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Every year, thousands of people die with no will and with no apparent relatives.
Tracking down their long-lost families is a job for the heir hunters.
On today's programme,
the heir hunters are faced with the emotional story of a family that loses everything.
To have all those memories disappear
so suddenly is just heartbreaking.
And in the quest for heirs, a case takes the hunt across the sea
to Canada and one of the worst shipping disasters of the 20th century.
The impact was so quick that most people just drowned in their cabins basically.
I mean, that was the reality of it.
Plus how you may be entitled to inherit some of the unclaimed estates held by the Treasury.
Could you have thousands of pounds heading your way?
Less than one in three people in the UK make a will.
For those who don't, if no obvious relatives are found, their money goes straight to the Government.
Last year, a staggering £18 million went to the Treasury in unclaimed estates.
That's where the heir hunters step in.
Over 30 companies make it their business to track down the rightful heirs to this money.
Last year alone, they claimed back over £6.5 million.
Fraser and Fraser is one of the oldest firms of heir hunters in Britain.
It's run by Andrew, Charles and Neil Fraser.
One of the areas I enjoy is the sort of mystery element of it.
And it's being able to deal with that and bring it to a successful conclusion.
That's one of the thrills of the job really.
They make their commission by solving cases and signing up heirs.
Since they began over 30 years ago, they've reunited over 50,000 heirs
with the whopping sum of over £100 million.
It's Thursday, the day the Government's list of unclaimed estates is published
and the team are scouring through the potential cases.
That's a good possibility.
As the values of the estates are not known,
the first job for the heir hunters is to identify those where a property is involved.
-Well, it's on the border of Wales.
Because that's usually a good indication that an estate will be worth a sizable amount of money.
One case they've chosen is that of Beryl Evans, whose maiden name was Davies.
After a short spell in hospital,
she died on the 27th September 2008 in Shrewsbury, on the Welsh borders.
She left a bungalow and a plot of land estimated to be worth around £100,000,
making it a potentially profitable case for the heir hunters to pursue.
Born in 1927, Beryl had lived in the area all her life
and had worked as a nurse at the local Greenfields Hospital.
She married Frank Evans, a wood machinist, in 1949.
They never had children, but had been happily married until his death in 2000.
Frank's sister, Irene, was a great friend of Beryl's.
Beryl was a very kind person.
She would help anyone and was never disagreeable.
Well, we were more like sisters than sister-in-laws.
To see Beryl ill so suddenly...
It was really...
heartbreaking really to see such a well person
just go like that.
Beryl and Frank had lived first in the cottages
and then in the bungalow on the land that had been in his family for hundreds of years.
The cottages were of very sentimental value to me.
They were where I was born and all my happy childhood was there.
My whole lifetime of memories are there
and to have all those memories disappear
so suddenly is just heartbreaking.
If Beryl had left a will, the property and land could have stayed in the Evans family.
Sadly, she didn't and now legally only blood relations can inherit, which Irene is not.
The researchers in the office make a start on tracking down Beryl's family.
There's going to be a hell of a lot of Davies to Evans.
It's not the best search.
Davies and Evans are very common names, especially on the Welsh borders,
and there could be thousands of results, which would take the team weeks to sort through.
If we had better names, we would be able to do the search from her maiden name to her married name
and we'd get the name from her marriage.
I think if we looked for a marriage between Evans and Davies,
we probably would get 10,000 of them, so it's not something we can do.
Anyone done a Davies to Davies marriage search in Oswestry?
The first search produced 40-odd births.
David Pacifico, Frasers' longest-serving case manager is heading up the Evans job.
Right, can you get somebody to do a marriage search?
Davies to Davies, Oswestry.
Despite his 37 years of heir hunting experience, he's struggling to get this case moving.
To make the difference, to help us, we need the birth of the deceased to find out who are the parents.
We can then kill them off and go from there.
And if she has got close kin, then we'll hopefully find it.
