About Karen Cummings

Karen Cummings Genealogist, Family Historian, IHGS Tutor, Pharos Tutor

I am both an accredited and qualified genealogist and am therefore able to ensure my clients receive the highest standard of family history research.

Accreditation

I am a full AGRA Member. The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) is the professional body for genealogists in England and Wales. AGRA carry out a stringent assessment of applicants’ quality of work and business practices before approving membership and only full AGRA Members are entitled to bear the AGRA logo. My commitment to standards in genealogy in the UK is reflected by the fact that I have served on both AGRA Council and the AGRA Board of Assessors (2014-2016), assessing the work of those applying to join.

Qualifications

I studied with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) in Canterbury and graduated with both the Higher Certificate in Genealogy (with Distinction), and the Diploma in Genealogy, the IHGS professional qualification.

The IHGS genealogy course for the Higher Certificate covers a wide breadth of genealogical sources used in professional genealogy, studied over three years with considerable time commitment. At the time I passed the Higher Certificate exam I was one of only four students to have ever attained a Distinction.

The IHGS Diploma involves a further year of study, assessed research, the production of a professional portfolio of work and additional exams. The IHGS Diploma is the only qualification AGRA recognises as being equivalent to its research assignment, required of all other applicants for Member status.

Before embarking on a career in genealogy I worked in the pharmaceutical industry. I have a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a PhD in scientific research. My academic training gave me an aptitude for research, analysis and report writing and provided me with the appropriate level of attention to detail and integrity to offer a quality genealogy research service.

Tutoring

My abilities in the field of genealogy have been recognised by two of the leading genealogy education providers in the UK.

I am one of the tutors for the IHGS Correspondence Course, preparing students for the Higher Certificate in Genealogy exam.

I also tutor at Pharos Teaching and Tutoring, teaching both genealogy related subjects and a course on how to become a professional genealogist.

Customer Service

My customer service is focussed on a high level of customer satisfaction. Before beginning any research, I will establish with the client what information is already known with certainty, on which to build future research. A program of work is agreed with the client ahead of any research commission.

High Quality Research Reports

My research reports reflect my academic training: All research conducted is noted in meticulous detail, including the full citations of any sources consulted, where they were examined and in what format, the years searched, where searches were unsuccessful and well as successful, the level of confidence in the conclusions made at each stage and transcriptions of all the census returns and certificates purchased. All reports include an analysis of the findings, any conclusions that may be drawn and suggestions for further work where appropriate.

Where you have commissioned a family tree as a gift you may not want to read all this detail to find out where your ancestors lived and that is why this detailed report forms a research appendix to the main family story report for family tree packages. Your main report will detail the lives of your ancestors derived from this research. It will include details of where your ancestors lived, what they did for a living, when they died and what from, all placed in historical and socio-economic context.

Original Documents with Family Tree Packages

There are many researchers who will offer to trace your family tree back to the early 1800s. However, some use birth, marriage and death indexes rather than the certificates and online transcriptions of census records rather than images of the original documents.

All family tree research from Professional Family History includes finding your ancestors in as many census records as possible, a transcription of the census record from the original census image and copies of the census records themselves.

Family tree research from Professional Family History therefore includes birth, marriage and death certificates for all of your direct ancestors considered during the research, wherever possible.

See the Family Tree Packages page for more information as to why this is important.

Data Protection

I am registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 (Registration Number Z2476190).

When I first started to look at who could help me research my family tree, it quickly became apparent that there were lots of companies out there on the internet who could offer what is basically an ‘off the shelf report’ for what appears to be relatively low cost and probably little reward at the end of the day. I was looking for something more, a professional well qualified researcher who could produce a bespoke piece of work and Karen has certainly met my expectations. The document Karen produced for my family is well written, presented and clearly researched. I have no hesitation in recommending Karen if you want a family tree you can hand down to your own family and keep for future generations as I did.

Sid Lambert.

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