- Have you reached the end of the line in tracing your ancestors?
- Do you have a mass of family history information that needs organising?
- Or maybe you have an online family tree that you'd like to turn into a real book?
- Are you looking to create a lasting document of your family's past to hand on to the next generation?
We can help you to draw together the whole story into a single, readable volume: a professionally written Family Biography.
Just as each family is unique, we believe that each family history deserves individual and thoughtful treatment. A Debrett Family Biography will be tailored to your specific interests and produced in the format that you choose.
Each biography will include a detailed family tree chart and we can also arrange to have this printed on acid-free paper, suitable for framing.
The finished book will not just state what happened and where, but will seek to explain why a family moved to a particular location, or why their fortunes rose or fell. We may not find all the answers, but setting a family in its historical and geographical context often makes sense of your family's past.
We begin with the earliest known generation and we can bring the story completely up to the present; or we can end it at any point you choose.
We believe that each family history deserves individual and thoughtful treatment.
Step One - Gather everything together
Everyone begins this process from a different point. If you have traced your ancestry yourself, or had it researched professionally, our starting point will be the family tree that you have already drawn up – in whatever format is available – or a link to your online genealogy. At a later stage we welcome copies of certificates, letters, photographs and any other personal documentation that you wish to include, but we ask you not to send us original documents or photographs – they are too precious.
We will ask you a few questions about what you wish to include, and any areas that you would like to be explored in particular. We can then provide you with an initial quotation.
If you are an existing Debrett Ancestry Research client, we will already have most of this information, but we will ask you about any special areas of interest and about the illustrations that you wish to include.
Not quite there yet?
If you have not quite reached this stage, but need some further research to be carried out to discover more generations, or to confirm what you have already, we can help you with one of our Ancestry Research Programmes.
Step Two – Filling in the gaps
‘There is a history in all men’s lives’
(William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part 2)
However much information you have already, there will usually be a few loose ends to follow, to make better sense of the family's story. You might want to ask specific questions or find out more about particular people or places.
As part of the Family Biography Programme we usually carry out some additional searches such as:
additional census returns,
birth, marriage and death certificates,
searches in original records such as parish registers and wills,
further information about siblings or step-parents,
military service records,
We can work with you to decide how much further information you want.
Sometimes further questions arise as work on the Family Biography progresses. In that case we might suggest some optional additional research. We always work within an agreed budget, so that there are no unforeseen charges.
Step Three – Constructing your story
We then begin compiling and writing your Family Biography, starting with the earliest known generation. The main focus of each book will be the family itself and their occupations, but to put the story in context we include some background information about the places and times in which they lived, and their occupations. This not only brings the story to life but is often essential to understand a family's movements.
This might include:
- contemporary descriptions of places from gazetteers and directories
- background information about occupations
- illustrations of significant locations
- contemporary maps
A proof copy will be sent to you for review. If there are further areas you want to explore, we can provide a quotation for additional searches.
CLICK FOR SAMPLE PAGES
Step Four – The finished product
Once the final draft of your Family Biography has been approved, you can choose from a range of different bindings. The size for each will be A4:
We can supply one or more copies in our standard format, this being a printed report with red and gold Debrett covers and plastic comb binding. Prices from £25 per copy.
We can arrange to have one or more copies beautifully bound by hand in half-leather at our local bindery.
Colours vary. Prices from £108 per copy.
Perfect binding (paperback)
We can arrange for the book to be printed and bound in multiple copies (perfect binding). Prices depend on the length of the book, the number of colour illustrations, and the number of copies required. We will provide a quotation once the final draft has been approved.
We are happy to discuss any other requirements you may have for the final production of your Family Biography.
Family Tree Chart
As part of every Family Biography programme we draw up a detailed pedigree or family tree chart in our unique format. A copy will be included in the bound volume.
If you would also like a display copy, we can have the chart printed on high quality acid-free paper suitable for framing, in sizes up to A0. Costs for this begin at £30. For further details click here.