Terms & Conditions


“I/me/my/we/us/our” means Beneath the Cairn, LLC of Wilmington, North Carolina, also known as the “Genealogist”.

“You/Your” means [the name and address of the client], also known as the “Client”.

Your information and instructions

  1. Your contact and family information is treated as strictly confidential and will not be provided to any other person or organization without your permission. If you wish us to communicate with anyone other than you regarding your family research, we will first require your written permission to do so.
  2. We may from time to time ask your permission to publish extracts from our research on our website and social media sites.
  3. Occasionally we may incorporate results of research in academic coursework or assignments we set for genealogy students/in talks we give or publications we write. No information about living people would be revealed. By agreeing to these terms and conditions you agree to us using your research for this purpose without seeking your further permission. Any new information discovered would be communicated to you.
  4. Before beginning any research, we will confirm your instructions in writing and our understanding of any specific research requests.
  5. If you provide details of any previous research it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy to avoid any research being inadvertently repeated unless you specifically instruct us to check its accuracy. Anything found during the course of the research which duplicates something you already know, or have found yourself but have not disclosed prior to research starting, will still be billed.
  6. You understand that we cannot guarantee we will be able to find any particular person(s), family, or other information and that we cannot predict how successful a search will be, if at all. If a search is unsuccessful we reserve the right to charge for our time in conducting such a search.

Our commitment to you

  1. We offer family history research of the highest quality, delivered in such a way as to ensure clients are happy with the service they receive, are aware of progress and feel involved at every stage and you will be kept informed as to our progress at regular intervals.
  2. We will not exceed the time initially commissioned by you without prior agreement.
  3. We undertake to report the findings of the research with detailed sources of the information obtained, including unsuccessful search details. Where research is not successful we will provide information as to the avenues that have been explored.
  4. Paid time includes research, analysis, drawing charts, and reporting time as well as time spent communicating with you by telephone and/or email.
  5. If in the course of our research it becomes clear that research has reached an insurmountable hurdle we may offer a partial refund of the payment received. This will depend on the length of time spent on the project before coming to this conclusion.
  6. If research does not take as long as expected, or cannot progress as anticipated, any unused pre-paid research hours will be refunded to the client.
  7. It may be necessary on some projects for us to instruct other researchers as sub-contractors, either because of the distance to the area in which the records are held or because of a need for a particular subject specialist. In these cases, researchers are carefully selected based on their specialisms and quality of work and you will be consulted prior to them being instructed.
  8. We remain the primary contact on all projects and oversee all research conducted under the banner of Beneath the Cairn, LLC.

Professional standard

  1. As a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG), we abide by their Professional Code which can be found online at: www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/the-professional-code.
  2. As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), we abide by their Code of Ethics which can be found online at: https://www.apgen.org/cpages/code-of-ethics.

Payment terms

  1. For hourly research, on receipt of instructions an estimate will be provided along with an invoice for a down payment of ……………which is required before any research can start. Invoices will then be provided at appropriate stages. Where the work is likely to exceed the estimate, we will provide an interim report and further estimate for approval before further work is undertaken.
  2. A payment plan can be agreed upon at any stage of the research, but the final report and any supporting documentation will not be sent to you until full payment is received. Statements will be issued monthly.
  3. The cost of documents is in addition to our costs – see below.
  4. Where travel is required to archives outside of New Hanover County, we reserve the right to charge additional costs of travel at the rate of 58.5¢ per mile.
  5. All invoices should be paid within 14 days.

Document copies

  1. Documents are supplied at cost price and no documents will be purchased without your prior agreement and advance payment.
  2. Where a budget has been agreed, documents will be purchased without your prior agreement unless to do so would exceed the budget, in which case they will not be purchased without your prior agreement.
  3. Where copies of documents are required and a definite cost of these cannot be determined upfront, an invoice will be issued and the cost will be deducted from any amount paid to date.

Likelihood of success

  1. It is sometimes not possible to trace a family back as far as expected or find the expected information in a particular document. Research time includes time spent searching with a negative outcome. However, all research is positive in that a particular document or direction has been ruled out. Any negative outcomes will be included in our report.

Cancellation and termination of services

Your rights

  1. Client has the right to terminate services at any time after providing written notice to Beneath the Cairn, LLC. Client will be required to pay all outstanding fees incurred to date of written termination.
  2. It is in Client’s interest that work start as soon as possible. Please, note, therefore, that by signing and this agreement by email, you authorize us to start work immediately. This means if you later choose to exercise your right to cancel, you must do so in writing by completing the Cancellation Form attached and returning it by email. You will be liable to pay for the work we have done up to the date you cancel. The amount due will be deducted from any payment you have made to us and any balance remaining will be returned to you within 14 days of the date of cancellation.

