My area of expertise is Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Birmingham. However I do have access to many records for England and Wales, so can undertake most research myself before either obtaining microfilms via a library service (additional costs do apply for the hire of films, around £7.00) or passing enquiries on to researchers in other counties. As a member of both APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) and ‘eXpertGenealogy Professionals’, I have contact with many other professional researchers.
My charges are £15.00 per hour for research and any additional costs i.e. the purchase of certificates, wills etc. (when necessary) are charged at the normal cost at time of purchase. Copies of entries in parish registers differ from 70p – £1.00 depending on the record office. Digital copies can be taken of original records but these are not always successful for the microfilmed records. A charge is made by the records office for use of a digital camera so my charge would depend on how many photographs I was taking that day. Copies of census records are free.
I am unable to give an estimate on the cost of developing a family history, as all are so different. Every family is unique; some easier to trace than others depending on locality and movements. All records are also very different in size and quality so can take different amounts of time to search. So what I usually suggest is working in batches of a certain number of hours as determined by the customer, and taking it from there until you feel you have enough or I feel I am wasting your money! These batches can be spread over time or undertaken continuously – whichever suits the customer best!
Initial research, presuming it begins in the nineteenth century, should prove successful with so many records available, apart from just the parish registers, in particular the GRO and census. However when parish registers become the only main source of information, it is difficult to say how far research can be taken back. It depends on the condition and quality of the registers – they differ greatly. Also if an ancestor moved into a parish and died before the census was first taken, therefore there being no record of his place of birth, it can mean a lot of searching in surrounding parishes, particularly where no settlement or removal certificates have survived. For this reason I often swap from branch-to-branch, therefore obtaining as much information as possible before the searches become more complicated.
In order to start the research I will, of course, need as much information as you can give me. Details from any certificates you have in your possession, details of any family members you remember or have been told about, any known addresses, years of birth, ages when died etc.
Unfortunately due to the actions of one or two of my previous clients, I’m afraid I have found it necessary to request money in advance of undertaking the assignment or the individual batches.
And for convenience, especially for those living abroad, I am registered with Paypal. I find this a most reliable and safe form of transferring funds. It also doesn’t incur any bank charges for the client. I do, of course, accept cheques or bank drafts made out in pounds sterling, but as foreign currency cheques incur large charges to be converted this has to be deducted from the payment which means less time for research.