If you’ve looked at my website you’ll see that I offer a range of ways for you to choose from to help you understand your genealogy. These range from full packages tracing your ancestors back through the generations to hourly and daily rates. But what does carrying out this genealogical research entail?
Well it starts with a name, it doesn’t matter who in your family as long as you are absolutely sure they are a relative. If you’re not sure then start at someone you are sure of. From this person I work backwards. I start by researching this individual. My first stop is to find their birth record, either through a birth certificate of baptism record (this depends on the package level chosen, level one does not given your certificates). This will usually give the individuals parents’ names. I then follow this person through the census (between 1841 and 1911) to find where they lived and what their occupation was. It also shows who they were living with, so it could give the names of any spouses and children. This means any potential marriage records can be found and baptism records for their children. The final step is to find the individuals death record although this is not essential in building a tree. This record may come in the form of a certificate or a burial record. I may even find an announcement in the newspaper archive.
Once this ancestor has been completed I work back to the previous generation, i.e. their parents. The research method stays the same for them and the generations before them. It doesn’t matter which package is chosen or a custom package the methods stay the same. I search the birth, marriage and death records, the baptism and burial records, travel records, the census records, the newspaper archive as well as many others. I have to look through them and find the ones relevant to your ancestors and make sure I’m not confusing them with other people with the same name. The more common the surname the longer this takes (which is why most genealogists won’t take on research work for common surnames). All these sources give me a full genealogy of your ancestors and the lives they lived.
The only differences between the packages are the amount of people who are researched. Packages 1 – 4 research both sides of your family. In package 1 I research 14 people, package 2 is 28 individuals, package 3 is 42 ancestors and package 4 is 56 relatives. Package 5 is different as I research. This package follows one surname. It doesn’t have to be your surname, for example it could be your mother’s maiden name or your maternal great grandfathers. I trace the surname back through the generations back to the late 1700’s/early 1800’s (depending on how the generations fall as a generation is usually classed as 30 years).
To trace each individual usually takes several days to do so to do a full package can take many weeks of work researching through all the records to give a full account of your ancestors. Then the genealogy report needs to be written and all the evidence put into a tree. If a package including certificates is chosen then I have to wait for them to be delivered before I can move backwards/forwards to make sure I have the correct person and this can sometimes take several weeks.
I hope all this gives you some indication of what it takes to carry out genealogy research and helps demonstrate why it can take so long to do and the prices genealogists charge. If I charged per the hour for the packages it would be considerably more probably double due to the time it takes to research and make sure you don't miss anything. It’s a balance of doing the best work I can for the lowest price and guaranteeing the best level of service to all clients.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!