Frequently Asked Questions
How far back can my family history be traced?
Most families can be traced back to at least the 1800s and many back further, where a connection can be made to well-documented families with proven pedigrees much earlier.
There are a number of factors that will determine 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 ancestor's 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.
What information can I expect?
Details will vary depending on the type of research, the period and the locations.
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 adding 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.
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. 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.
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 absence of an entry in the Church of Scotland records may indicate that your ancestor followed a non-conformist style of worship and lead to a new line of enquiry. 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 can often help demolish long-standing brick walls”.