I perform searches in all the main London repositories - Family Records Centre, Public Record Office, Society of Genealogists, City of London Archives, National Newspaper Collection, Guildhall Library and the archives of the various Livery Companies. I also carry out research in record offices and libraries throughout southwestern England most frequently in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire. Should tracing your family tree take me beyond this geographic range, then I am able to use the ordering and lending facillities of my local LDS Family History Centre, or to make use of a network of colleagues across the country.
I am also happy to provide photographs of important places in your family history - churches, streets, houses, tombstones, etc. etc. (I have even been known to supply pieces of pottery and glass recovered from the site of a client's ancestral home in a hamlet whose last inhabitant left in 1909!). Photographs can be supplied as conventional media, or as digital images.
My principal aim is to achieve an on-going relationship with each of my clients so that, given time (and money) together we can trace your family lines back as far as the existing records allow. With the tools and resources that are available it should normally be possible to trace a line from a parent or grandparent back three or four generations to the beginning of the nineteenth century for an outlay of 10 to 12 hours work over a period of about 3 months. Sometimes the effort involved is much more, sometimes, much less. My own paternal line is a classic example of both scenarios:
I traced easily back to my grandfather's birth certificate in 1864, but could find no earlier record of his father, John Dymond, than the 1861 census. It took me many fruitless hours over several years to match him with a John Dimond living some 15 miles away in the 1851 census, and giving his birthplace as somewhere completely different from that stated in 1861! Armed at last with knowledge of his birthplace and parentage, less than 4 hours study in Exeter Record Office took me back through four generations (and six different spellings!) of Hallsands fishermen to William DIAMOND and Joane TUCKER who married in 1714. Only the closing of the office on Friday afternoon prevented me going yet further back.
When I carry our lineage research for you, I will provide you with regular ( by e-mail or snail mail) reports on my progress, and at the end of the project will prepare a full report of my investigations, conclusions and suggestions for the direction of further research. This report may contain some or all of the following sections as you require:
- A calendar of every document examined and a transcript of all information gleaned from it (or a note of negative findings);
- A photocopy of every important document uncovered, or copy of Birth, Marriage or Death certificate (from 1837);
- A narrative of my thought processes for every individual and at every stage of my research, clarifying the individual's position in the research, how hypotheses were proved or disproved and how that led to the next stage of investigation;
- A pedigree chart showing the state of the research so far;
- A computer readable version of the pedigree with all source information (This may be in Family Tree Maker [FTM] or The Master Genealogist [TMG] format, or as a GEDCOM file for import into any other computerised system. GEDCOM files will be supplied on CD-ROM complete with a dedicated viewing system [GENViewer]);
- Photographs of important places in your family history;
- A detailed record of time spent in planning, repositories, analysis and report preparation together with a full record of all incidental disbursements.
- A set of set of suggestions for further steps in the research.
Are you planning to visit Britain to view your roots? Whether or not I have researched your family tree, I can help you plan your trip to England and Wales. I can ensure that you visit the right locations, stay at the most convenient hotels or Guest Houses. I can even accompany you to Record Offices so that you can have the pleasure of seeing the original material for yourself. Please e-mail me for more details of this service.