My rights

  1. We reserve the right to decline cases where we consider the likelihood of success to be low e.g. if the only information were to be a starting point of “his name was John Smith and he was born in the UK in about 1900”.
  2. If payment is not made under the terms of this agreement and/or any invoice submitted to you, we reserve the right to cancel your instructions and discontinue work on your behalf. All outstanding payments will however remain outstanding.
  3. Failure to pay may result in dispute resolution and/or court proceedings to recover any outstanding fees, which may in themselves result in further costs being payable by you.
  4. If we have not received a signed copy of the agreement by email within 14 days we shall assume that you do not wish to proceed and will take no further action.
  5. Beneath the Cairn, LLC has the right to terminate the contract after providing written notice if continuing work would require the Genealogist to breach ethical standards.

Limitation of liability

  1. Documents are provided and interpreted on an “as is” basis and we do not accept responsibility for any errors in those documents.
  2. Our liability for any actual, incidental, indirect, or consequential loss or damage howsoever caused, is limited to the value of the contract.
  3. The services of any third party instructed to assist in the research process are subject to these terms and conditions. If they require you to agree to their own terms and conditions, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood them and you agree that any recourse for dissatisfaction or problems with any third-party research will be sought from the third-party provider.


  1. The Client becomes the owner of the report in its physical form. However, the report and any documents prepared by us in the process of our research, including any charts, transcriptions, and translations remain the copyright of Beneath the Cairn, LLC and should not be published in any part without our prior written consent.
  2. The Client may make a small number of personal copies of the copyrighted report, but agrees that Client will not otherwise publish or make multiple copies of the report. Furthermore, Client agrees that if limited distribution occurs of anything that includes Genealogists’ research, in whole or in part, Client will report it accurately and credit the source. All attributions, document footers, and copyright statements must be retained.
  3. In addition, Client grants permission to Genealogist to use the report and related files from this project for application or renewal purposes to genealogical credentialing organizations. Non-public information provided by the Client to Beneath the Cairn, LLC shall be held in strict confidence by us unless authorized in writing by Client.
  4. Any material which has been digitized by and obtained from websites remains the copyright of the individual website and will be fully acknowledged in our work. It should not be further published.
  5. Documents obtained from the General Register Office (either in pdf format or as certified copies of originals) by Beneath the Cairn, LLC acting as your agent are owned by you, but remain the copyright of the Crown and will be fully acknowledged in our work.

General data protection regulations (GDPR)

  1. By agreeing to these terms and conditions you agree to us holding your personal information as is required and necessary to conduct the research on your behalf and for us to retain them for a minimum period of 5 years as required by law.
  2. Personal details or documents provided by you which contain information about living people are provided with their implied consent.

Dispute resolution

  1. In the unlikely event of you not being satisfied with the research received, we will endeavour to address any issues as quickly as possible and agree to a refund where appropriate. If we are unable to resolve your complaint satisfactorily we would refer you to the RQG’s Resolution Procedure which can be found at: http://www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Resolution-Procedure-Nov-2017-v1.pdf
  2. and also to the APG’s Code of Ethics Violation complaint Form at: https://apgen.silkstart.com/cpages/complaint-form.
  3. Both Client and Beneath the Cairn, LLC agrees to accept any such arbitration decision as final and binding and usable as a final judgment in court.

Applicable law

  1. Beneath the Cairn, LLC, and Client agree that this Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the state of North Carolina and neither party will resort to the courts of any other jurisdiction, except for purposes of entering a final judgment of arbitration.


  1. Any notices should be addressed to and served on Beneath the Cairn, LLC of Wilmington, North Carolina by email.


  1. If for reasons of injury or ill health rendering us unable to work, we are unable to complete your instructions, we will provide a full report of work carried out to date along with full supporting information and documentation. We will also provide our written consent for such report, information and documentation to be provided to an alternative genealogist/family historian of your choosing. You agree to pay for all work completed up to that date and where pre-payment is made, any balance, after deduction for the work carried out, will be returned within 14 days.
  2. If for reasons of our death, we are unable to complete your instructions, our Executors will provide a copy of the work carried out to date along with full supporting information and documentation as they are able to ascertain from our research records. In those circumstances, these terms and conditions provide our written consent for such information and documentation to be provided to an alternative genealogist/family historian of your choosing. You agree to pay for all work completed up to that date and where pre-payment is made, any balance, after deduction for the work carried out, will be returned as soon as ever possible, subject to the laws of probate.


  1. These terms and conditions are based on the template created and freely provided by the Register of Qualified Genealogists (https://www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/): Client Terms & Letter, September 2020 © Register of Qualified Genealogists, as amended by Beneath the Cairn, LLC, Wilmington, North Carolina.