Terms of Business
This page sets out my terms of business, so that you know what to expect if you hire me.
Ethics and Privacy
I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and have undertaken to abide by their Code of Ethics. I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office under the Data Protection Act, registration reference Z3618532.
Hiring a Professional
The APG have produced a very helpful leaflet called Hiring a Professional which explains what to expect from a professional researcher.
Before starting work I will send a research agreement for your approval and electronic signature, using Adobe EchoSign.
Avoiding Duplication of Information
Before research begins, I need to identify the information you already possess. It is important you share everything you know at this stage. If you do not, and I end up researching things you already know, it will be a waste of my time and your money.
It is impossible to predict whether research will produce the desired results. Because I put in the work, I have to charge for the time spent, even if I draw a blank.
Family history is not for the easily shocked. If you do not wish to learn uncomfortable information about your ancestors then it is best not to start researching them. Many families have a skeleton in their closet and I have blogged about my own black sheep. The APG Code of Ethics prevents me "withholding, suppressing, or knowingly misquoting or misinterpreting sources or data", so if I find such information I must report it.
All factual information in my research reports can be freely used but, under British law, copyright in the report as a whole belongs to me. I am happy for clients to share my work privately but do ask that you seek my agreement if you want to publish what I have written, including online. This is to protect my intellectual property - the way in which I have conducted my research, the discoveries I have made and how I have structured my analysis and arguments. Without copyright, someone could pass my work off as their own and take credit for it. They could also benefit financially. Copyright also protects my professional reputation, as without it someone could alter my work whilst attributing it to me. Others might then judge me to be a poor researcher on the basis of what I had supposedly written.
My preferred method of payment is by direct bank transfer into my account. I also accept sterling cheques. I regret that I am unable to accept bank transfers or cheques in currencies other than sterling and ask my overseas clients to pay by PayPal. This is subject to an additional 5% charge to cover PayPal fees. Depending on the costs of research and location of the client, I may ask for payment before work begins.