The birth certificate will reveal Beryl's place of birth
and the names of her mother and father,
giving the researchers a place to start in hunting for living family.
But as they go to order the all-important certificates,
the team face a frustrating setback with the register office.
Unbelievable! Well, this is, to me, it's just typical of this country.
We're waiting to get certificates because we can't go into a register office and pick 'em up.
It's all done through a call centre now
and we've had to pay way, way over the odds to actually get them back today.
To find living heirs,
the researchers need to create an accurate family tree, working through each generation.
The certificates provide crucial names, dates and locations,
which are the clues the heir hunters rely on to build a tree and find the right family.
They are the cornerstone of heir hunting. Without them, their job is almost impossible.
It is very much up in the air.
It's because you can't walk into a register office Shropshire
and pick up a certificate. Daft, absolutely daft.
By the time we get the births...
We're not going to get that until this afternoon.
There's no register office to get it.
This crucial avenue of research is closed off, but the team must do something
or they could lose this case to the competition. It's time for the investigation to change tack.
This is a case that can be solved by talking to people.
It's not going to be solved by waiting for a certificate.
The team makes speculative calls to people in the Shrewsbury area with the name Evans.
Sorry to trouble you. Would that be Beryl Evans?
-Ah! Erm, in that case I actually think I've got the wrong number.
-There's nothing to worry about.
Erm, we're just researching into this estate, so...
They're hoping to speak to someone who may know of the deceased.
Right, OK. So there's people called Davies living in Sweeney Mountain, in Gobowen.
OK. Well, obviously, what I'll have to do is try to get hold of Irene
in Sweeney Mountain and see where we go from there.
OK, thanks. Bye.
I've just spoken to a neighbour who has told me that she's left a bungalow and some ground.
And the neighbour, who coincidentally was called Evans, but I'm sure there's no relation,
seems to be of the impression that she might have had some brothers
who have children who live, in theory, not far from Beryl.
What would have taken hours of database research has been done with a few well-placed phone calls.
They've got a lead on some family information.
Now they need someone on the ground who can take up the hunt.
Frasers have a network of travelling heir hunters spanning the length and breadth of the country.
They go wherever the hunt takes them, sniffing out clues and following leads.
They pick up records, talk to those who knew the deceased
and make door to door enquiries, all in the race to find and sign up heirs.
Ex-police sergeant Paul Matthews is their Midlands-based heir hunter
and is closest the Shropshire/Wales border.
There's only about six houses in that sort of area where she lived.
'One of the people hopefully you're gonna see would be a Doreen Evans.
'It's been suggested that she had brothers and they in turn had sons,
'living in a place called Sweeney Mountain.'
But go to that place and
'knock on all the doors if necessary.'
Paul's off to the Shropshire villages on the border of Wales,
where research often involves a more direct approach.
The office have made some enquiries now from the address. They've spoken to somebody in the area.
It looks as though it's a working case and hopefully we can find some relatives within a short time.
You do get some good information by visiting addresses where they used to live.
It is still worthwhile going and knocking on the door,
cos sometimes you do get some good breakthroughs from doing that.
As Paul heads off to do his enquiries, the office have narrowed down their searches
and have come across something intriguing.
We could have a bit of a problem because it's possible she might be born illegitimate.
But only because the best birth that we've got has the same maiden name as...
The mother's maiden name was the same as the name she was born under, but could be a Davies married a Davies.
Can't rule anything out, you know.
The heir hunters know from experience that when a child takes their mother's maiden name
this can mean there's no registered father, making them illegitimate.
But as they can't actually confirm any of the information with their records,
they can't move the case forward.
All hopes now rest with Paul Matthews.
He's meeting Doreen Evans, who Tony Pledger called earlier in the day.
She lives in the area and may be able to give Paul some clues.
What do you know about Beryl, who passed away? Do you know who she was married to?
Frank, Frank Evans, yes.
Did Beryl ever have visitors?
