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RESEARCH SERVICE

I am a full-time Genealogist and Researcher with over 17 years experience. I have studied Social and Economic history and am particularly interested in how the social history of the time influenced our ancestor's lives.

I am a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, local Family History Societies, West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, BMSGH, The Black Country Society and the St John's Church Preservation Group. (The link for this group who are working together to save St John's Church, Kate's Hill, Dudley, is: http://www.savestjohnschurch.zoomshare.com/).  

I can provide a full family history which incorporates the social history of the areas in which your ancestors lived and its effect upon them, or, I can do hourly research which can also provide a professional assessment if you have encountered problems whilst tracing your own ancestors. My key objective is to provide a friendly, professional and affordable research service. Please send an email to mail@blackcountrygenealogyandfamilyhistory.co.uk if you require a personal quote - I will need precise details of the research you require. Please state clearly the relevant known facts, for example, full names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death, addresses and occupations etc. Do please ensure that you provide all the relevant information, defining anything that is not proven in order that I do not spend time establishing facts that you already know. Please note however, that your date of birth and the names of your parents is sufficient if you know very little. I will assess your information and send you an estimate of the cost for the research you require. 

I can research one individual, one surname, a complete family tree or any combination of surnames. I can also trace living individuals by conducting a forward search. I will be happy to provide you with a free consultation and quotation for the research you require which can be configured to meet your budget. I will remain in touch with you for the duration of your research. 

I also provide packages for which I require a deposit of 25% and the balance on completion. Alternatively, you may pay in instalments during the research period after an initial deposit of £50.00. The charge for the Premium package is £650* and encompasses all your direct ancestors and their children back to the late 1700's and earlier in some cases. This package includes ten certificates. If you require additional certificates, these will be at the standard charge detailed below. Additional information from Parish Records, Almanacks, Poll books, Trade Directories, Newspaper Articles and Passenger Lists, for example, will also be included where information is available. 

I will provide you with all documents found during my research, for example, all available census information for each of your ancestors, GRO reference numbers for births, marriages and deaths, copies from parish registers where available, passenger lists, military records and any other miscellaneous documents found or certificates obtained during my research. Additionally, I write detailed research reports explaining the results of my research, positive and negative, and these will be included with printed A4 Family Tree charts on premium quality white card. The aforementioned documents will provide you with details of where your ancestors were born, who they married, the children detailed on the censuses, where they lived and their occupations.

I use paper which is certified ISO9706 (Archival Guarantee) and a premium photo and document printer. 

*If the aforementioned information is sent by email, the charge is £500.

The ancestors included in this package are:  

Two Parents, Four Grandparents, Eight Great Grandparents, Sixteen Great Great Grandparents and Thirty Two Great Great Great Grandparents in some cases.* (This full family history can take up to six months but you will be kept fully informed of my progress). 

* The family history of each individual varies - a direct line may end due to illegitimacy for example. It is possible a birth was not registered or the child was taken in by another family under a different surname and is impossible to trace. In the event that a direct line cannot be completed, I will reduce the cost accordingly.

Primarily, I use Parish Records for my research - these can include Baptism, Banns, Marriage and Burial records.  (The image on the left is a copy of a page from the Baptism Register).   

Please note that where possible, I try to ascertain the year of death of each of your ancestors and will also endeavour to find all marriages of each individual. These appear to be two aspects of research that are sometimes overlooked by other genealogists or for which there is an extra charge. I have researched many family trees that contained more than one ancestor with two marriages and in a recently completed case, I traced three marriages for one person before his death at the age of 39! The marriages were in 1876, 1879 after the confirmed death of his first wife and 1887 after the confirmed death of his second wife. 

Important:

It is important for me to point out that positive results cannot be guaranteed. However, I always carry out an initial assessment of your requirements before accepting your initial payment. (Often births were not registered - a child may have been taken in by another family and names may have been changed. Additionally, our ancestors often gave incorrect information about their place of birth).

Also, records have been lost over the years and many have been damaged by natural causes e.g. decay. In the case of World War One War records, a high percentage were burnt or water damaged during a World War Two bombing raid in 1940. 

Please note that the highest standard of expertise will be used. I will always advise you if I believe a piece of information may be difficult to find and will use alternative record sources where possible.     

