So... how does it work?

I try to keep the process as simple as possible. Once you contact me, we will discuss what your goals are for the research, either by phone, Skype or email - whichever is most convenient for you. I start with a blank page - all research is custom-designed to your needs.

Once I know what you are aiming for in the research I can produce an estimate. As part of this I will ask to see any research that has already been carried out either by you or someone on your behalf. This will allow me to see what searches have and have not been done, and documents that have and have not been consulted. This reduces the risk of duplication of work.

How I approach the estimate will depend very much on the goals of the research.

  • If there is a very definite deadline or scope (for example, you'd like to trace four generations back from an individual), I will produce an estimate of how long it will take and how much that will cost. 
  • If the research is more open ended (for example, you want to trace back a line as far as possible, or you are looking for as much information on an individual as possible), it may be better to commission a number of hours research and then evaluate the progress at the end of that time.

In either case, you will be paying only for time that I spend working on your research. 

Once I have completed the estimate, I will send this to you along with a contract, a copy of my Terms & Conditions , and the agreed aims of the research. If you want to continue with the research, all you will have to do is return a signed copy of the contract (scanned copies can be used) along with the deposit amount detailed on the estimate.

On completion of the research, a fully itemised invoice will be provided.


What I charge for

  • The following is charged at an hourly rate (rounded up to the nearest 1/4 hour)
    • Time spent on research activities (in archives and online).  Please note that unsuccessful charges and negative findings are part of this.
    • Analysis and documentation of the research findings
    • Transcription of lengthy documents (as specified in Transcription)
  • Travelling expenses outside of Edinburgh (only if approved by you)
  • Any official copies of documents you require (provided at cost)
  • Printing and postage costs if you require a hard copy of the research (an electronic copy is provided at no extra cost)

On occasion, there may be other expenses incurred which are specific to the research you have commissioned, including engaging subcontractors to access records on my behalf. I will not proceed with these unless I have your approval. There will be no hidden or unexpected charges on your invoice.