-Only Lindup, her second name was, from up Sweeney Mountain.
-Whereabouts is that?
By the little cottages at the end of the road, very near.
And you turn up there to Sweeney Mountain.
If Beryl had a regular visitor, they probably knew her well
and could be key to unlocking some family information.
The hunt takes Paul towards Sweeney Mountain, where Beryl last lived.
It's always helpful to speak to someone who's in the area.
They seem to think there's nephews up in Sweeney Mountain,
but, er... I don't know where we are.
Down the small country lanes, the combination of Doreen's directions
and Paul's hi-tech gadgets have left him scratching his head.
I don't know, cos there's areas up there as well.
GPS, as usual, put me in the middle of a field.
Whilst Paul goes astray on the Welsh borders,
back in the office, Fran has had a breakthrough with the Shropshire Records Office call centre.
The heir hunters can't get their hands on the certificates, but she's found out what's written on them
and it confirms Dave's suspicions about Beryl's birth.
-Margaret is the mother. No father.
-No. It's Margaret Davies, Treflach.
That's it. It ties in.
Margaret Davies of Treflach.
-She was born in Morda House.
-Morda is right in that right area.
-It ties up.
The information reveals that Beryl's registered place of birth was Morda House,
which was the local workhouse.
Established in 1792, it was built to house 300 people,
including the old, the infirm, the orphaned and unmarried girls who fell pregnant,
such as Margaret Davies, Beryl's mother.
Workhouse regimes were harsh and conditions spartan.
But it was at least a place of food and shelter for the local poor.
The Morda workhouse eventually became Greenfields Hospital,
the place Beryl went on to work at all her life as a nurse.
But the heir hunters don't know anything about Beryl's family.
Thankfully, Paul has finally found his way to the village where she lived for 40 years.
Did you know the lady who passed away?
He's hoping to tap into the local grapevine for information.
She was a widow, very independent, quite a hardy old stick.
The sister-in-law. Who was the sister-in-law married to? Any idea?
The sister-in-law was her deceased husband's sister.
-So that's a non-blood relative then I'm afraid.
-Is it. Yeah.
She helped Beryl a lot and used to have her round to lunch.
Do you know anything at all about Beryl's...? Did she have brothers and sisters?
Well, apparently, there may be some long-lost relatives in Ireland, who have probably died by now.
They didn't come to the funeral.
They don't know where they are.
I think the sister's trying to trace them. Irene will tell you far more about it than I can.
-She's known her for years. I've been here a year.
-OK. Any idea how long Beryl had lived here for?
-Oh, 40 years or so.
They had the bungalow built.
Yeah, planted those trees across there.
-Is that the bungalow there?
-Yeah. And that enormous garden round it.
It doesn't look modern.
It's a mean little bungalow, but the plot is wonderful.
Paul's discovered that Beryl's regular visitor was her sister-in-law,
Irene, who seems to be the person who knew her best.
I'm told she's very good for her age, so hopefully
she can tell us a little bit more about Beryl.
Will Irene, the sister of Beryl's husband, Frank, give them the breakthrough they're looking for?
Do you know who Beryl's mum was?
Margaret Davies, I think her name was.
Do you know if she had any brothers or sisters?
Yes, she had at least one... Two sisters, I think.
Were they Oswestry as well?
Morda, by Oswestry.
-So it's Morda, Oswestry?
Do you know if Annie had children?
She had about four, I think.
Any idea of their names?
And, er... Oh, there was another one.
I forget his name.
It's a male though, yeah?
-A male, yes.
-A son, yeah?
Irene has confirmed that Beryl did have a sister, Betty,
who may be deceased.
She's also confirmed that Beryl's mother, Margaret Davies, had two sisters.
Mary died without living children, so the family line comes to a dead end.
But Margaret's other sister, Sarah "Annie", did have children who could be heirs.
But in the hunt to track them down, the team are about to uncover something
that could throw a real spanner in the works.
