Terms and Conditions
Sarah will provide an initial assessment to ascertain whether there are available records and whether she can help you. If Sarah is unable to help, you will be informed at the earliest opportunity. If the initial search proves to be successful, Sarah will send you an email outlining the way forward and costs. If you wish to proceed, a letter of agreement or email will be sent outlining the scope of the work and provide advice on any limitations.
Your Information and Instructions
Your contact and family information are treated as strictly confidential and will not be shared with other people or organisation without your permission. Please inform Sarah if you wish your family research to be shared with other people.
Sarah will confirm your instructions in writing and her understanding of the research according to your chosen package or research requirements before starting the research.
From time to time you may be asked to publish extracts from the research on Unlock Your Past website and/or 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 Sarah 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.
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, Sarah cannot guarantee that a particular person(s), family or other information will be found. 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. A record of all unsuccessful searches will be provided as part of the completed research. This will allow you, and any future researcher who may be engaged, to see what research was attempted to prevent any duplication of future work.
There may be instances when sensitive information is found. Therefore, Sarah will ask you whether you want any potentially sensitive issues excluded from the research report. 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.
Sarah’s Commitment to You
Sarah at Unlock Your Past offers family history research of the highest quality, delivered in such a way to ensure you are happy with the service you receive and feel involved at every stage. You will be kept informed about the status of the research on a regular basis.
All enquiries will be answered promptly.
Sarah will undertake to report the findings of the research with detailed sources of the information obtained, including unsuccessful search details. Where research is not successful, Sarah 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.
Sarah remains the primary contact on all research projects and oversee all research conducted under the banner of Unlock Your Past.
As a member of the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Archivists (ASGRA), I abide by their Code of Conduct which can be found online here.
As a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG), I abide by their Professional Code which can be found online here.
Payment Terms – Family History Packages
On receipt of agreeing to the acceptance letter or email, a deposit is required to commence research. A receipt will be issued once payments has been made.
A payment plan can be agreed at the beginning of the research, but the final report and any supporting documentation will not be sent to you until full payment is received.
Transcription information from birth, marriage and death registers 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 expenses are included in the fixed price packages.
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 £40 per hour for family history services. The services include helping to solve a genealogical problem, document retrieval, location photography.
When travel to archives is required, car travel will incur 45 pence per mile. However, if cheaper and more convenient, public transport will be used and charged.
On receipt of agreeing to the acceptance email or letter, full payment is required to commence research. A receipt will be issued once payments has been made.
Additional costs may include supporting documents from the ScotlandsPeople centre such as birth, marriage and death registers, census returns, valuations and wills to name a few. These currently cost 25 pence per copy and will not be purchased without prior agreement with you.
There is a surcharge of 45 pence per mile for car travel to the archival centres. 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 £40 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 – Unlock Your Past 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 Scotland 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 or email within 7 days, I will assume that you do not wish to proceed and will take no further action.
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.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
By agreeing to these terms and conditions you agree that Unlock Your Past holds the personal details of you and your family (as are necessary for the purpose of research) and the company is required to retain the information, by law, for a minimum period of 5 years.