All in a name

Posted in Case Histories, For Family Historians, For Relatives

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People change their names for a wide variety of reasons – to avoid discrimination, to escape domestic abuse, to make a clean break from their past. While their motivations are very often practical, they can occasionally be whimsical (as a great many Wayne Rooneys, Amy Winehouses and Michael Jacksons can confirm). But, if someone changes their name and subsequently dies intestate, they may have made it very difficult for anyone to trace their next of kin: the names on their birth certificate and death certificate don't match. In this article, case manager and former police inspector Graham Underwood discusses the tools and strategies he uses when a birth certificate proves hard to find, and describes a particularly difficult bona vacantia case that involved a change of name.

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West Riding deeds registry to close until 2017

Posted in For Family Historians, For Solicitors

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The West Yorkshire Archive Service in Wakefield will close to the public on 13 May 2016 and re-open in new, purpose built premises in early 2017. As the archive houses the West Yorkshire deeds registry, this closure will have a significant impact on any solicitors who need to establish ownership of unregistered property in the area. However, if you contact us before the closure date, we will prioritise your search.

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When a small act of kindness makes a world of difference

Posted in For Family Historians, For Relatives, For Solicitors

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The second episode of The Secret History of My Family (available on BBC iPlayer here) presents the story of the Manley and Hunt families, a story in which a small act of kindness saves two young people from the workhouse. In this article, Anglia Research’s Eileen Butcher, who was employed as a genealogist for the programme, describes her response to the finished documentary.

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The history behind your birth certificate

Posted in For Family Historians, For Relatives

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As the gateway to basic legal entitlement, birth registration is one of our most fundamental human rights: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges that every child should “be registered immediately after birth”. In this article, Peter Turvey looks at the long and sometimes tortuous road to full birth registration in England and Wales.

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The risks and rewards of a low value case

Posted in Case Histories, For Family Historians, For Relatives

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More than two and a half million Jews fled Russia between 1881 and 1914. Many of the records that documented their lives in the Pale of Settlement have been destroyed by pogroms, revolution and war. This makes researching Russian-Jewish ancestry a daunting task, and one that some probate research companies shy away from. In this article, Hannah Cutts discusses a risky case that remained on the bona vacantia list for seven years.

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