Past achievements are as follows: 

1) I provided a client with details of her grandfather's second marriage of which she knew of one child but nothing about his wife. I was able to provide full details of the grandfather's second wife and four children of which two died before the age of three. The mother and her two surviving children were taken to the workhouse by her husband in 1927 and she died five days later. The children were adopted soon after and remained together with another family until they each married. I traced the children of these marriages, all of whom are alive today and are half first cousins of my client.

2) I traced the deaths in America of three people whom my client had been unable to find any records for, despite employing someone previously to find the aforementioned information. I was also able to provide the inbound and outbound passenger lists and  details of the US Federal census returns. I applied on behalf of my client for the death certificates from the State in which his relatives had died, and on receipt, this brought closure to that part of his research.

3) I traced the maternal ancestors of a client who had been adopted in the 1960's. This was aided by the fact that the client had his original birth certificate, but hindered by the name Smith. I was able to make contact with a cousin on behalf of the client and he now has photos of his birth mother and family members. On the wishes of the birth mother, no contact was made with her but if ever she changes her mind, members of her family can contact my client on her behalf. An interesting aspect of this case was that the photo my client received from his cousin bears an uncanny resemblance to himself. 

4) Another client asked me if I could assist him by researching his paternal line. His father had left the family home before my client reached the age of seven, so he had very few memories other than those provided by his mother and grandparents. He wanted to know if his father was still alive because he felt ready to make contact with him. Sadly, the father had died in 1990. However, this gave closure to my client and I was able to provide details of his paternal ancestors back to 1769. 

At this point may I add that I will never pass a client's information to another living relative without the permission of the client. Nor will I pass the personal details i.e. address of a living relative to my client. I will require the consent of each party before putting them in touch with each other. I also comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. 

Some of the above cases relate to areas outside the Black Country. I am happy to consider research that falls in other areas dependent upon your requirements.     

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                                            Additional Services

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates:

I have become increasingly alarmed by the websites that are charging unreasonable amounts for obtaining certificates on your behalf. Certificates can be obtained from the GRO (General Register Office), using their standard service at a cost of £9.25 each if you provide the GRO reference number. A link to the page is:  http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/


Certificates can also be obtained from local Register Offices and the service provided  is excellent. I thoroughly recommend the website http://www.bmsgh.org/wmbmd/ which has a database that 'will eventually cover West Midlands births, marriages and deaths for the years 1837 to 1950 and beyond'. Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall already have extensive coverage. The database is a useful tool in your research, especially for marriages, because the name of the Church or Register Office where the marriage took place is provided in the search results. The cost for each certificate is £10.00 plus an envelope and stamp in which to send your completed form and a self-addressed stamped envelope for the certificate to be sent to you. Do please note, that often when entering the name of a local Register Office in a search engine, you will be taken to a page specific to the Register Office you require, but this is actually a website that has no connections with the Register Office. Their prices for certificates are up to eight times more than you need to pay! I note also that a high percentage of genealogists add a 'markup' to any certificates they apply for on your behalf - I totally disagree with this. 


If you would like me to obtain a certificate on your behalf and the year and date are known, there will be the standard charge of £10.00 plus a charge of £1.50 for p&p if the certificate is from a local Register Office or £9.25 if the certificate is obtained from the GRO. I will also do searches of the GRO pages at a cost of £1.00 per year.  


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Burial Records:

If the Church or Cemetery and date of death is known, the charge is £5.00 and this will include a copy of the printout from the Burial Register.

If the Church or Cemetery is not known, the charge will be £17.00 for a search of up to 12 Churches including Cemeteries in a given area. This can be carried out if the date of death is known but does not gurantee a result as your relative could have been buried in a different area without your knowledge. If a burial record is found, the printout will be included at no extra cost. If no record is found, the fee will still be payable. 

Please note that all burials must be within the area covered by Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Archives.   

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Location Photography

This will be at a charge of £20.00 for up to 10 photographs taken at a location in the Black Country and includes travelling expenses.  All photographs will be taken with a high specification camera.  

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Privacy Policy:

The information you provide to us for research purposes will never be passed on to private individuals or other companies, nor will any names be divulged on this website without the specific consent of the individual. No information about living individuals will ever be published on this website without the prior consent of that living person. 

Whilst we are able to trace living individuals, we will not pass on your contact details without your consent.



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