The conclusion of the presentation from January and February:
We now need to consider why you should use an experienced firm and not rely on amateur or part-time genealogists. Since genealogy has taken off on television, and birth, marriage and death records have been computerised, there has been a steady increase in amateurs ‘having a go’, the perception being that compiling a family tree is just a case of typing a few names into a computer. However, there are dangers with computerised records and an experienced genealogist will take account of these in their research. An established firm does not rely on internet search engines and will ensure that all their genealogists’ skills are honed by manually searching the indexes. For example, the ability to spot a slight misspelling of a name is possible when the page is in front of you but cannot always be factored into the parameters employed by a search engine.
It also remains really important for genealogists to obtain copies of birth, marriage and death certificates and probate documents. Unlike an amateur, professionals cannot rely on the memories of beneficiaries or the basic information found in genealogical databases. Certificates are essential documents which prove the entitlement of beneficiaries, confirming that they are indeed related to the deceased and not simply sharers of the same surname. Certificates also provide vital evidence that a line of the family has terminated without any living heirs. An informant on a death certificate or the witnesses to a marriage can be vital in resolving a line of the family and a will can often be invaluable in confirming the extent of kin on a stem. An experienced genealogist is able to judge which certificates are essential for research and at a cost of almost ten pounds each, this is a highly useful skill to have. They will also have dispensation to access some certificates which are restricted to the general public. Apart from all of these skills, an established firm will provide comprehensive genealogical reports with which missing beneficiary insurance can be obtained and they should also of course have their own professional indemnity insurance.
Last but by no means least, for us probate genealogy is not just about heir hunting. We are always mindful that every case involves a person who has passed away leaving family. The relationship on the family tree may appear to be distant but the personal relationship between the deceased and the beneficiary may have been close in years gone by. There is never an ideal way to convey news of the death of a relative and every situation is different, but a firm of long standing will take pride in a professional and sensitive approach.
In summary, a probate genealogist is your expert when it comes to ensuring that all of the correct entitled beneficiaries are found. We offer a variety of fee options suitable for your estate and our company ethos is to be your working partners from the outset to the conclusion, from our free and no obligation assessment of a case to assisting with the distribution account if required.