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Tuesday 17th October, 2023 | Author: Secretariat | Filed under: Good practice policies

Commercial genealogists

Commercial genealogists in the UK are professionals who specialise in researching family histories for clients. They use a variety of sources to trace ancestral roots and build family trees, including census records, birth, marriage, and death records, wills, and probate records, as well as more specialised sources like military service records, passenger lists, and newspaper archives.

The demand for commercial genealogists has grown in recent years, fuelled in part by the popularity of genealogy TV shows and online genealogy resources.

Many people are interested in learning more about their family history and hiring a professional genealogist can be a way to get more in-depth research done than they are able to do themselves.

There are a number of different types of commercial genealogists in the UK, from individual freelance researchers to larger firms with multiple researchers on staff.

Some genealogists specialise in particular regions or time periods, while others have expertise in specific types of records or research methods.

One of the advantages of hiring a commercial genealogist is their ability to access and interpret records that may be difficult for the average person to find or understand.
Professional genealogists are also trained to analyse and interpret the information they find, making connections and conclusions that may not be immediately obvious to others.

However, it's important to note that not all commercial genealogists are created equal. Some may have more experience or expertise than others, and there is no licensing or certification requirement for genealogists in the UK, but some are accredited members of the Association of British Investigators (ABI). Membership of the ABI signals a genealogist's commitment to professional standards and best practices.

It's important for potential clients to do their research and choose a genealogist who has a good reputation and track record of success.

Another consideration is cost. Hiring a commercial genealogist can be expensive. Clients should be clear about their budget and expectations upfront, and make sure they understand the genealogist's fees and billing practices before starting the research process.

Commercial genealogists in the UK often provide a range of services to their clients, from simple record lookups to in-depth research projects.

Some may offer a preliminary consultation to help clients identify their research goals and develop a plan for achieving them, while others may work on a more ad hoc basis, responding to specific requests as they arise.

In addition to researching family histories for individuals, commercial genealogists may also provide services to legal professionals, businesses, and other organisations.

For example, they may be hired to research genealogies for use in legal cases involving inheritance, property disputes, or immigration.

They may also assist businesses in researching their own histories or the histories of their employees or clients.

One important consideration for commercial genealogists is data protection.
Genealogists are often dealing with sensitive personal information, and must be careful to comply with relevant data protection laws and regulations.

They must also ensure that any information they share with clients is accurate and reliable, and that they do not infringe on the privacy rights of living individuals.

In summary, commercial genealogists in the UK provide a valuable service to individuals and organisations seeking to learn more about their family histories. While there is no licensing or certification requirement for genealogists, clients can take steps to ensure they are working with a reputable and experienced professional. With the right research skills and access to a range of records, commercial genealogists can help clients uncover fascinating stories and connections to their past.

For a referral to an accredited ABI member with the right skill to meet your requirements, click here.

Background to Genealogy

The study of family history and lineage has become an increasingly popular hobby in the UK over the past few decades.

With the rise of the internet and online databases, researching one's ancestry has become easier and more accessible than ever before.

In the UK, genealogy is particularly interesting due to the country's rich history and diverse population.

Many people are interested in tracing their family roots back to prominent figures in British history, such as royalty or famous politicians. Others are curious about their ancestors' origins in other parts of the world, particularly former British colonies such as India or Australia.

One of the most important resources for genealogical research in the UK is the General Register Office (GRO), which maintains records of births, marriages, and deaths dating back to 1837.

These records can be accessed online or in person at the GRO's headquarters in Southport, Merseyside.

In addition to the GRO, there are many other online resources available for genealogical research, including,, and The National Archives.
One unique aspect of genealogy in the UK is the tradition of parish registers, which record baptisms, marriages, and burials in individual parishes. These records can provide valuable information about one's ancestors, including their names, dates of birth and death, and sometimes even their occupations and addresses.

Many parish registers have been digitised and are available online, while others can be accessed in person at local archives.

Another important resource for genealogical research in the UK is the census, which has been conducted every ten years since 1841. The census records provide information about individual households, including the names, ages, occupations, and relationships of each person living there. Access to census records is restricted for 100 years after the census was taken.

In addition to these primary sources, there are many other resources available for genealogical research in the UK.

Local archives, historical societies, and libraries can provide access to a wealth of information about local history and individual families.

DNA testing has also become increasingly popular in recent years, providing a new tool for tracing one's ancestry and uncovering previously unknown relatives.

Genealogy in the UK has deep roots in the country's history and culture. The study of family history has been a popular pastime for centuries, with many families preserving records, photographs, and other artifacts that document their lineage.

In recent years, the rise of online databases and DNA testing has made it easier than ever for people to explore their family history and connect with distant relatives.

One of the challenges of genealogy in the UK is the sheer volume of records that must be sifted through to find relevant information.

In addition to the GRO, parish registers, and census records, there are also wills, probate records, military records, and immigration records to consider.

Each of these sources can provide valuable clues about one's ancestors, but it takes patience and persistence to piece together a complete picture of one's family history.

Another challenge of genealogy in the UK is the fact that many records were lost or destroyed over time. For example, some parish registers were destroyed during the English Civil War in the 17th century, while others were damaged by fire or water damage.

Similarly, many census records from the 19th and early 20th centuries were destroyed or lost due to lack of proper storage.

Despite these challenges, genealogy remains a popular and rewarding pursuit in the UK. It provides a window into the past, allowing people to explore their family history and gain a deeper understanding of their roots.

For many people, genealogy is not just a hobby, but a way of connecting with their heritage and preserving their family's legacy for future generations.

Overall, commercial genealogists can be a valuable resource for those looking to learn more about their family history. With the right research skills and access to a variety of records, genealogists can help clients uncover fascinating stories and connections to their past.