Ethics & professional memberships

As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, I am bound to their code of ethics.

I take all clients' privacy very seriously and will never use or retain details without express permission. I consider all reports and research confidential and  I will not share these without a client's written permission. For more details, please refer to my Privacy Policy.

Estimates and REVIEW of Documents

Before accepting any request for work, I will provide an estimate of the time and cost of the research. This allows me to check availability of records and gauge the size of the work required. As part of this, I will ask you for all the information that you already have, including any results of research carried out by any other professional genealogist or researcher. This will help prevent any duplication of research, which will save both time and money. 

There is no charge incurred for these estimates, and you are under no obligation to commission any work from me once they have been provided to you. All estimates will be valid for a period of 3 months (from date of estimate) and will provide a date on which I would be able to begin research.

While we endeavour to provide accurate estimates, it may be the case that once the actual research begins and more information is gathered, the estimate may need to be revised. This may lead to an increase in time and cost. If this occurs, it will be communicated to you immediately and no further research will be carried out without your approval.


If, after the estimate has been provided, you wish to commission me to undertake the work, I will ask you to sign a contract. This protects both of us, as it confirms our obligations to each other.

Sensitive issues

Before I begin any research, I will ask you if you want to have any potentially sensitive issues excluded from the research I present to you. These may include the following

· Family events: such as bigamy or illegitimacy.
· Legal events: such as bankruptcy or imprisonment.
· Medical events: such as insanity, or causes of death (including murders and suicides).

It should be noted, however, that the exclusion of some of these events may lead to an incomplete picture of the family. This can be discussed at any time before the work is completed to help decide what you want included, and the potential impact of that on the final product.

Unsuccessful searches

It is an almost inevitable result of any research that at some point, there will be unsuccessful searches. This happens for a number of reasons, such as the records being unavailable, a change of name or families simply not registering events.

All research, even that which does not yield positive results, will be charged. However, I will keep a record of all unsuccessful searches and provide these as part of the completed research. This will allow both you and I (and any future researcher who may be engaged) to see what research was attempted to prevent any duplication of future work.


All reports created as part of the research remain the copyright of Clare Fowler and express written permission must be sought to publish any part of this history in any format, printed or electronic.

As part of our contract, you must agree that you may only make a small number of personal copies of the copyrighted report, but may not otherwise publish or make multiple copies of the report without written permission. You must further agree that if you make limited distribution of any anything that includes my (Clare Fowler) research, in whole or in part, you will report it accurately and credit the source. All attributions, document footers and copyright statements must be retained in any copy made.

In addition, images included in any report may be subject to third-party copyright and should not be reproduced or sold on in any way without the express written permission of the copyright holder. 


I charge an hourly rate for individual research and report preparation. Full information on my charges are listed in the How it works section of this website. Any extra costs arising during the course of the research (for example, document copies or travel to an archive outwith Edinburgh) will be agreed with you in advance.

I accept payment by PayPal, UK cheque or by direct payment into my bank account.

I ask for a deposit in advance of any research work (usually 50% of the estimated cost) and the remaining amount upon completion (before sending the report on to you). If for some reason the final cost of the work is less than the deposit paid, a refund of the unused amount will be returned. 

It is also possible to arrange a schedule of payments over a period of months for some research. This can be discussed before any contract is signed.


Cancellation of the research may be initiated by me or the client by the terms set out in the contract.


While I will do my best to verify the records accessed during research, I cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies contained within those records. The accuracy of the record depends on the record creator and the information available to them at this time.


These terms and conditions are reviewed regularly. Last updated July 2016.