It was always going to be a fairly difficult letter to come up with inspiration but we had a case just earlier this year which was in the name of Ebenezer a.k.a Zed (surname withheld due to confidentiality) and he fits perfectly! [He was referred to in the offices of FWL as ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ for obvious reasons!] Ebenezer had a very common surname and, on the GRO index, his mother’s maiden name was recorded as the same surname he was given, suggesting that perhaps a father was not named on the birth certificate.
Oh yes he was! His birth certificate showed that his mother married someone with the same surname as her own birth name. As Ebenezer was born during World War 2 shortly after his parent’s marriage, it was hoped that one of his parents might have lived at the same address in 1939 as was recorded on his birth certificate. And, as luck would have it, his mother did …. with her two illegitimate children!
During his lifetime, Ebenezer did not marry nor have any children and his parents did not have any further children. So, his half blood brothers (or their children) were the heirs to his estate. One of them clearly married and had a daughter who was fairly simple to locate. The other half brother died prior to Ebenezer but, given the commonality of his name, could well have married somewhere in the United Kingdom. Questions needed to be asked!
When Ebenezer’s niece rang the office, she couldn’t believe it. She had never heard of Ebenezer BUT had already inherited monies via an heir tracing case when her uncle died – the uncle we had questions about! She confirmed he had died with no issue and that she had been paid his estate in its entirety. We didn’t ask who had dealt with that estate but, clearly, they made an error in not locating our Ebenezer… oops!
It’s amazing how many unclaimed estates there are – have you written a Will? Well, there’s no time like the present!