FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH SERVICE

INTRODUCTION
My family history research service for clients was started in 1997. I started researching my own family history in 1984, which included research in South Africa, Portugal, Germany, France and the UK. I now specialise in South African research. I'm South African and South African history, culture and heritage are of special interest to me.

There is an interview here about my research work.

SERVICES
If you are interested in researching your family history, you’ve come to the right place. My research service provides a one-stop service for South African research. The Internet is a great resource for genealogy, but on-line resources only contain a tiny fraction of South African information. I work with primary and secondary South African resources. I also have an extensive personal library of South African resources. I have a computerised South African database that contains over 700 000 names. This database is continually being added to. It has dates of birth / baptism / marriage / death / burial, place of event, spouse and /or children, notes, etc... for many of the listed people. I am fluent in English, Afrikaans and Portuguese. I have a good understanding of German, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian.

The following services are offered:
  • research a single name or multiple names (ancestors and/or descendants) as far back as documentation exists for them
  • computerization of your existing research
  • living person searches
  • compiling family history books, family trees and / or ancestral charts
  • rare or out-of-print book searches

COMMISSIONING A RESEARCH PROJECT
Please read my blog for a basic understanding of South African research and sources.

Before I can do a quote, I need to know the following so I can see whether I can be of help or not, and provide an estimate of costs if I can help. I do not have a set fee. Fees are dependent on each case.

Who are you looking for (names)?
What dates do you know (birth, marriage, divorce, military, immigration, death)
Where did they live (place names)
What research has already been done?
Have you or are you using other research services?
What documents / records do you already have for them?
In which country do you live?

It is important that you provide as much detail as you know, including any prior searches and results, so that I do not duplicate previous research work. Once I know what you have / want, I will respond as soon as possible with details on what I can undertake for you.

A commissioned research project follows a general process:
  • after initial contact and discussion, if you decide to use my services, I let you know what the required deposit is
  • once deposit is received, a research plan is drawn up
  • the research plan is followed (this can take anything from 3 weeks to 1 year, depending on what your project involves)
  • once the research plan has been executed, I prepare my findings for you
  • the final report is drawn up, and an invoice sent out
  • once the outstanding balance has been paid, the final report is sent to you
During this process, there may be a need to discuss matters, and I will contact you when this happens. The research will stretch over a period of weeks and months (depending on the individual case). I do not have "instant" family trees. Proper research can and does take time.

RATES
My rate includes analysis, data entry and reporting. Certificates and other expenses (telephone calls, travel to a specific site if required, photocopies, postage, etc…) directly incurred in pursuit of a client's research are invoiced at cost and where possible I will advise you of these costs beforehand. Unfortunately, there is no set price to trace a family tree as every project is different. I might be able to link you to data that I already have and take your ancestry back for several generations in an hour. Then again, it may take 2 or 3 hours just to find one ancestor in other sources.Only after I have assessed your requirements, can I provide an estimation of costs.

Searching records is only a part of the process. Some of the steps are:
  • analysis of information provided by the client
  • compilation of family group sheets, pedigree and other charts, to figure out correct family relationships
  • establishing goals
  • determination of available records and their locations
  • developing a research plan
  • the actual searching of records and copying
  • evaluation of records obtained
  • preparation of the final report
Other factors that influence the amount of time spent in research are:
  • the number of names involved
  • whether they were officially documented or not in various sources
  • spelling variations of names and surnames

GUARANTEES
No researcher, however diligent, can guarantee positive progress. No one can predict or guarantee a specific document or result. Specific results won’t be known until research is conducted and completed. No genealogist can guarantee being able to locate information about your ancestors, since none of the records are totally complete or accurate. In some cases, there may be instances where information was not recorded or the records are not accessible for various reasons. There is also a limit to the searches that a single research budget can fund. Keep in mind that no professional can tell in advance how many hours of research will be required, or that they can find ancestors quickly. Each case is unique.

However, you are assured that I will do my best to find information and treat the project as if I was doing my own family search.

You are engaging a researcher with 29 years of experience in researching South African families. I offer my expertise, knowledge, and time to your research project, and that is what you are paying for.

