Rates, Hours, and Expenses

I will charge you an hourly rate of $__ per hour for your project.
This rate does not include out-of-pocket expenses such as copying
fees, mailing costs, mileage, tolls, and parking, which I will also charge
you at cost (with the mileage charge at the current IRS rate).  I do not
charge for travel time to any Boston-area repositories, though I do
charge for the associated expenses.

I will limit the amount of time I spend on this project to __ hours.  
Depending on the results, you may decide to proceed with further
work after receiving my report.

I will begin work after receiving: (1) a copy of this agreement signed
or emailed by you, and (2) a deposit check for $___ (i.e., 50% of the
estimated fee for my time, plus a provision of $___ for expenses).  I
expect to send you my report within __ weeks of receiving these items.
I will include with the report a bill for the remaining balance and will
expect to receive final payment within two weeks after I send that bill.

Written Report

Following the completion of my research (within the time constraints
you have set on the project), I will provide you with a written report of
my findings and analysis, including copies or images of the relevant
documents.  I will exercise my discretion in selecting which records
to include in the report in order to keep it focused, and I will summarize
the contents of any relevant records not included in the report in case
you wish to obtain copies of them at a later time.  I will also offer you
suggestions for further research as appropriate.

Your Previous Research

To minimize any duplication of work, it is important that you provide
me with information you already have concerning your research
problem.  This information could include, for example, research
reports prepared by you or by others you have employed, copies
of or links to significant records, and notes on sources or collections
you have already searched.  Even with such information in hand, I
may need to check the underlying sources in order to assess their
reliability or how they affect the interpretation of information I find.

Compliance with Relevant Codes of Ethics

I will perform this work in accordance with the codes of ethics of the
Board for Certification of Genealogists (www.bcgcertification.org/
aboutbcg/code.html) and the Association of Professional Genealogists

No Guarantee of Results

Because records relevant to your problem may suffer from problems
such as unavailability, illegibility, or inconsistency, I cannot assure you
that I will successfully identify any of the people who are the subjects of
this research or any relationships between them.  Since I am providing
genealogical research services rather than guaranteed results, you will
not consider any failure to make such identification to be grounds for
delaying or withholding payment to me, for rating my services poorly,
or for filing a complaint against me to any relevant body or in any
relevant forum or jurisdiction.

Distressing Information

My research may lead to information that you find distressing in some
way.  It is not unusual, for example, to find evidence of illegitimate
births, mental illnesses, institutionalizations, criminal records, or
suicides.  While I will not emphasize this type of information unless
it is relevant to identifying an individual or a relationship, neither will
I conceal it.

Independent Contractor

Under this agreement, I am acting as an independent contractor, not
as your employee.  This means that I am responsible for paying all
required taxes associated with my income from this project, that I will
use my own equipment, and that I am free to choose both the timing
and location of the research I perform.


I will hold confidential any non-public information that you provide me
in the course of this project except in the event that I am ordered to
produce such information by a court.  I will also treat with discretion
any public information directly concerning living persons or their
parents, children, or siblings.

Copyright and Distribution of Report

I hold copyright to the research report itself (except for the
uncopyrightable facts and public records contained within it), but I
grant you permission to distribute up to three copies of it, either
paper or electronic, so long as: (1) you distribute the report in its
entirety, including my name and contact information, and (2) you
make a reasonable effort to prevent further distribution by anyone
to whom you provide copies.  If you simply refer to part of my
analysis and conclusions without distributing the report itself, you
will do so accurately and credit my report as the source.

Additional Use of Report by Me

I may retain paper and electronic copies of the report for my files,
and I may further use or publish any public information included in
it or obtained in the course of my research, but only consistent with
the Confidentiality section above.  I will not, however, accept fees to
provide these results to other interested persons but will, with your
consent, refer them to you for the information and allow you to
determine the terms under which you may decide to share it.

Completeness of Agreement

This letter reflects the full scope of our agreement and replaces any
earlier commitments by either of us.  Any additional changes will be
effective only if they are also made in writing.


I will not be liable to you for any acts or omissions in the course of
my research for you unless I act with willful misconduct or gross
negligence, nor will I be liable for any incidental or consequential
damages.  Further, any claim for damages must be made within
three months after the completion of the research covered by this
agreement.  In addition, any damages you claim will be limited to a
refund of the amount received by me under this agreement.  This
agreement will be governed by and interpreted according to the
laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
"Regardless of the impetus
which inspires you to
pursue the study of
American genealogy, one
point is clear: Success and
competence are
dependent on both
adequate instructional
guidance and practical
experience. Remember
that a book, no matter   
how good, can go only so
far.  A good cook book
does not make a good
cook, though it
surely helps."

-- Val D. Greenwood,
Researcher's Guide to
American Genealogy
Edition), p. 17, copyright
1990 by Genealogical
Publishing Co., Inc.
Copyright 2016 Ruy A. Cardoso.  All rights reserved.
New England Cousins
Ruy Cardoso, Certified Genealogist (R)