Terms & Conditions

Initial assessment

I provide a free and no-obligation assessment to clarify your aims and expectations, suggest how I might be able to help, what date I can start any research, and an estimate of cost and likely expenses.

Scope and quote

Once the duration of work or a budget limit, and estimate of expenses, has been agreed, I request a 50% deposit payment before I commence work. Payment of the balance is due before I send the final report or presentation to you.


Services are charged at an hourly rate of $NZ 70 / £STG 35  which includes researching, reporting, and client communication.

Expenses that are charged in addition to the hourly rate include:

  • travel to repositories other than those in Wellington
  • copies of birth, marriage, death certificates and probate records at cost
  • copies of other documents at cost, including camera licence fee where applicable, subject to copyright restrictions
  • stationery and presentation binders
  • postage


Payment can be made by bank transfer to either a New Zealand or United Kingdom bank account. If you reside outside of these countries, international bank transfer fees may apply and will be passed on to you. Payment by credit card is available through PayPal.


I’ll do my very best to find your ancestor or the information you seek, but I can only report on what exists. If the records were destroyed, or your ancestor isn’t mentioned in what records do survive, I won’t be able to find them. It’s unlikely your ancestor was abducted by aliens, but it’s always possible they changed their name to escape a relationship, prison term, or debts. Some people didn’t want to be found. Others may have been law-abiding citizens who didn’t make the newspapers or appear in court records. However, there may be records for family members, or other people connected to your ancestor, and details may be found that can fill out the story of your family.

If I’m unsure about whether the person mentioned in a document is your ancestor, I’ll tell you. I might say it’s “likely” he or she is the right person, or I might say it’s “possible”. If I’m “almost certain”, there’s a good chance we’re on to a winner. I’ll suggest ideas for further research if I think it may help, but will let you know the likelihood of success, so you can decide if it’s worth your while to continue. And sometimes, it may take a few dead-ends to identify the right family. There might be several candidates for your ancestor, and it’s often a process of elimination to identify the right person. Good research takes time.

Where your research delves into areas I’m less familiar with, I’ll recommend other researchers who may be able to help, or commission them on your behalf.


On completion of work, I provide a comprehensive written report in PDF or Word format, detailing the research undertaken, an analysis of the records consulted and results found (or not), and suggestions for possible further research. If you require a printed version posted to you, this will be at an additional cost.


I retain copyright on the reports I produce, which you can share with your family. If you wish to publish or distribute the reports more widely, please ask me first – in most cases, I’ll happily grant permission. Some of the document images included may be subject to specific restrictions and cannot be used beyond personal research/copy.

Although I retain copyright, I won’t share research I have completed for you with anyone else, without asking you first. If I use parts of it for an example in a presentation or journal article, I will anonymise any details that may identify you or anyone living.

Maggie Gaffney
MG Historical Research