What information do you need to get started?
Don't worry if you have only limited information.
If you can supply a name with probable dates and a likely place, I will search Register Office Indexes, Parish Registers, Census Returns, Wills, Settlements and Removal Orders, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, etc and report back to you on all findings.
How long will the research take?
All research will be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. A search for a specific detail or event can normally be carried out within a week. If I need to send for certificates (birth/marriage/death) or search surrounding parishes when an exact location is not given, it will take longer. I cannot guarantee that the entry or event we seek will be where you expect it to be. Ancestors moved around far more than we tend to think they did!
I will advise you if there is likely to be any real delay and we can always chat on the phone or by email if you are wondering how I am progressing!
How far back can my family be traced?
Using the whole range of records available it is sometimes possible to trace a family line - male or female - back to the 16th Century or earlier. Some Derbyshire parish registers begin in 1538 and many wills have survived from that period too.
Manorial records may have survived and can fill in interesting details on land ownership, tenancies and the role played by the individual in village life. However it must be accepted that some ancestors may be more elusive, sometimes records may not have survived to allow the trace to go so far back. Therefore, research may "cover the ground" but we may not necessarily find the references we seek.
Where do you carry out research?
I work mainly at the Derbyshire Record Office and Local Studies Library in nearby Matlock. Sources here include Parish Registers and other "Parish Chest "records ,later wills ,Poor Law and workhouse records, private/landowner/estate and Manorial records, tithe and enclosure maps and schedules, local taxation, business and occupational records, village histories, local newspapers and thousands of photographs--and much much more!
I visit the Lichfield Record Office where early wills of residents in Derbyshire and other counties were proved. The Bishop's Transcripts of parish registers, also held there, may sometimes fill in gaps in the original records held in the County Archives.
I also undertake research in Nottingham Archives. I have reciprocal arrangements with fellow researchers in other counties to avoid expensive travel costs when ancestors stray over borders.
I often visit other Local Studies Libraries for background information to genealogical findings, such as maps and village histories.
I can visit parish churches to look for memorial inscriptions, if they have not been recorded in the archives. I am happy to take photographs of places of interest, if desired.
How will the information be presented?
You will receive a handwritten report detailing all the findings for each section of work up to your agreed financial limit.
If you would like them, I could also provide photocopies of surviving relevant documents, including parish register entries, census returns and wills. Tasteful plastic pocket display folders will be supplied giving easy access to such materials if it is for a gift, to allow for easy sharing with family members.You can rearrange documents and add to the folder if further research is carried out later.
A reasonable rate of £24 per hour for research and reporting; plus costs of: postage, travel, copies of birth, marriage and death certificates (£9:25 each now from the GRO if obtained) and photocopies of original documents (Approximately 50p each page, if requested).
Why not set an initial upper limit? I will work up to that amount (including costs) and provide a report. I will then indicate any possible further research in your particular case. That way, you keep total control of your expenditure.
How do I Pay?
You have a choice of - Paypal
Banker's Draft (£)
International money order (£)
Camels or goats by negotiation!
Can I commission research as a special gift?
Yes, certainly. Some families club together to fund a larger piece of research for a special occasion gift (e.g. 50th Wedding Anniversary, 70th/80th Birthday presents).
A minimum 3 month period of notice would be helpful to ensure successful timely completion.
Tell me what you want to achieve and what you already know and I will begin!