Frequently Asked Questions
What will it cost?
See the page on Prices and Ordering.
How far back can you trace my family?
Using the abundance of detailed Victorian records, is possible to trace most people's English ancestors back to individuals born in the early 1800s or late 1700s. Earlier than that, research becomes progressively more unpredictable. As with all genealogical research, the documentation may not survive, so there can never be any absolute certainty of success.
Can you research ancestors who lived outside England/Wales?
If your ancestral trail leads back to Scotland or British India, I should be able to continue to follow it using the resources available to me. Ireland is more difficult, but getting easier as data becomes accessible. It is often the fine detail of the research done on the generations in England/Wales which enables a firm link to be made with the earlier ancestors elsewhere.
However, where extensive research outside England/Wales is required, it will be necessary to hire a genealogist with specialist expertise and direct access to the necessary archives.
What do I need to send to get started?
You will need to send me copies of any relevant documents you may have in the family ~ the birth or marriage certificate of a parent or grandparent from the early 1900s is an ideal starting point. The more information you can send, the more progress I will be able to make. In particular it is helpful to have good copies of any materials which are only available within the family (e.g. a family bible or other family papers). If you wish, a welcome pack can be provided to help you record the information you already know.
How long will it take to complete the project?
I will do my best to estimate a completion time before you place your commission. However, family history research often leads into unpredictable areas, making it impossible to guarantee a deadline. Large projects may take many months to complete. If the project is a gift to mark a an event such as birthday, a gift voucher is probably the answer.
Can you research my living or recently deceased family members?
Many people want to include some level of detail about their immediate family to bring the story of the family up to the present day. Your own family are by far the best source of this information, so this where you have to do some of the work - I can provide you with questionnaires if this makes the process easier.
For projects in which the main focus is to find missing living relatives, as a result of adoption for instance or to sort out inheritance issues, are best handled by a researcher who specialises in adoption cases or heir hunting. You can search for one on the AGRA website.
Can you write a presentation report from research that has already been done?
It is always very helpful to see any pre-existing research - for instance, you can send me an invitation to your Ancestry tree, or a GedCom file from your family history computer program. I will need to go over all your existing research in fine detail in order to use it, so how this affect the cost depends on how it has been recorded. Sometimes it can even take longer to understand someone else's notes, and work out why conclusions have been drawn, than to repeat the research from scratch. When correct documents (such as civil registration certificates) have already been obtained, I do not need to purchase them again, so this will result in a saving. If you have been able to gather a large amount of information about your ancestors from family papers this will be very useful and make a very rich and interesting story - but the additional writing time needed will of course increase the cost.
What happens if my ancestors can't be found?
Sometimes an ancestral line will be untraceable in English records due to loss of the archives, illegitimacy, adoption, immigration etc. For projects commissioned on an hourly basis, I will consult with you if there is a problem and you can decide if remaining funds should be redirected or returned. For fixed-price presentation projects where I have undertaken to discover a specific number of direct ancestors, but your preferred line of research cannot be followed, it may be necessary to switch to another line; if this is not possible and fewer direct ancestors are traced than expected, a proportional refund will be given.
Please don't hesitate to contact me to find out how I can help you.
I was impressed with your depth of knowledge and the way you freely shared the research options. I was pleased with the way you were able to check and verify some of my own initial research as well as obtaining additional information. I was also grateful for the suggestions for ongoing research. You have rekindled my interest in pursuing my forbears and I am sure we will talk again, when I get stuck or need some more help.
~ Terry D. (Herts)
Dear Angela, I have been very happy with the work you have done, it has proved most useful to me. I found everything clear, well explained and easy to follow. ... Finally, you have been very friendly, approachable and helpful.
~ Angela O. (Bedfordshire)
I loved your report, it's breath taking what you discern from the records... I am staggered every time how, out of dry dates on a page, you manage to make more coherent stories of the lives of my ancestors. I so enjoy reading every report.
~ Matt P. (Bristol)
Dear Angela, A belated thank you for the completed project and apologies for not contacting you before to let you know how delighted we all are with it... We have been fascinated to learn of the history of our ancestors (good and bad!) ... The 'finished product' is wonderful and has exceeded expectations - many thanks for all your hard work.
~ Lynne S. (Herts)
Used Family Folios as Angela was very approachable and understood the brief. The telephone discussion prior to carrying out the research was very useful. Clear reports, charts etc. presented in a clear and professional manner. Particularly like relevant historical background information and explanations on terms used in census forms. Prompt and reliable.
~ David S. (Kent)