Frequently Asked Questions  

How far can you trace my ancestors back? 

In most cases, census records and civil registration certificates make it possible to trace a family line back to the early 1800s. Using parish registers and other records, it is likely to be able to go back another one or two hundred years. It is possible to go back as far as the 1500’s in rare cases. 

How far back you can get does depend on a certain amount of luck: if you are tracing a relatively uncommon surname in a small parish with excellent records you will have far more chance of success that if your ancestor has a more common name and the parish where he or she lived has lots of missing records. 

What if you cannot find the ancestors I am looking for? 

Providing you give us as much information as you can prior to commencing our research we will do a short initial assessment of the project free of charge. If we feel we can progress your enquiry and you agree, we will then undertake this work on your behalf. 

Our charges will stop should we hit a brick wall we cannot overcome and you will only pay for research plus any incurred charges up to that time. 

How long will the research take? 

GRO and census searches are for a minimum of an hour, research projects are for a minimum of four hours. A one hour search will normally be completed within 7 working days. If you commission a four hour project, we will carry that out over a two week period, so you can still expect a quick response. 

Researching a whole family tree will take much longer – we need to review our progress with you at regular intervals and discuss whether you want to carry on to the next step. Each four hour instalment will be completed by us in a two week period, as far as possible. 

Research is unpredictable but, as a guideline, research of one family line would typically take 8 – 16 hours. A complete tree will take at least 20 hours. 

We would work with you to progress the research in stages, so that you can phase your payments and review our results before commissioning the next stage. Our only requirement is a commitment to 4 hours of research in the first instance, and at each stage after that. You decide exactly how long to continue, whether to break for a while, or whether to carry on yourself (genealogy is additive!). 

What will you do with any of my personal information given or obtained during my project? 

We treat all our research with utmost discretion and confidentiality. Our client’s information and any personal details will never be disclosed to a third party or published in any way, apart from your own personal research report. 

We will retain your information and the project report for the duration of our research and for a reasonable period after. Should you decide to ask us to carry out further research on your behalf in the future, this simply avoids repeat charges. If you are kind enough to offer a testimonial, we would only use this with your written permission. 

What about costs and will I have to pay in advance? 

We only ask for a £50 payment at the start of a research project, which is our standard project commencement charge. This guarantees you 4 hours research and any further additional charges will always be discussed with you before any continuation of the project. 

Census searches are payable by the hour, and need to be paid in advance. If the ancestor you seek is not found, despite a careful search, this negative result will be reported to you but the work has been done, so the fee still applies. 

How can I pay? 

Wherever you are in the world, we can send you an invoice via our PayPal business account. You can then choose to pay this through your PayPal account, if you have one, or using a major credit card, debit card or echeck. 

We can also accept a direct bank transfer BACS and will supply our bank details on request. 

We can accept cheques sent by post, but from UK residents only. Please note your project will only start once your payment has been cleared.   

Other questions? 

Please email us at mike@familytreefolk.co.uk 

Or phone us for a chat: 01977 624370