Frequently Asked Questions
The Planning Call
Am I obligated to place an order if I book a planning call?
No, you are not obligated to place an order after a planning call. You are not obligated to make any payments until you have accepted an agreement. However, no research questions will be answered during the planning call, so if you have no intention of hiring a professional genealogist, you should not book a planning call.
What is the purpose of a planning call?
The main purpose of the planning call is for Lene Dræby Kottal to understand the following:
- What you want to know about the subject, e.g., a person or a place.
- What you already know about the subject.
- What your sources of the known information are.
- How many hours you intend to authorize for the research project.
Furthermore, you can ask questions about the process, terms etc.
Can we skip the planning call?
Record retrieval orders do not require a planning call. For research projects, Lene Dræby Kottal prefers to have a planning call. If you send all the information which might be discussed during a planning call, Lene may accept not to have a planning call with you if that is your wish. However, in Lene's experience, the best foundation for an effective research project comes from a planning call.
Can you call me in the evening or during a weekend?
On most weekdays, office hours are from 8 am to 4 pm CET, but Lene Dræby Kottal is flexible about the time of the planning call. A time that fits both will be planned, and evening or weekend meetings is an option, too.
Lene can call you on your phone or set up an online meeting via Zoom or Google Meet. You may have done your own research about the subject in collaboration with a relative. If you want it, one or more of your relatives can join the online meeting.
Should I prepare anything for the planning call?
The time is best spent if Lene Dræby Kottal has an idea of the research project before the meeting, so she can prepare questions. Therefore, you are encouraged to send information about the project before the meeting.
It is best if you have your research about the subject on hand during the call, so any questions about your previous research can be answered during the call.
Pricing and Payment Terms
What is your hourly price?
Lene Kottal Professional Genealogy accepts payments in various currencies.
Can I get a discount?
Lene Dræby Kottal offers a 10% discount on orders of 50 hours or more. The offer applies to single orders only and not a series of smaller orders, which amount to 50 hours or more in total.
Sometimes time limited discounts are offered. No discount can be combined with another discount.
Do you charge costs for photocopies, etc.?
Unless otherwise agreed, the research report is delivered electronically as a PDF. If you want a hard copy of the report, you will be charged for copies and postage. The postage depends on your residence and number of pages of the report.
For projects involving information about persons born less than 110 years ago, fees for lookups in the Danish civil registry may incur. If so, such fees will be charged in addition to the hourly fee. Information about these fees will be included in the agreement when relevant.
For record retrieval projects, mileage may be charged in addition to the hourly fee. If you want a photocopy of the record, copies and postage will be charged.
Is there a minimum order?
The minimum order for a research project is 10 hours. The minimum order does not apply if you only order a record retrieval.
Do you require a prepayment (retainer fee)?
Yes, the full fee or a part of it must be prepaid as a retainer fee. The amount of the retainer fee depends on the number of hours you order and the estimated time until delivery. The terms are specified in the agreement.
How do I pay you?
Payments can be made via wire transfer (BIC/SWIFT) or credit card. Accepted card types are Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
The account details are on the invoice, which will be sent to you.
Beware! If your bank imposes costs for the wire transfer or the credit payment, you must cover these costs. Lene Kottal covers any costs imposed by her bank for receiving the payment.
How many hours does it take to find my ancestors?
It is not possible to say how many hours it takes to do the research, but estimates can be made. Some ancestors are easy to identify, while others require more work.
Before your research project is begun, you decide how many hours you wish to authorize for the project. Then as much research as possible is done within the given time and the findings are reported to you.
When can I expect that the project is completed?
Agreements with other clients may have been entered before the agreement with you, and those obligations must of course be respected. The agreement will contain an estimated time for when your project is begun and how long it is expected to take to complete it. If you have a deadline, perhaps because you intend to visit Denmark at a certain time and need some information before that, please inform us about that from the beginning, so we have a chance to let you know if we cannot meet that deadline.
Some projects require on-site research at an archive. Many local archives are only open one or two days a month. If records must be accessed at The Danish National Archives, they must sometimes be ordered up to two weeks in advance, or there may be a waiting list for access to the records if someone else has already ordered the records. These circumstances extend the time for completion of the project. You will be held informed about the progress throughout the project.
Do I have to pay you if you cannot find the requested information?
Yes. You must pay for the time spent researching and writing, even if the requested information could not be found.
The Project and the Report
What is included in a research report?
The structure of a research report varies depending on the project...
Can you identify living relatives in Denmark?
Lene Dræby Kottal will gladly try to identify living relatives in Denmark, but it is more complicated that identifying ancestors. She has an obligation to inform living persons when she processes personal information about them.
Can you write a family history book for me?
Write a family history book requires several research projects in which identities and relationship are documented, and ancestors are researched in depth to be able to write more than names and dates in the book. Also, research at local archives may turn up relevant photographs, and you may even have some photographs and anecdotes, which you want me to include in the book. It is therefore a long-term project, which typically requires hundreds of hours of work. Anyhow, Lene Dræby Kottal would be glad to do it for you, one step at a time.
Can you retrieve a copy of a specific record for me?
In many cases, copies of records can be made, but it depends on the type of document and when it was made.
Access restrictions apply to some documents. If access to the document in question is restricted by law, Lene Dræby Kottal can assist you with an application for access.
In some cases, a document cannot be retrieved. Except in Southern Jutland, the Church of Denmark is responsible for the civil registration of births and deaths in parish registers, aka church books. Certificates are made on the basis of the minister's book, which is kept by the church for 110 years. Except for legal purposes, the church is not obligated to issue certificates to someone other than the listed person himself/herself. You are therefore not entitled to receive a birth certificate for someone else. When researching Danes, the listing in the parish register is used to document a birth, because certificates about others can usually not be obtained. If the minister's book has been transferred to The Danish National Archives, you can request a certificate from there, but they can turn down the request depending on various factors.
If you are interested in hiring Lene to retrieve a specific record, please send all known details about the record, and then she will send you information about the availability of the record, and how to proceed to obtain a copy, if possible.