-I don't know. Have we fallen down here?
-I'm a bit concerned now.
Tracing family members from very little information is the tough part of heir hunting.
But as one of the oldest probate companies in the UK, established almost 90 years ago,
Hoopers have a wealth of experience in tracking down missing beneficiaries
when all other trails have gone cold.
Could I get someone to look for a death for me? Anna?
Mike Tringham, chairman of the company,
started out as a junior researcher and has spent 35 years solving difficult cases.
Yeah, that's him.
Sometimes we come across a case which just really looks unsolvable
and those cases get the juices flowing.
And cases don't come much tougher than the case of Ernest Phythian, who died in 2003.
Although the unusual name sounds like it should be an easy hunt,
for experienced heir hunters it was his name that almost was Mike and Hoopers' undoing.
We were given the death certificate for Charles Ernest Phythian.
Unusual name in itself.
If that had been his original name, our job, possibly, would have been a lot easier.
But the fact was, he adopted that name by change of name back in 1953
and, in fact, he was born as Ernest McLoughlin and we know that because that's stated in the deed poll.
Ernest Phythian died at the Moss View Nursery Home in Toxteth, in Liverpool, aged 94.
Born in 1909, Ernest had been fostered by the Phythian family,
eventually taking their name as his own.
Married to his childhood sweetheart, Edna, in 1937, they had 50 years of marriage before she died.
Ernest and Edna hadn't had any children and no other family members related to Ernest could be found.
He left no will, but did leave an estate worth £50,000,
so it was a valuable case for Mike to pursue, even if at first glance it looked unsolvable.
He was fostered.
He was fostered by the Phythian family and so he wasn't probably brought up by his parents
at any stage in his life, or at least not since his infancy.
So we're already getting a vague idea or vague picture of what might have occurred
around the time of the deceased's birth.
As Ernest had never been legally adopted by the Phythians,
it was his biological parents that Mike needed to look into.
Mike knew from his birth certificate that Ernest's father was Michael McLoughlin
and his mother, Edith Greenfield.
Mike started to search on the only information he had, their names.
We discovered that there were at least 12 Michael McLoughlins born every year,
so unfortunately on this rare occasion we had to draw a line under our research
and that's what decided us to turn our attention to the mother's side.
The researchers needed to find Edith Greenfield, who would have been of childbearing age in 1909.
They found over 50.
That was too many to research, so we tried to narrow it down to the north-west of England,
covering a number of counties, but the numbers were still too many.
There were in excess of 20 in Lancashire.
Right, looking for Greenfield.
Mike's years of heir hunting experience led him to now follow a hunch.
One of the 20 caught his attention because she had so little documentation.
There seemed to be no marriage record for her, no death record for her,
no trace whatsoever for her
and that immediately raised my suspicions about this particular Edith.
So she immediately became a bit of a mystery woman.
So that is when we decided to target her and her family.
Mike didn't know whether this was the right Edith,
but working totally speculatively, he found details of her family from the Census.
She was born in 1882 in Toxteth Park in Liverpool,
the same place Ernest had been born.
John and Ruth Greenfield were her parents and she had four sisters,
Amy, Beatrice, Adelaide and Jane.
And a call to one of their descendants turned up more than Mike could have hoped for.
What really struck me...
you know, that moment where you almost fall off your chair...
was when she mentioned Canada and almost in passing
she'd mentioned that she thought her mother had relatives who went to Canada.
I began to think to myself,
"Well, just supposing, just what if this Edith Greenfield
"decided that she'd had enough of life in Liverpool,
"things hadn't been going very well,
"she parcelled off her new-born child to foster parents, or whatever,
"and decided to make a new life for herself in Canada?"
During the 19th century, the Liverpool docks emerged
as the main emigrant port from Europe to the New World, as it was then known.
As the steamships got bigger and were able to take more passengers, turn of the century Liverpool
saw thousands of people coming through the port.
