Finding your family's story...

Terms of business


Unless a specific package or gift voucher has been purchased our free initial consultation (by phone, or email) will provide an opportunity to discuss the research to help you identidy what you require, what you already know and the budget you have in mind.  We will outline how we can help, the records we may use, and try to provide a realistic sense of the possible results.

While we can never guarantee we will find the answers you are looking for, we will only undertake work which we believe has a reasonable chance of success.

Assuming you would like to go ahead, we will suggest a research plan based on the scale and scope of the work required.  If you are looking for an overview of a family tree, we will generally suggest one of our research packages.  If you would like answers to a specific question, or to investigate a particular individual, family story or puzzle, we will usually charge by the hour.

Either way, we will confirm what has been agreed after the initial consultation, via email.


We can usually find the answers you are looking based on tiny kernels of evidence.  If you are unable to provide very detailed background information, do not worry!  This is what we are here for!  However, any and all information you are able to provide is helpful, especially if your surname is quite common, and will help us keep costs down. When ordering a family tree package please let us know if there is any specific story or relative that you would like to know more about so that this can be incorporated into the research or charged for separately. As an example, a client ordered a one line standard report but also wanted to know if a family story that her uncle had died in a motorbike accident as a teenager was true. This was able to be confirmed through a search of available digitised newspapers and so was able to be completed as part of the standard package price.


Every project is different.  We will discuss an appropriate timescale and start date at the outset.  Please provide as much notice as possible if you are commissioning research for a specific deadline such as a birthday or anniversary gift.  As a rule of thumb, if you have commissioned one of our standard research packages, we will generally expect to deliver 2-4 weeks from the date of payment.  We can often agree a shorter deadline if research needs to be completed by a certain date. Bespoke book packages take longer and take from 4-12 weeks or keep pace with your payments if you have chosen to pay over a longer time period.

If we have agreed to work by the hour, the timescale will be based on the number of hours and the nature of the research required.  The time includes analysis and research, writing up results and producing family trees.  We will make sure you are regularly updated.


Unless you have commissioned a research package which are fixed prices, payment is calculated on the basis of an hourly rate.  This rate covers our time and access to a number of key, subscription-only genealogical resources.

Our hourly rate does not include additional disbursements such as the cost of ordering and copying certificates and other records, travel, visiting archives and so on.  It is not always necessary to incur additional costs; much depends on the nature of the commission.  In any event, we will not incur additional costs without contacting you first and explaining why we believe they are necessary. 

We are always happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have in this regard.  You will be invoiced for outstanding disbursements when the work has been completed.


Proof copies of bespoke books and trees larger than A3 size will be provided as PDFs and then as paper copies. Once this final draft copy has been approved by you, the final payment in your chosen package must be paid. The final copy of the book and/or tree will then be printed. Once this has been sent for printing IT CANNOT BE CHANGED so please check these draft copies very carefully. Any amendments, additions or alterations required after printing of the final copy must be paid for at an extra cost.


Payment must be made in advance before work can begin for all searches costing less than £150. For standard price packages a 50% deposit is required when ordering, with the final payment due on completion. Bespoke book packages can be paid for in instalments; details of how much these are and when they are due can be arranged when ordering.  Payment can be made by the secure site PayPal. Alternative payment methods can be arranged by direct bank transfer (BACS) or cheque. Please contact us if you cannot use PayPal and wish to use one of these alternative methods. 


We respect and will keep confidential the personal information to which we have access and will not divulge any information concerning a client’s family, business or personal affairs without prior consent.

We will not pass data to any 3rd party without your permission.  Neither will we publish the results of research for which clients have paid without prior consent. 


The copyright of all reports supplied remains with Search Your Past.  Copyright of documents remains with the original producer. Therefore all research material we deliver is for the sole use of you and your family and should not be reproduced either in hard copy or digitally.


As a full member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), we adhere to its rigorous code of practice in relation to any and all research we conduct for our clients, please see their website for further information.