Core History’s historians are Jonathan Mackman and Claire Noble. We originated as medieval historians at the universities of York and East Anglia at Norwich. We work with documentation spanning many centuries written mainly in Latin and English that was generated within an area broadly defined as western Europe. The National Archives in London, England, is a prominent centre of activity and from there we consult documentation across the regions into Devon and Cornwall, and into adjoining countries including France.
Our research and support services encompass photography, translation and research in archival respositories such as county record offices, private holdings and The National Archives at Kew. We bring specialised knowledge and experience to our work, and aftercare and continuing support where required.
Here are the top three questions we’re asked about archival research.
‘Can you do my work?‘ Here, the answer is usually ‘yes’, but we do sometimes furnish a prospective client with contact details for an alternative researcher if that researcher’s skills and/or knowledge base more closely meet a client’s requirements. Tracing a client’s ancestors who were enslaved is one example where we might do this, and we would always do our best to find the right researcher for you. We do not charge for suggesting an alternative researcher nor do we charge for general discussion about your work.
‘When can you do it?’ The timing of any work is a moveable feast: it depends on the location of your documents and our own schedules. For small-scale requests at a mainstream repository such as The National Archives or a county record office, we prefer to get work done as soon as possible, certainly within the fortnight, usually the week, and sometimes within a couple of days.
‘How much will it cost?‘ The website of The National Archives flags that different independent researchers can charge very different fees for the same type of work. We understand that different clients have different budgets and needs and we accommodate based on what you are telling us. We aim always to give you excellent value for money and to supply you with a quality product, be it the result of photography, translation or research.
How we calculate fees
We sometimes negotiate a flat fee for a total request or project – this is usually although not exclusively for work taking many hours or days and which displaces the possibility of assessing or taking on work for other clients during that time. We are also happy to give you a price for any request or project whatever its proposed time frame.
Another possibility is the fixed rate, which is a fee payable per unit of product, such as photographing a single document reference (which could mean many tens of pages or membranes). This approach provides the same level of billing certainty for the client on a smaller scale than the flat fee above. It is also the usual method by which record offices calculate their reprographic work. Knowing in advance how much one is going to pay can be important for many clients although the fixed rate is not necessarily the least expensive option where multiple units are required. Accordingly, we usually charge by fixed rate where a limited number of units is required.
The hourly rate is a more fluid prospect and can be daunting to contemplate. In practice however, the hourly rate is capped at a total fee. This means the client pays only up to a certain amount and where a fixed rate might have been applied, the overall fee using the hourly rate will be the same or less.
Not often mentioned in the talk of costing is quality assurance. We engage fully with our work. At the most basic level and for all documents, we ensure that we’ve covered all the relevant writs, pages, membranes, rotulets, marginalia etc., whether our clients intend to work from images or we are working with them on your behalf. Another common pitfall is the fallibility of catalogue referencing, and we do our best to find the required documentation using other information.
In short, we are willing to advise and, if you do decide to build a relationship with us, you will find that we are fully transparent and collaborative in all aspects of our shared dealings.
A brief note about reprographics quotes
We would advise that if you initiate a reprographics quote from TNA, that document will be unavailable to private researchers in any capacity until TNA has completed its quote.
The easiest way of finding out answers to your questions is to make contact.
You can reach us via the link at the foot of the page.
We very much look forward to hearing from you.