How far back can my family history be traced?
Most families can be traced back to the 1800s, many back further and where a connection can be made to more distinguished families with proven pedigrees much earlier.
There are a number of factors that will determine the success.
Where your ancestors lived, for example the parish of Errol in Perthshire has some of the earliest surviving Scottish baptismal registers dating back to 1553 . Other parishes have less continuous coverage due to missing or damaged registers, less conscientious scribes and disasters such as the sinking of the boat carrying some of the 1841 Fife census returns.
If your ancestors name is very common then it may become more challenging to confirm the correct ancestors the further back the research goes. This is particularly true if there are a number of related families living in close proximity with shared family names.
However, the biggest problem is where there has been an illegitimate birth with no father’s name confirmed on any official record.
None of these are insurmountable but may impact on the results.
What information can I expect?
Details will vary depending on the option selected, please see Family History Research Packages page for specific details.
All research will include a transcription of the information found in the resources consulted. The findings will be explained and if applicable additional socio-economic information included to give context to your family story.
If research has been inconclusive the report will discuss the possibilities and may suggest any further steps that can be taken to resolve the uncertainty. All research will have full references confirming where the information has come from and which sources have been consulted.
How long will it take?
This will vary depending on the package selected. We will discuss any time constraints at the quotation stage and agree a timescale for the commission.
Will I get a refund if you can’t find any information?
As there is no absolute guarantee of results the viability of any project will be assessed before commencing the research and an honest appraisal made so you can decide if you want to proceed.
If during the project it becomes apparent that a line of research has reached a point where there is not sufficient evidence to continue then we can discuss your options which could be to focus on a different line or a reduced payment.
Although it may not be what you had hoped for, a missing record or piece of information can add to the overall story. For example an exhaustive search of records may prove that a couple never married, or that a child was never baptised in the Church of Scotland. So although an actual marriage or baptism record has not been located it can nevertheless shed light on your ancestors lives and might in this example lead to a new route of research to discover if your ancestor followed a non-conformist style of worship.
This is where the importance of understanding what records exist/survive, what other sources to consider if no information is found and a wider understanding of the social and religious events of the time period becomes paramount. Too many “brick walls” are created when only the most obvious records are checked.
When you commission research you are paying for the process and the expertise in understanding not only the records found but why there may be gaps.
If I purchase a basic package can I upgrade at a discounted rate?
Absolutely, please contact me directly to discuss any further research you would like undertaken.