Initial Assessment

A free one-hour initial assessment is conducted at the beginning of any research commission. This will ascertain whether there are available records and whether I can help you.  If I am unable to help, you will be informed at the earliest opportunity. If the initial search proves to be successful, an email will be sent to you to:

  • state the records that will be consulted in the first instance;
  • give a timescale when the research can be carried out;
  • clarify the aims and expectations that you have; and to
  • confirm the way forward and details of costs.

You will have 7 days to respond on the way forward.  If you wish to proceed, I will send a letter of agreement with the Terms and Conditions, complete the invoice and arrange payment.

Your Information and Instructions

Your contact and family information is treated as strictly confidential and will not be shared with other person or organization without your permission. If you wish me to communicate with anyone other than you regarding your family research, I will need your written permission to do so.

I will confirm your instructions in writing and my understanding of the research according to your chosen package or research requirements before commencing the research.

I may from time to time ask your permission to publish extracts from my research on my website and social media sites.

If you provide details of any previous research it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy to avoid any research being inadvertently repeated, unless you specifically instruct me to check its accuracy. Any effort expended during the course of the research which leads to information you already know or have found yourself but have not disclosed prior to research starting, will still be billed.

Unsuccessful Searches

There are occasions when research does not provide information about an individual.  This happens when a record is not available or simply when families are not registering events. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to find a particular person(s), family or other information. However, all research may be considered positive if it is viewed that a particular document or direction has been “ruled out”.

All research, even that which does not yield positive results, will be charged. It will be my duty to keep a record of all unsuccessful searches and provide these as part of the completed research.  This will allow both you and I, and any future researcher who may be engaged, to sees what research was attempted to prevent any duplication of future work.

Sensitive Information

Before I begin your research, I will ask you whether you want to have any potentially sensitive issues excluded from the research I present to you.  These may include the following:

  • family events, such as illegitimacy or bigamy
  • medical events, such as insanity or causes of deaths (including suicides and murders)
  • legal events, such as imprisonment or bankruptcy

Please note that the exclusion of some of these events may lead to an incomplete picture of the family.  This can be discussed at any time before the work is completed to help decide what you want included.

My Commitment To You

I offer family history research of the highest quality, delivered in such a way as to ensure you are happy with the service they receive and feel involved at every stage. You will be kept informed about the status of the research on a weekly basis.

I will endeavour to answer all enquiries from clients or prospective clients promptly.

I will not exceed the time commissioned by you without prior agreement.

I undertake to report the findings of the research with detailed sources of the information obtained, including unsuccessful search details. Where research is not successful I will provide information about the avenues that have been explored.

Paid time includes research, analysis, drawing charts and report writing as well as time spent communicating with you by telephone and/or email.

I remain the primary contact on all research projects and oversee all research conducted under the banner of Unlock Your Past.

Professional Standard

As a member of the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Archivists (ASGRA), I abide by their Code of Conduct which can be found online at: www.asgra.co.uk/CODE%20OF%20PRACTICE%20JULY%202016.pdf

As a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG), I abide by their Professional Code which can be found online at: www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/the-professional-code

Payment Terms – Family History Packages

On receipt of instructions for a Family History Package, an invoice will be issued. I will require full payment in advance of any research to secure a research slot.  This can be done on the Unlock Your Past Shop website, by BACS (direct banking), cheques or Western Union.

A payment plan can be agreed at the beginning of the research for the Gold and Platinum Family History Packages, but the final report and any supporting documentation will not be sent to you until full payment is received. The payment plan can be 50% prior to the commencement of the research and 50% when the research is finished.

Supporting documents such as Birth, Marriage and Death certificates are included in the fixed price packages. Also included is time spent on internet research, archival research, historical research, report writing, chart/tree drafting, travel time to archives/other necessary and appropriate locations within 35 miles of Kinross (such as museums, cemeteries etc.).

Travel expenses within 35 miles of Kinross are included in the fixed fee.  There is a surcharge of 40 pence per mile outwith a 35 miles radius of Kinross.  However, if cheaper and more convenient, public transport will be used.

Any additional costs will not be incurred without your prior agreement when details of the costs will be provided. Payment will be required before such costs are agreed and incurred.

Payment Terms – Family History Services

My hourly rate is currently at £25 per hour for family history services.  The services include solving a genealogical problem, paleography, document retrieval, location photography.

The time charged includes time spent on internet research, archival research, historical research, report writing, chart/tree drafting, travel time to archives/other necessary and appropriate locations within 35 miles of Kinross (such as museums, cemeteries etc.).

Additional costs may include the entry fee of £15 to ScotlandsPeople and supporting documents from the ScotlandsPeople Centre such as Birth, Marriage and Death certificates, census returns, valuations and wills to name a few.  These currently cost 25 pence per copy.  These will not be purchased without prior agreement with you.

Travel expenses are included within a 35 miles radius of Kinross. There is a surcharge of 40 pence per mile outwith the 35 miles radius. However, if cheaper and more convenient, public transport will be used.

Additional costs will not be incurred without your prior agreement when details of the costs will be provided. Payment will be required before such costs are agreed and incurred.

Cancellation – Your rights

If you wish to terminate the research agreement, you must inform Unlock Your Past in writing as soon as possible. Unlock Your Past will calculate the amount of work undertaken prior to cancellation and will invoice you at a rate of £25 per hour plus costs.  On receipt of this payment any research documentation will be forwarded to you.  Please note that all documentation remains the property of Unlock Your Past until payment is received.

Cancellation – My Rights

I reserve the right to decline cases where I consider the likelihood of success to be low, e.g. if the only information were to be a starting point of “his name was Donald McDonald and he was born in Scotand in about 1900”.

If payment is not made under the terms of this agreement and/or any invoice submitted to you, I reserve the right to cancel your instructions and discontinue work on your behalf. All outstanding payments will however remain outstanding.

If I have not received a signed agreement letter within 14 days I shall assume that you do not wish to proceed and will take no further action.

Copyright

Any documents prepared by me in the process of my research, including any charts, reports, transcriptions and translations remain my copyright and should not be published without my prior consent.

Any material which has been digitised by and obtained from websites, remains the copyright of the individual website and will be fully acknowledged in my work. It should not be further published.

Birth, Marriage and/or Death certificates provided by ScotlandsPeople Centre as certified copies of originals, will be obtained by me acting as your agent and always remain in your ownership.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

By agreeing to these terms and conditions you agree to me holding the personal details of you and your family (as are necessary for the purpose of research) and as I am required to retain by law for a minimum period of 5 years.