Ethics and Privacy
We will keep confidential any information about living people or sensitive matters which are not already a matter of public record.
You can purchase the Basic Package that will cover the following services: review of the available information, interview, and initial assessment.
You can either start with Basic Package and decide at a later time whether you would like to proceed further or you can begin with signing a Research Agreement with us. We will send you a draft research agreement for approval. The agreement will set out the objectives of the research, the number of hours you wish to authorize, terms of payment, the format and time frame for reporting, and will include sections on ethics, privacy and copyright. Once you approve the research agreement on the website we will sign and send it to you for your records.
Avoiding Duplication of Information
We will spend some time with you before research begins, identifying what information you and your family already possess. It is important that you share everything you know at this stage. If you do not and we end up researching things you already know, it will be a waste of time and money.
It is impossible to predict in advance whether research will produce the desired results. Because we put in the time and effort to do the research, we have to charge for time spent on research, even if it draws a blank. However, we will always try to keep time spent on unproductive research to an absolute minimum. Rather than proceed, we will stop work and report back to you to explain the problem and receive further instructions.
Family history research is not for the easily shocked. If you are not prepared to uncover uncomfortable or embarrassing information about your ancestors than it is best not to start researching them. Our Code of Ethics requires us to “refrain from withholding, suppressing, or knowingly misquoting or misinterpreting sources or data,” so if we find such information when researching, we must report it to you.
All factual information in our research reports can be freely used but, under American law, copyright in the research report as a whole belongs to the author. We are happy for clients to share our reports privately but do ask that you seek the author’s agreement if you wish to publish what we have written. Custom charts that we may provide are also copyrighted. Again, the facts included in the charts can be shared freely but the look and design of the charts belong to us.
We ask this to protect our intellectual property, the way in which we have conducted our research, the discoveries we have made and how we have structured our analysis and arguments. Without copyright someone could pass off our work as their own and take credit that rightfully belongs to us. They could also benefit financially from our work by reselling it in printed or digital form.
Copyright protects our professional reputation. Without it, someone could publish our work in a truncated, altered or misleading form, while attributing it to us. Others might then judge us to be poor researchers on the basis of what we had supposedly written.
Initial nonrefundable payment of $200 is required upfront for us to start working on a case.
Our preferred method of payment is PayPal, which handles all monetary conversions for us. We will issue an invoice with a link to the company PayPal account for payment.
Ethics and Privacy