Local and Family History Research

I am a researcher and genealogist. I specialise in building family trees, researching WW1 war memorials and individual soldiers, and the history of the Kennet and Avon Canal. I am currently working towards a Masters in Local and Family History.

Family history is a fascinating hobby, but it is not a skill that everyone has the time or inclination to learn. You need to understand the techniques and software you are using, and also the nature of records, archives, and palaeography.

If you would like to have a go, but don’t know where to start, I can help!

If you don’t feel you can undertake the research yourself, I can do it for you:

  • Initial consultation

I usually begin with a free consultation, up to an hour, to establish what you would like to achieve, and to collect existing information. This can be done by telephone, or I can travel locally to meet you.

  • Research by the hour

I can conduct research for you either as solo work (I’ll get more done that way!) or tutoring work (I work alongside you, so you can learn how to operate the software, and constantly review your goals and priorities). You can purchase from 1 hour to 100 hours for yourself, or as a gift package. Most of my clients like to begin with a block of about 10 solo hours, which is enough to give some worthwhile results, and a good springboard for further research. My hourly rate is £12 per hour plus expenses.

  • Fixed price packages

I do not offer fixed price packages, because needs, expectations, and results are so varied! As a guide, it might take eight to ten hours to follow one family line (e.g. your father, his father, his father’s father, etc.) back to the mid 1800s. A full five generation tree, including all 30 of your direct ancestors, aunts, auncles and cousins, might take upwards of 50 hours, depending on the level of detail required.

  • Sources

I use a variety of sources, online and offline. My visits to our county archive (the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre), local studies libraries, and museums. are included in my costs.

  • Additional costs

Sometimes it is desirable, necessary, and time saving, to purchase records, especially birth, marriage and death certificates. These often provide proofs or fascinating details which are not available elsewhere. At £9.25 per certificate for the General Register Office, and £35 for a typical Wiltshire military archive search, costs can add up quickly. You can set a maximum budget for extras, or I can check back with you each time I think it would be beneficial to purchase something.

  • What will you get?
  1. A linear tree showing the line you wanted to research, or a beautiful fan tree showing all your direct line ancestors.
  2. A written report giving all the information I have found for each family member (this varies from simple names, dates and locations, to a great deal of extra information, depending on what records survive). I can add photographs to the report if required. I can also prepare the report for ‘on demand’ printing by yourself or family members.
  3. Detailed sources which prove the information provided.
  4. Copies or transcriptions of all the source documents.

I can also offer specialist WW1 research, including both individual soldiers and large scale war memorial projects. For a budget of about £250 to £350 I can produce a full report on a soldier, his family, his service history, and the circumstances surrounding his death, if applicable. I am happy to consider larger projects including researching war memorials. You can see examples of my research on www.woottonbassettinthegreatwar.uk.

My research is always of a high standard, but can only be as good as the documentary clues that have been found. Further research, newly available records, or more accurate transcriptions, may disprove earlier findings. I never rely on other people’s research, and I always make sure that you know of any doubts or suppositions in my work.

Sheridan Parsons