Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you get the information from?

Research is conducted using various sources back to when civil registration began in 1837 and prior to this date by visiting county record offices that covered where your family lived as well as all of the London repositories such as The National Archives, Society of Genealogists, The Guildhall Library, Westminster Archives, The British Library and the Principle Probate Registry.

  • General register office civil records of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales from 1837.
  • Census returns 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911.
  • The International Genealogical Index (IGI).

Research can also be conducted in other sources including:

  • Parish registers of England and Wales for baptisms, marriages and burials
  • Bishops transcripts
  • Non-conformist records and naturalisation and immigration documents
  • Parish chest material.
  • Scottish birth, marriage and deaths from 1855.
  • Scottish parish registers.
  • Scottish census returns from 1841.
  • Military records.
  • Wills and probate.
  • Historical directories.
  • Maps and surveys.
  • Many other forms of documentation recorded on your ancestors.

How far back can you go?

Research can take your ancestors back using the sources for 19th and 20th Century Research and most families can be found taking the research back this far. As research progresses and information is found you can take the research further back into parish registers and parish records. Due to age and other damage that may have occurred over time, some records have not survived. Parish registers can take your family back to the 16th Century. It was at this time that England broke away from Rome and Thomas Cromwell was ordered by the King to keep baptism, marriage and burial registers for all parishes in England and Wales. Records this far back in history had omissions whereby people had not registered a baptism, marriage or burial and some registers were illegible and due to this you would be very fortunate for your family to be found this far back in history. Some parish registers for the earlier period have not survived and so other documentation may need to be researched to see if your family could be found in the parish such as manorial records. Parish registers and Parish records are held at local County Record Offices of where your family originated.

What will I receive if I order a Family Tree Package?

If you order a family tree package the information that will be included will be the birth, marriage and death certificates for your family members. Please be aware that sometimes it is not possible to find death certificates. You will also receive all available census returns for your family. All of this information will be compiled into a full report including information found on the children of each couple. Your package will also include a tamily tree of your direct ancestors. If the family tree encroaches on parish registers then these copies will also be included in the package. Any other material found online for your ancestors will be included in the report.

What will I find out about my family?

No family is the same in research, but in most cases you would find out birth, marriage and death dates of your family members and the areas that they lived. I will aim to discover information such as what children your ancestors had, where they lived and their occupations and this information can be found from census returns. From the records you would be able to find out whether they were poor or wealthy. If your family left a will these would be obtained and wills can give a lot of information about your family. If the death certificate was obtained this would reveal what your ancestor died of and also where they died. Depending on your family other information can be found such as military records of the 1st World War, occupation records, information from historical directories. Information that can be found varies between each family.

Can I have photographs added to my Family History Package?

You can provide us with photographs of your family and these can be incorporated into your final report.

Can I have a copy of my Family Tree?

A copy of your family tree will be included within your report. Depending on the size of the family history this will be either A4 size or A3 size.

Is payment made only on the results that you find?

No. Payment is on the basis of the time it takes to research your family.  This time is irrespective of the result.  Some searches may have a negative result but you would still need to pay me for my time spent researching.

Can I upload my report to the internet?

The copyright of all reports supplied remains with Lisa Dunbar at Past Discoveries. Reports are for your sole and family use only and may not be reproduced in any form whether it be hard copy or digitally. Your report is my copyright and it may not be uploaded to the internet ie. on or on your personal website in whole or part without my express permission. The report cannot be sold to a third party.

What will I receive if I order Bespoke Research with you?

For the bespoke research I will liaise with you about what you want researched. Depending on the years being searched this would include copies of all GRO certificates or parish registers, all census Information found and any other material pertaining to your family such as military records, wills and any other information found. All of the information will then be compiled into a report. A family tree will be included where this is possible for the research undertaken.

How long does the Research take?

When ordering your research I would give an indication of when your research project would begin. For a full family tree to be researched, an estimation would be given of about six weeks. Bespoke research would take less time and will be dependent on the amount of research required. I would let you know an estimated time of when the research would be begin.

Can I use the report for any legal claim regarding a dispute of beneficiaries?

Past Discoveries does not undertake any work regarding Heir Searches or for the purposes of tracing beneficiaries or any such work whereby there are disputes regarding descendants of any deceased person. Past Discoveries will not be liable for any work undertaken whereby this has not been disclosed or mentioned at the beginning of research.

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