See also ‘how hard is it to trace a family tree‘ below.
How much does it cost? Generally, the only cost is our time. Our standard charge is £20 (about $26) an hour and we’re happy to conduct research on an hourly basis (minimum 2 hours). But many people prefer to start with a package of work, either for themselves or as a gift. So, we offer a several research packages:
We also conduct Probate Genealogy on behalf of solicitors and the public sector. Please contact us for more information.
Family History Package 1: £275 ($366) Starting with as much (or little) information as you can give us, we will work back as far in time as we can, over a minimum of 15 hours research. We will typically be able to research two direct lines (see example below) back to the early 1800s. Unless you ask for something else, we will concentrate on your direct ancestors, but record their brothers and sisters as we come across them. The results will be provided by email as pdf documents, including an outline family history and a printable tree. Any photos etc you provide can be included in these documents.
Family History Package 2: £450 ($600) As above, but using at least 30 hours research, which typically allows us to research four direct lines (see example below) back to the early 1800s. If you prefer, we can concentrate on a particular line (for example, your surname) or follow both parents of each generation as far back as time allows.
Individual Research: £50 ($66) A minimum of 3 hours using available resources to discover and document as much as possible about an individual, including military service, newspaper articles, homes, employment etc. Results are provided by email as a pdf document, including images of any pictures or documents found.
How hard is it to trace a family tree? It depends…….
- Do you want to just trace your direct line – your father and mother, their parents etc, as far back as possible? Even by the time you get to your parents’ grandparents – that’s 16 families to explore!
- Or do you want to also know what happened to your ancestors’ brothers and sisters and their descendants? And perhaps find lost second cousins etc around the world.
- Luck can play a big part! If you pay to join a genealogy website for a year, it may be reasonably easy to trace one line back several generations. You might find an ancestor on somebody else’s family tree; but we treat these with extreme caution, as lots of online family trees have serious errors, often copied from other unreliable trees. It’s all too easy to spend time investigating the wrong family!
- Some family lines are much harder to trace – children could be fosted or adopted. Census returns often describe illegitimate children as sons or daughter of their grandparents or aunts. Families split up, moved or emigrated. People often lied about their age or were known by their middle names. Sometimes they changed their surnames and there were many opportunities for names to be mis-heard, mis-spelt, mixed up or mis-transcribed. Some ancient church records are not easily available as the original ledgers are still being used today!
An experienced researcher knows how to work through these problems. If we’re not sure about someone we’ll search for more proof before putting them on your tree.
Once you have a reliable tree you might consider a DNA test. These can provide extra information, provide clues and confirm theories. But making effective use of the results requires some knowledge of the science, a methodical approach and multiple subscriptions. See ‘DNA Tests’.