Thursday, 15 July 2010

Scotland's Greatest Story - new trial research package

As many readers know, I work as a full time genealogist as well as a full time newshound and writer! Traditionally I charge by an hourly rate for the work I do, normally at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and for any additional costs, usually travel (set rate of £20, though usually costs me a bit more!) and the cost of access to the building (£10). Details available at my Scotland's Greatest Story research website here.

However, for some time I’ve been considering a different approach for helping those starting off in Scottish genealogy, for several reasons. First, the civil records are very well digitised at the centre, and it seems ludicrous to be charging a high professional rate for what is essentially a straightforward search backwards in most cases, certainly for the statutory period post 1855. Don’t get me wrong, a bit of problem solving has to occasionally be applied, but before 1855 things tend to get a bit more tricky, and it is then that I think such a rate can be more easily justified, when different skills tend to kick in.

I also believe that in the spirit of today’s day and age in the genealogical world, price should not be a barrier to the access of heritage. A full day’s search at the centre, plus travel, normally costs in the region of £165 through my service (worked out at 7.5 hours at £18, plus £10 access fee, and £20 set rate travel fee). Although the professional rate is usually £20/hour, even at £18/hour it’s a lot to pay if you are initially just wanting to dip your toe into the water.

So I’m going to shake things up a bit! For a new month long trial period, I am going to introduce a Foundation Research package for a full day’s research at the ScotlandsPeople Centre for an all in rate of £100 – this will include seven and a half hours research, the access fee and travel. The conditions of this offer will be as follows:

a) The starting point for the tree must be from a birth or marriage in Scotland after 1950. And I will need a definite known starting point ("Uncle Wully looked a bit Scottish" is a probably just a bit too vague!)

b) It’s an ancestral search, looking at all Scottish lines going back (though any emergent English, Welsh or Irish lines will be investigated as far as possible at the centre). For any descendancy work, I’m happy to still help, just do bear in mind that with common names it takes more time to look forward in the earlier periods (i.e. with a name like Smith or MacDonald). Sources used will be civil BMD records from 1855 to the present day, OPR vital records, censuses, monumental inscriptions, and all resources available and required at the centre (and if necessary at the National Archives of Scotland next door).

c) Normally I charge first hour, travel and SP access fee as a deposit. For this offer, I will simplify things – a £50 deposit to be paid in advance, and the balance upon completion. (NB: If paying by PayPal, an additional charge of £4 will be added to cover service costs).

d) The results will be e-mailed only, but you will still get all the relevant charts, reports and research notes - but you will need to print off the research yourself.

e) If you want actual copies of records they will be charged extra on top of the £100 fee, but at the centre’s set rates. Records will otherwise be supplied as transcriptions.

f) It’s rare that all research brick walls are hit in one day’s research – so if you require the work to be continued after a day, it will then be charged at the standard rate at £18 per hour on future visits, plus expenses.

In a single day I am usually able to get back several generations to the parish records period (pre-1855), but it will depend on the size of families, and the amount of detail you wish to go for (full tree development with all siblings worked out, or purely ancestors, etc). But if you are thinking about looking into your research, or wish for example to get 20th Century records examined which are not yet online and will cost considerbaly more to order as official extracts, hopefully this new basic Foundation Research package will be a useful way to get you going!

To make use of the offer, contact me at - the offer ends Wednesday 18th August 2010.

In the meantime, a little film to enthuse the soul...! :)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

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