Thinking of ordering some research but unsure what to expect? Check out the following FAQs and if you still have questions, we're only an email away -- drop us a line: [email protected]
How do I make a research request?
Even if you’re just beginning your search, you’ll likely have some pieces of the puzzle already in hand – names, some key dates, a place name, or stories that have been passed along but are unconfirmed. Sharing this information at the outset saves research time as it allows us to narrow down the information that you still need.
All requests for research should include:
- Your name, address, and contact details.
- A description of what you’d like to determine.
- Any information you already know that would help speed the search.
Send your request to in[email protected] and we’ll get back to you with a quote.
I’m not sure if you can help...
Drop us a line to see. Once we have an idea of what you’d like to find out, we’ll know what resources will most likely provide the answers and how accessible they are. We are within driving distance of many repositories in southwestern Ontario, and have access to historical resources that are available online. If, however, it turns out that the resources you need are filed away in a distant archives, we’ll direct you to the appropriate organization.
How long will the research take to complete?
Our familiarity with available resources and over 20 years of research experience give us an edge when it comes to spending search time efficiently and effectively. That said, research involves reading and searching through a variety of documents, often poorly handwritten or faded with time. The length of time your research will take therefore depends on the complexity of what you’d like to determine, how much information you can give us before we begin, the types of resources required to find the answers, and whether any of them have been indexed or made keyword searchable. Get in touch and we’ll be able to give you an estimate of how long we’d expect your request to take.
What will I receive when you’re done?
You will receive a detailed report summarizing our findings and outlining which resources we consulted. In addition, you will receive copies of all relevant materials uncovered during the course of research. Unless you’ve indicated otherwise, we will send these to you via email.
What if the information you find cannot be copied?
In cases where archival material cannot be photocopied due to its fragility, or there being restrictions which prevent photographing it, you will receive a well-documented transcription of the relevant information from that source.
Resources that include sensitive information may be subject to privacy laws such as the Freedom of Information Act. These can include institutional records such as those for prisons or orphanages. Even if the person that interests you is long deceased, the records themselves may be covered by privacy legislation if they include more recent sensitive information about other people.
Information in records covered by privacy legislation can still be extracted, but doing so requires some paperwork and paying a small fee to the institution that houses the records (both of which they forward to the government). One then must wait on the institution’s staff to copy or transcribe the relevant information. Turn-around time can therefore be delayed when dealing with records covered by Freedom of Information, by law up to a month, though the delay is often far less when the records are held by smaller archives.
I like paper. Can you send me hard copies of what you find?
Yes, we can certainly send your research results and materials via Canada Post or a courier service. Postage rates will depend on the weight of the materials sent to you and the postal/courier service that you’ve chosen. Via Canada Post, mail usually takes 2 to 7 days to arrive at destinations within Canada and the USA. Times to other countries can vary according to their postal systems (we’ve seen mail from Ontario to the rural UK arrive within two short days, and a similar letter sent airmail to a major city in Italy take an entire month to be delivered).
I know what I want to see but it's too far to drive there. Can you help?
We are located in historic Elora, Wellington County, in southwestern Ontario, within driving distance to many libraries and archives, both large and small. If you know where the resources that interest you are held but time or distance are preventing you from making the trip, drop us a line to discuss your needs.
With so much online, how necessary is archival research?
The internet is a great place to start your search but what can be found there is only the tip of the iceberg. Archives house millions upon millions of documents, the scanning and publishing of which would be time consuming and cost prohibitive. As a result, only a tiny fraction of archival holdings are viewable online. Any in-depth research must combine what’s available on the internet with the multitude of records held by archives. We use our knowledge and experience to combine strategic online searches with a review of relevant archival records to find the answers you need!