  • A written report giving all the information I have found for each family member.
  • Detailed sources which prove the information provided.

A few questions and brick walls may remain unresolved. These will be highlighted on the report.

Detailed research

The next stage is to flesh out the facts with any additional information which can be found including, for example, apprenticeships, service records, newspaper reports, poor law records, school records, court and legal proceedings, and probate records. Attempts will also be made to break down any brick walls.

I will use a variety of sources for this research, both online and offline. My visits to local resources such as our county archive (the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre), local studies libraries, and museums, are included in my costs.

It is impossible to provide an estimate of hours and costs for this stage, as my customers’ requirements and preferences vary substantially. Clearly, this detailed and more painstaking research will be slower than the early stages. I will usually discuss progress with you several times, to ensure that I am spending my time and your money appropriately, and in your best interests.

Final Report

There is no end to family history research, it can be a lifetime study! However, eventually you will reach a point where you are happy with the results. I will then draw up a final report. As before, this will include:

  • A beautiful fan tree showing all your direct line ancestors.
  • A written report giving all the information I have found for each family member.
  • Detailed sources which prove the information provided.

Additional options are available for the final report, depending on your preferences and budget:

  • I can add photographs to the report
  • I can prepare the report for ‘on demand’ printing by yourself and family members
  • I can issue your family tree as a large, full colour poster

Revisiting your tree

I will archive my research so that it is possible to revisit your tree and extend it further, should the need arise.