The client must be aware that any responsible researcher must pass along to potential clients the following important notes:
  • there are no guarantees of finding your ancestor(s) or extending your pedigree. Not every family or family member left paper trails of their existence and movements.
  • records that have not survived, indices that have not been made and vital statistics that were not registered can only be reported as negative search efforts
  • incomplete or erroneous information provided by the client may cause duplication of previous research or searches in the wrong locality / era
  • research can be hampered in some areas because of privacy laws

SOME OF MY RESEARCH CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Researched family history for two "Who Do You Think You Are" TV episodes for BBC TV (Natasha Kaplinsky and David Suchet)
  • Participated in Al Jazeera English documentary - People and Power: Colours (part 2, screened 23 Sept 2008)
  • Researched family history for the film "Skin" about Sandra Laing's life.
  • My first article published in a South African newspaper.

SOME COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CLIENTS:

M. de Nobrega, South Africa:
I was very impressed with what I received.

L. Pearson, Australia:
Many thanks for the excellent work you did on our behalf - at last the mystery of the lost great-uncle is solved. Again very many thanks from us all.

C. Scott, USA:
Again, thank you for your assistance. I would not have been able to find any of this without your help.

J. Wilson, Australia:
Thank you so much for your work. We are delighted to be able find out what happened to the family who went to South Africa, they have been a mystery to us.

J. Swart, South Africa:
Many, many thanks Anne. I can't believe all the detail you managed to obtain. I would definitely want to make further use of your services again.

B. Cherry, South Africa:
Thank you for this valuable information. I love your work!

R. Carr, South Africa:
I do not know where you get so much detail in such a short time. You are unbelievable!

S. Goldstone, USA:
I have used the services of Anne Lehmkuhl for genealogy research in South Africa. She is very competent, very professional and inexpensive. She found the person I was searching for in addition to many papers (death, estate, spouse, etc).

B. Wilson, Canada:
I have been dealing with Anne on and off for the past 10 months. I was a little apprehensive, expecting her rates to be commensurate with her obvious status in the genealogy community. But my worries were for naught. She's forever doing little & big favours without charge and passing along free, useful info from her extensive knowledge and experience. When it comes to invoicing, there have never been any "surprises". I have always known pretty well how much I was committing for.

P. Mellet, South Africa:
In terms of the brief which I provided to Anne, she did a sterling job in a reasonable time at a reasonable cost. Anne understands the archival systems and has access to the archival systems in South Africa. She seems to be able to get hold of any document. There are no guarantees, but Anne probably does a better job than most, and certainly will deliver on what she sets out to do.

G. Howe, USA:
I have been using Anne's research service for about 4 months. She has been most professional finding a great deal of info that I previously did not know existed. In addition her rates are most reasonable.

J. Lindesay, Australia:
I used Anne's services to try to locate information about my family in South Africa. She is obviously knowledgeable and was able to find and provide copies of a number of wills and divorce papers. This took a while, but I was delighted with the material I received, it was great and has helped me a lot.

J. Morris, South Africa:
I am absolutely overwhelmed with your findings... thank you, thank you, thank you... I am just so grateful.

R. Enstrom, Australia:
The information received was rather an emotional time for us (happy emotions) as in the 68 and a half years of his life he never knew the name of his biological mother. You have been so tremendous in your find. Many, many thanks and much appreciation.

C. Schafer, England:
I would like to say well done, I'm so amazed, you are spot on. Those really are my father's details you have found. MJ is indeed my grandmother. This is really interesting stuff!

D. Charles, England:
A million thanks for the information. I can`t tell you how thrilled I am to at last place my paternal grandfather in South Africa.

A. Chandler, South Africa:
Thank you so much for this information - it has been very useful and you are spot on! Brilliant.

S. Botha, South Africa:
I want to thank you for the information you presented at Potchefstroom. I was able to solve a 100-year riddle in my family because of this info! I was able to find three generations of the stamvader in South Africa, in the Netherlands. Now I now his origins and his family. Thanks a million for sharing your insights with us.

L. R-Platts, Australia:
Thank you so very much for your professional and prompt response to my request. Contact has updated me. Once again, thanks a million! I am recommending you to a friend trying to contact an old friend. God Bless you for your help.

D. Jones, Australia
Thank you most sincerely for the excellent service you have provided. We have completed a task that was undertaken in the 1960s without success. We all look forward to embracing our extended family.

A. Paynton, USA
I am speechless! Grateful! Printing all of this most wonderful information. Mom will be very grateful to you as well, and since she is now 75 years old, she was hoping to go to South Africa one last time, knowing more. You have accomplished this for us, and we are eternally grateful!

Please contact me should you be interested in researching your family.