What happened very commonly is one group of people
would come out from one area of one community
and they would write back
and that would build up a momentum for sort of big swaths
of communities from areas in places right across Europe to join them.
So you got communities settling in similar areas in North America also.
So you had this sort of traffic going across.
But also you had economic conditions in Britain...
I mean, you had an urban centre like somewhere like Liverpool, which was overcrowded,
there was masses of poverty, so on a personal level it was very much a personal choice to improve
one's opportunities in life, just like anybody emigrating today would probably make similar decisions.
For Edith, as a single, unmarried mother, emigration may well have been her chance for a better life.
Coming from somewhere like Toxteth she would have been very conscious
of a lot of people moving through the port who were doing the same thing, so to migrate to another
country, to North America, perhaps wouldn't have been such a big deal.
If Edith Greenfield had emigrated to Canada, leaving the young Ernest in the UK,
the researchers would need the help of their overseas agent to take up the hunt.
I contacted our office in Toronto and got our man,
Malcolm, on the case and told him to get stuck into it.
Mike then started checking Liverpool emigration records,
trying to glean any information he could about Edith's family.
It turned out that between 1909 and 1914,
Edith and two of her sisters, Amy and Jane, emigrated to Canada,
leaving the other two sisters in Liverpool.
He also discovered that their mother, Ruth Greenfield, Ernest's grandmother,
had been caught up in one of the great shipping disasters of the 20th century.
The Empress of Ireland was built in 1906 by Canadian Pacific to target the emigrant trade.
It would have taken around the region of 1,500 passengers and crew.
You know, you would have had in the region of between 700 and 800 third-class passengers
and then less second-class and then less again first-class
and then maybe in the region of between 400 and 500 crew members.
The Empress of Ireland was leaving Canada, leaving Quebec,
in sort of the late afternoon on May 29th in 1914. Regular voyage.
There wasn't anything unusual.
But what happened was, when it was travelling along the Saint Lawrence River,
some patchy fog began to descend.
By, sort of, the early hours of the morning, the fog had become very,
very thick indeed, so the captain,
Captain Kendall, made to decision to stop the ship for safety reasons.
But another ship was on the river and through the dense fog, it didn't see the Empress of Ireland.
The Storstad, a Norwegian collier, struck the liner midship
on the starboard side and inflicted fatal damage.
The engine room flooded, so the watertight doors couldn't be operated
and it just... I mean, the damage was so bad that the ship literally listed and sank within 15 minutes.
So it was an horrific scenario.
The bulk of people were fast asleep. They didn't know what was happening
and, of course, the impact was so quick that there was no response time.
I think they managed to get four lifeboats out, but most people just drowned in their cabins, basically.
I mean, that was the reality of it.
And there were over 1,000 fatalities.
It was a huge, huge tragedy. I mean, on the scale of Titanic.
Edith's mother, Ruth, a member of the Salvation Army, was on board, bound for England.
There were about 200 Salvation Army members.
Possibly Ruth Greenfield was one of these.
150 of them perished out of the 200, in the region of,
and they were all coming over for an international conference in the UK.
So it was quite possible that Ruth was travelling for that purpose.
After discovering the tragic death of Ruth Greenfield on the Empress of Ireland,
the Canadian team then managed to find a record of her daughter, Edith.
Malcolm came up with the goods.
He discovered a marriage certificate for an Edith Greenfield, which fitted the bill.
This marriage to an Edward Lane was key.
It meant Ernest's mother, the elusive Edith,
finally reappeared in official records and her trail could be picked up again.
Mike then found out that she'd had a son, John, but was this actually Ernest's mother, Edith?
And so, was her son, John, really related to Ernest Phythian, born Ernest McLoughlin?
Mike had been working from hunches all along and still didn't know for sure.
But looking into John's records, he saw a name that just jumped off the page.
He was known as John McLoughlin Lane
and you can imagine our delight when we discovered
this piece of information, because all the pieces fell into place.
