How does my service differ from other providers of similar services ?
- It is cheaper than many of them.
- My service is flexible to suit your needs and requirements, based on what you want me to do, rather than on what I want you to have.
- I always begin by discussing it with you (by email) before you pay any money. You send all the information that you have about the ancestor in question, and I tell you whether that is enough information, and what you can expect for various prices, given how common that surname is in that part of Scotland.
- Other people will not take the case without the subject's full name, approximate date and place of birth, and preferably parents' names. I have (twice) traced the ancestors of a man who ran away from home as a boy and changed his name, over a century ago. In both cases, the descendants did not realise that he had changed his name. In once case, a lot of information about his family was passed down to his daughters. In the other case, his Australian marriage certificate gave the street address of his place of birth. See here for the amount of detail required for this type of search.
- I will always inform you if I know that you can get what you want cheaper from some other source. Some of my rivals charge £16 for a certificate which you could have bought for £10 from GROS.
- I will not waste your money doing anything that you could have done for yourself (unless you want me to), but only the parts that you have to be in Edinburgh to do. (Note - if you want me to do Internet searches, I can do so - at my usual hourly rate plus any Internet search fees). In particular, I will supply reports and family trees by email for you to print out yourself, unless you particularly want me to print and post them.
- The emphasis of my service is on providing the information, particularly information which can only be found in Edinburgh, and not on providing glossy colour reports bound in shiny folders which take weeks to produce. I will send you the information immediately by email. (That is immediately after I have done it, not immediately after you have placed the order).
- I will send interim reports at the end of each search session, in case you wish to change the direction of the search after reading the initial discoveries. (It is unlikely that your research will all be done on the same day).
- I will not run up a huge bill for things that you do not necessarily want, then refuse to give you anything until you pay it. You pay in advance, tell me what you want in advance, and inform me if you change your mind about any part that I have not yet done. (Too late if I have already done it).
- If all that you want is transcripts of the information from the documents, you would not have to pay for anything other than that (e.g. expensive certified copies). The time that I have to spend searching for the right documents and transcribing them (plus New Register House's fee) would be the only cost - not the cost of writing and printing a glossy bound report if you did not want one.
- A written-up report giving the history of your family, with some local history of the area and copies of old photos of what it used to be like can be arranged, as an optional extra. If you do not have access to a printer, I can print it out and air-mail it to you. However, it would normally be cheaper (and quicker) for you to print it out at your end.
- You may have the reports in any or all of the following formats - Word.doc or RTF (ready to print out), plain text (to import into a non-standard word processor), HTML (ready to put straight onto your own web page), or printed out on paper. You may also want a series of linked HTML files (one per person), to put on your web page (or to send to Gendex, GenCircles, etc.)
- You may also have the information as a gedcom file, to splice into your own genealogy research. (Or I can do the splicing for you, at no extra charge, if you send me your original gedcom file).
- My customers also receive a free copy of my own genealogy software. (Not yet commercially available). It uses gedcom, and is compatible with most of the commercial programs.
The main differences between this program and those that are commercially available now are:
- It is written in Java, and will run on any platform which has the Java Runtime Environment installed.
- If you want it to do anything differently, or anything extra, just tell me. Especially for customised output formats.
- You can do entry and editing of data, drawing and printing of family trees and generation of linked HTML web pages and reports - all in one program.
- My work for you is confidential. Although I reserve the right to publish elsewhere the results of my searches, I will not include information about you, anything that your ancestor did after emigrating or anything about living people. If your ancestors turn out to be an embarrassment to you, I will not tell anyone that they are YOUR ancestors. (You, of course, are free to do whatever you choose with the information).
- I am not a Mormon, and will not try to alter the religion of your ancestors.
Back to Fiona's Finding Service
- There is a minimum charge of £10 per customer. (I have to pay fares and search fees by the day, not by the hour), so do not ask me for just one certificate. (Who wants to stop after one anyway ?)
- I do not start the work until the first payment has been received. (That is mainly because I start giving you interim reports immediately. My rivals who start the work first and run up a bill give you nothing until the final report).
- I can only take payment in foreign currency if it is by PayPal - not non-UK cheques.
- Although I am a qualified researcher with 20 years research experience, my Ph.D. was not in genealogy. (Note - you do not need to be a genealogist to look through dozens of birth certificates to find the few children with the right parents). My previous work in mesh connectivities and networks might not strike you as relevant, but it is not so different actually.
- My service is provided in Scotland. That means births, marriages and deaths taking place in Scotland only. I can look up the English indexes for you, but it is not possible for me to see an English certificate without buying it at full price.
- I do not do cemeteries, burial grounds, tombstones, etc. I can look up burial records and gravestone inscriptions, but do not ask me to visit the grave.
- If it turns out that any of your ancestors came to Scotland from England or Ireland at an earlier stage, I will probably not be able to trace them further back. The English online records are rather inadequate (so far), and most of the Irish ones were lost in a fire in 1922.
- I can't do anything for you other than search through records and libraries. I am only a Finding Service. I can't find your cousins and look up their family bible. I only find things that are here in Edinburgh. However, there are a lot of things here in Edinburgh which can only be found by somebody searching in person. You will not be able to get those things from non-Edinburgh sources.