Terms and Conditions

Your Information and Instructions


1          Your contract and family information is treated as strictly confidential and will not be provided to any other person or organization without your permission.  If you wish me to communicate with anyone other than you regarding your family research, I will first require your written permission to do so.


2          I may from time to time ask your permission to publish extracts from my research on my website and social media sites.


3          Before beginning any research I will confirm your instructions in writing and my understanding of any specific requests before commencing the research.


4          If you provide details of any previous research it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy to avoid any research being inadvertently repeated, unless you specifically instruct me to check its accuracy.  Any effort expended during the course of the research which leads to information you already know, or have found yourself but have not disclosed prior to research starting, will still be billed.


5          You understand that I cannot guarantee I will be able to find any particular person(s), family, event or other information and that I cannot predict how successful a search will be, if at all.  If a search is unsuccessful I reserve the right to charge for my time in conducting such a search.


My commitment to you


6          I offer family history research of the highest quality, delivered in such a way as to ensure clients are happy with the service they receive and feel involved at every stage.


7          I will not exceed the time commissioned by your without prior agreement.


8          I undertake to report findings of the research with detailed source citations of the information obtained, including detail of the unsuccessful searches.


9          Where research is not successful I will provide information of the avenues that have been explored.


10        Paid time for any commission includes research, analysis, drawing charts and written report times.


11        If in the course of my research it becomes clear that research has reached an insurmountable hurdle, I may offer a partial refund of the payment received.  This will depend on the length of time spent on the commission before coming to this conclusion.


12        In the case it becomes clear that research will not take as long as initially expected or research cannot progress as anticipated, any unused pre-paid research hours will be refunded to the client.


13        It may be necessary on some commissions for me to instruct other researchers as a necessity, either because of the distance to the area in which the records are held or because of a need for a particular subject specialism. In such cases, the researchers will be carefully selected based on their suitability and quality of work, and you will be consulted prior to them being instructed.


14        I remain the primary contact on all commissions and oversee all research conducted under the banner of Linda Newey BA DipGen QG of Four Oaks Genealogy.


Professional Standard


15        As a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG), I abide by their Professional Code.


16        As an Associate of The Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives (AGRA), I abide by their Code of Practice.

Payment terms

 17        For any commission,  on receipt of instructions an invoice will be issued for a down                          payment of 50% which is required in advance.  The remaining balance becomes due on                    completion of the work, before the report and any of the supporting documentation is                      sent to you.


Additional expenses


18        Travel expenses to Record Offices, Archives and the like are based on the current charge for the most direct return route using public transport. 


19        You will be informed, in advance, of any travel time exceeding two hours from my address, which will also be charged at 50% of my current rate, per hour.  This condition only applies to standard, scheduled travel times and you will not incur extra charges for delays caused by public transport operators on the day of travel.

20        GRO Registration Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates are obtained at the current full cost price from The General Register Office as either a Pdf or paper copy, depending on availability and your requirements.


21        Other additional expenses, which include for example obtaining Archive photo permits, photocopies or Parish Register copies, will be agreed with you and obtained only after your consent.


22        Documents are supplied at cost price and will not be purchased without prior agreement and payment from you.


23        Any Additional Expenses as outlined in 18 – 22 above, will be itemised on the invoice, and paid for in full, in advance.  If for any reason any of these pre-paid expenses are not then incurred at the time of the commission, the amount will be deducted from the final balance due.


Likelihood of Success


24        It should be noted that it is sometimes not possible to trace a family history as far back as expected or find the expected information in a document for a particular event.  Research time includes any time spent searching, resulting in negative outcomes.  However, all research may be considered positive if it is viewed that a particular document, event or direction of enquiry has been ‘ruled out’.  Any negative outcomes will be included in my report.




Your rights


25        You have the right to cancel your agreement with me at any time during fourteen working days immediately following the day that you respond by email.  It is in your interests that I start work as soon as possible.  Please note therefore, that by signing and confirming by email, you authorise me to start work immediately.  This means if you later chose to exercise your right to cancel, you must do so in writing by completing the Cancellation From attached [see page 6] and returning to me at Four Oaks Genealogy. You will be liable to pay for the work I have done up to the date you cancel.  The amount due will be deducted from any payment you have made to me and any balance remaining will be returned to you within 14 working days of the date of cancellation.


My Rights


26        I reserve the right to decline cases where I consider the likelihood of success to be low, e.g. if the only information were to be the starting point of “his name was John Smith and he was born in the UK about 1900”.

27        If payment is not made under the terms of this agreement and/or any invoice submitted to you, I reserve the right to cancel your instructions and discontinue work on your behalf.  Any outstanding payments will however remain outstanding.


28        Failure to pay may result in dispute resolution and/or court proceedings to recover any outstanding fees, which may in themselves result in further costs being paid by you.


29        If I have not received a reply from email within 14 days I shall assume that you do not wish to proceed, and will take no further action.


Limitation of Liability


30        Documents are provided and interpreted on an “as is” basis and I do not accept responsibility for any errors in those documents.


31        My liability for any actual, incidental, indirect or consequential loss or damage howsoever caused, is limited to the value of the contract.


32        The services of any third party instructed to assist in the research process are subject to these terms and conditions.  If they require you to agree to their own terms and conditions, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood them and you agree that any recourse for dissatisfaction or problems with any third party research will be sought from the third party provider.




33        Any documents prepared by me in the process of my research, including any charts, reports, transcriptions and translations remain my copyright and should not be published without my prior consent.


34        Any material which has been digitised by and obtained from websites, remains the copyright of the individual website and will be fully acknowledged in my work. It should not be further published.


