Researching the ancestry of friends and family has been a passion of mine for years – a bug I must have inherited from my father. This bug has grown to become Hillbrook Genealogy, a part of Hillbrook Consulting.
I take the same interest in the family trees of Hillbrook Genealogy’s clients as I do my own. Typically we focus on specific client questions, such as:
- How far back in time can you trace my family?
- Where does my surname originate from?
- Who was my grandfather / grandmother / great-aunt? etc.
- Can you find out more about person X in my family?
- We were always told X about Y – was this true or just a family myth?
- Am I connected with royalty?
- How were my family affected by the two World Wars?
- My research has hit a brick wall, can you break through it?
Some questions are easier to answer than others, and inevitably answering one questions only leads to more. We have had some great successes over the years, including reuniting lost family members and proving (sometimes disproving) supposed relationships with historic figures.
In all cases we back up our conclusions with documentary evidence and provide suggestions for further study.
How we help you
When taking you on as a genealogy client, our first meeting (whether in person, online or over the phone) is about understanding your goals. Then we look at what documentary evidence you may already have in your possession that may help in achieving those goals – for example letters, photographs, medals, diaries, certificates of birth, marriage and death, etc. And finally what you might call ‘hearsay’ – those family tales of which you are more or less certain.
Having established the basis for the research we then get to work assessing the likelihood of your goals being achieved in a reasonable timescale. This takes about a week, during which we may have some follow-up questions. At this time there is no commitment required from you to proceed.
Only after this initial investigation is concluded, and only if we believe we can successfully help you, will we agree a paid-for research project with you. If at this point you decide not to proceed, that is perfectly OK.
The project we agree with you will have specific goals, so you know exactly what you are getting for your money. We will also give you an estimate for how long the research will take. We typically suggest the following payment structure:
- 20% non-refundable deposit upfront
- 60% on reaching project goals as agreed
- 20% for follow-up lines of enquiry
The final 20% is for additional avenues of enquiry which often occur during the process of research and which you may want us to follow up. This gives you the flexibility to add new goals to the agreed project, while not letting the project itself slip behind because extra requirements keep getting added to it.
Whilst we would love to provide you with a fixed price list, the reality is that no two projects are the same – each is bespoke to your requirements and we do not provide off-the-shelf packages. However, to give you an idea of costs some of our recently concluded projects are as follows.
Client A had two objectives: find their biological father’s identity and re-establish contact with any living half-siblings. The project lasted two months, and was successful. Total cost: £300.
Client G had two objectives: identify their maternal grandfather (along with his war service record) and trace the family line bearing the client’s surname back to 1700 or before. The project lasted three months and was successful. Total cost: £450.
Client B had one objective: to conclusively prove or disprove their family relationship with a famous historical preacher. The project lasted one month and was not successful (while a relationship seemed unlikely we were not able to rule out a distant connection). Total cost: £40.