First things first
Bear in mind that if you have any questions/comments at any stage of my work, feel free to share them with me.
I need to know clearly what the objectives of my research are. That is why I would like you to provide me with absolutely all information you have on the people I am to research as well as specify precisely what you expect of me. It is vital that I know what is expected of me as some things that you take for granted may not be so obvious to me. A lot of mistakes can be avoided when there are no ambiguities.
What you get
I count a day of my work as 4-hrs’ work (see my comments a paragraph below, too) with the books. After a day, a client is provided with a report of what has been checked and found. How many hours I spend on research depends on how much information you would like to obtain. Every village is different, there are villages with more than 100 births per year others have as few as 20 births per year. After the whole research has been finished, you will get a report in .pdf format as well as an .xls file with all the info (births, deaths, marriages) in one place.
I can provide you with photographs of the records from the books, however, just as I pointed out above, some priests are not eager to allow photos, i.e. at the diocesan archive in Przemyśl (my town) I am asked to mask all entries in a given page that are irrelevant to your family. Most state archives have no restrictions regarding images of records that are over a hundred years old.
The last but not least matter is the cost of my research. Standard fee is thirty-nine American dollars per hour’s work in the archive.
When I need to travel
If research involves traveling to another town/village, I calculate the total cost in a slightly different manner: when I need to travel, I count the time of the trip to the place where I am going to work plus the time spent working with the books, the time spent on my way back is not taken into account. Now, if the total time spent on research outside my home town is under four hours (say 1.5 hrs drive to the place plus 2 – 2.5 hrs work), a client is charged for four hours ($140 – this is the minimum fee) plus the cost of gas needed to go to the place and back home. If the total time spent on research outside my town is between 4 and 6 hours, you are charged according to the actual time – trip to the place and the time spent with the books. And if the total time spent on research outside my home town exceeds six hours, you are guaranteed to pay for not more than $200 plus the cost of fuel. You can set a limit to your expenses and ask me to spend, i.e. four hours in the archive, however, you should specify it at the very beginning of our cooperation.
Whenever I visit a parish I give a donation. I believe it is a good habit, as the priest also has to give us (me as the researcher and you as the person on behalf of whom I am acting) some of his free time and energy. The usual amount is anything between 50 and 100 Polish zlotys . Of course you understand that the donation does not depend on the results of my work, it is a different matter altogether. I am mentioning this not in order to “force” you to make such a donation but to make you aware that it is widely practiced.
Note: Even if I don’t visit any parishes, at the diocesan archives in Przemyśl and Tarnów they take a donation of three American dollars per an hour of using the records.
Methods of payment
I have a PayPal account and find it a convenient way of receiving money transfers. I always ask a client to cover the 4.2% fee, however, I think it is fair and right thing to make all payments once the work has been completed. To my mind, your satisfaction is what matters, it comes first and money comes second.
Should you have any questions/comments, share them with me.