ASGRA - FAQ
Q. Why should I choose an ASGRA researcher?
A. ASGRA is the only association of accredited professional genealogists in Scotland and our members have all undergone tests proving their proficiency in genealogical and historical research. Our members adhere to a strict code of practice and you can thus be assured of professional, experienced and efficient assistance with your research.
Q. Is ASGRA linked to any other genealogical associations?
A. Yes, ASGRA is in partnership with its counterpart in England and Wales, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA). Many of our members also have valuable individual connections with other local and family history societies and ASGRA itself is a member of the Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS). We work closely with these organisations to ensure that we provide our clients with the best possible service.
Q. What sort of sources can a professional researcher access that I cannot view online?
A. The list is almost endless! Although many records of births, deaths and marriages are now available online (e.g. the Statutory Records and the Old Parish Registers (OPRs)), there are a wide range of other sources that can prove extremely valuable for your research and which are only accessible here in the Scottish archives. Among these some good examples are other church records – in particular perhaps the records of some of the other Presbyterian churches in Scotland.* It can sometimes also be worth consulting sources like Sasines (land owning records), university records, local estate papers (including rental and tenancy papers), wills and testaments, and court records (which can include almost anything - from court cases about debts to marriage contracts and deeds of apprenticeship). Searches of these types of records could reveal more detail about your ancestors and can help you to find out more about the lives they led.
Q. How far back can the researcher be expected to go with my family history?
A. Every family research project is different and much depends upon how much information you already have, and exactly what it is that you want to find out from the research. Our members will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed, but it is often a good idea initially to think about your own priorities for the research – e.g. are you interested in a particular person or line of the family, or do you want a broad initial survey undertaken. The progress backwards in time depends entirely on the availability of source material and it is impossible to predict with complete accuracy in advance how far the research will take you – but that, of course, is part of the joy of discovery!
Q. What could commissioning research into my family history cost me?
A. This will vary on a case by case basis and depends entirely upon the type of work that is being commissioned. Our members will be able to advise you in more detail about their own fees and charges but, as a general guide, prices will start from a minimum of £22 per hour.
Q. What Methods of Payment does ASGRA use?
A. As an association ASGRA does not proscribe set methods of payment and this is something that should be agreed in advance between each individual client and researcher.
* Secession Churches were still Presbyterian but were formed by congregations breaking away from the Established Church during the 18th century, culminating in the largest split in 1843 when the Free Church of Scotland came into being. It can also often be worth consulting the records of other Dissenting Churches or those from Independent Churches, many of which date from the 18th century.