35        Birth, Marriage and/or Death Certificates provided by the relevant Register Office of England and Wales, Scotland or Ireland, either in Pdf digital format or certified paper copies of the originals, will be obtained by me acting as your agent and always remain in your ownership.  Certificates remain the copyright of the Crown and will be fully acknowledged in my work.


General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)


36        By agreeing to these terms and conditions you agree to me holding the personal details of you and your family (as are necessary for the purposes of research) and as I am required to retain by law for a minimum period of 5 years.

Complaints Procedure


37        In the unlikely event of you not being 100% happy with the research received I will endeavour to address any issues as quickly as possible and agree a recompense where appropriate.  If I am unable to resolve your complaint satisfactorily I would refer you to the RGQ’s Resolution Procedure which can be found at the Register of Qualified Genealogists.


Applicable Law


38        The law applicable to this agreement shall be the law of England and Wales. 




39        Any notices should be addressed to and served on Linda Newey BA DipGen QG, Four Oaks Genealogy, 113 Blackberry Lane, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B74 4JF.




40        If, for any reasons of injury or ill health rendering me unable to work, I am unable to complete your instructions, I will provide a full report of work carried out to date along with full supporting information and documentation.  I will also provide my written consent for such report, information and documentation to be provided to an alternative genealogist/family historian of your choosing.  You agree to pay for all work completed up to that date and where pre-payment is made, any balance, after deduction for the work carried out, the balance will be returned within 14 days.

41        If, for reasons of my death, I am unable to complete your instructions, my Executors will provide a copy of the work carried out to date along with full supporting information and documentation as they are able to ascertain from my research records.  In those circumstances these terms and conditions provide my written consent for such information and documentation to be provided to an alternative genealogist/family historian of your choosing.  You agree to pay for all work completed up to that date and where pre-payment is made, any balance, after deduction for the work carried out, the balance will be returned as soon as ever possible, subject to the laws of probate.



42        These terms and conditions are based on a template created by the Register of                  Qualified Genealogists.

The type and style of a commission can vary depending on your needs, your budget and possibly on what the research reveals.  Any piece of work, whatever the size, would be written out as a methodically researched report.   

I could help with one off pieces of research such as those stubborn ‘brick walls’,  a customised commission or you could choose one of the ‘Four Oaks Genealogy’ packages, presenting family history for an agreed number of generations. 

If you have conducted previous research yourself, this can be incorporated into the report.  However, good genealogical practice would mean that I would need to revisit the records myself.  Whilst this might appear to be duplicating work, it  would not necessarily take that long, but will ensure that the report is fully referenced.  Of course, if you have already obtained documents such as birth certificates, this could help cut down the overall cost. 

Please see my full Terms and Conditions.


I must stress that despite any genealogist’s best efforts, some ancestors simply remain elusive, and I cannot guarantee that records exist or will be found for every ancestor or event.  

Therefore the cost for research will be payable even if nothing is found.  

If individuals or relevant records cannot be found for the Two, Three or Four Oaks packages, alternative arrangements agreed with the client will be made in order to make a suitable alternative family tree report.  

What is guaranteed is that whatever the size of the commission, it will result in a methodically researched report, including all negative results from searches made. This will enable future researchers the benefit of knowing what work has been previously completed. 

Please see my full Terms and Conditions.

Most importantly, whatever the size or style of your report, the hours needed and therefore the costs would be agreed in advance, enabling you to stay in charge of your budget at all times. 

I  keep you informed of progress at key stages of the commission, and would only proceed beyond your original remit with your consent.

Costs are based on full hours, and there is a minimum of one hour for any commission. 

The total time calculated for any commission includes the time required for research and also the time for writing up the report.   

Please ask for detail of my current charges.

I request half of the total cost of research plus any additional expenses to be paid in advance.

The balance is due on completion of the commission, and the report will be submitted to the client on receipt of the balance.   

Additional charges would include for example; obtaining GRO birth, marriage and death certificates (either £7 digital or £11.00 paper copy) or wills (£10).  Other records may incur a charge, but this will be agreed with the client before they are obtained.  

If a visit to a record office or archive is required, then public transport costs will also be charged,  travel time (if over two hours one way) and costs for archive photo permits or photocopies.  

The report is supplied as a Pdf at no extra charge to the client. 

If hard copies are required, this can be arranged on request and would incur charges such as printing, materials and postage. 

See my ‘Gift ideas and genealogy packages’.

Please see my full Terms and Conditions.

By cheque, BACS or PayPal (for overseas)

Please see my full Terms and Conditions.

All information you provide will be treated securely, in confidence and will not be shared with anyone else.  

Please see my full Terms and Conditions.

Choose one of my family tree packages to make an ideal gift and something that will last as a treasured family heirloom

As an example:

The ‘Four Oaks’ Package could possibly identify your ancestors dating back to the late 18th century.  Based on a total of 20 hours at my current rate per hour and the cost of certificates, the ‘Four Oaks’ package comprises  a research report, a narrative report including citations, a pedigree chart, enclosures which include records from the early 20th century and 19th century such as census returns and up to 15 original General Register Office certificates (see charges).  

Where possible, each of the three packages on offer include identifiable siblings for each generation,  historical maps and can incorporate family photos if available.

The package is provided as a FREE pdf. It can also be provided as a professionally printed report using archival quality paper and presented in a smart family tree binder (prices are variable).  

Please contact me for further information.

After your initial enquiry,  and possibly further consultation, I will draw up a ‘free of charge’ plan for research, and provide you with the potential time scale and costs. 

I need to see all previous relevant research and copies of documents either emailed or posted at your own expense.  

This will ensure I can provide a satisfactory assessment, and therefore an accurate  quote for the commission for the research and report.