It vindicated all the work and effort we'd put in.
McLoughlin was the name that tied them together
and further investigations confirmed that John was Edith's illegitimate son
and therefore a half-brother to Ernest.
In fact, with her husband, Edward Lane, Edith had three further daughters, Marjorie, Enid and Alma.
The children of these half-brothers and sisters to Ernest would go on to inherit his £50,000 estate.
In total, there were ten half-nephews and nieces.
Sheila Milne was a relative Mike found in the UK.
Although not an heir to Ernest's money, what she gained from him was worth far more to her.
My parents died when I was in my early 20s,
so it was a feeling of I was pretty much on my own as far as relations were concerned.
And then going through all this experience and learning about Ernest
and learning about my great-aunts and the rest of the family,
it's been a wonderful feeling.
It's just I now have more family out there.
And I would like to get in touch with them.
Through Mike, Sheila's wish had been granted.
For the first time in their lives, and through the wonders of modern technology,
Sheila is about to be reunited with her second cousin, Maureen Boychuck, in Canada.
-How are you?
It's fantastic to speak to you.
Oh, yes. Same to you.
I've already got the tears in my eyes.
Don't start. You'll start me off.
Oh, what a day! I thought this would never happen.
It's very emotional. You've got to stop crying.
My emotion's very weird.
I've grown up in foster homes.
I just see my brothers and and my...
I never knew there was an extended family like there is now. You know...
Well, Ernest's death has actually brought a lot of family back together and reunited a family, which is nice.
It's a shame that we never got to meet him.
I'm grateful to Ernest that he didn't make a will.
He's just made my life so much richer.
For every case that is solved, there are still those that stubbornly remain a mystery.
Over 3,000 names drawn from across the country are on the Treasury's unsolved case list.
Their assets will be kept for up to 30 years in the hope
that someone will remember and come forward to claim their inheritance.
With estates valued at anything from £5,000 to millions of pounds,
the rightful heirs are out there somewhere.
Today, we've got two cases heir hunters have so far failed to solve.
Could you be the key? Could you be in line for a payout?
Maria Gomez Lopez, a spinster from Lewisham in London, passed away back in May 2008.
So far her relatives have proved elusive.
Is this a name you remember from your family?
Morwynna Harding, born Morwynna Tucker, died in Torrington in Devon in May 2008.
97 years old, she outlived her husband, Edgar, and daughter, Ruby.
Could she be a distant relative?
Could you be in line for a payout?
Finding out just who is entitled to a payout from an estate
where no will has been left can be a very difficult process and not just for the heir hunters.
The team at Fraser and Fraser have been looking into the case of Beryl Evans,
since it appeared on the Treasury's list early this morning.
-The first search produced 40-odd births.
-What about marriages?
After spending the day knocking on doors of friends and neighbours in Shropshire...
Did you know the lady who passed away at all?
Travelling heir hunter, Paul Matthews found Irene Lindup,
the sister of Beryl's deceased husband, Frank.
Did Beryl have any brothers or sisters?
She had one sister.
It turns out that Beryl's bungalow and land, which formed the bulk of the estimated £100,000 estate,
had been in Frank and Irene's family for generations.
Irene was even born in the cottages, which were there before the bungalow.
On Frank's death, the land and property
passed over to his wife, Beryl, changing the family ownership.
I've had the key to Beryl's bungalow
till this week. My brother had the bungalow built,
but it's pointless me hanging on to the key when it's nothing more to do with me.
This is the end of it for me.
There's nothing more for me to go round for now.
As Beryl sadly left no will, the property won't be staying in Irene's family.
It and any other money in the estate can now only be inherited by the Treasury or blood relatives,
Beryl's distant family that she had never actually been in contact with.
The house was built by her brother, so I think probably the moral thing
to happen was for it to go to Irene,
but that's not the way it's going to happen because Irene's not a blood relative.
So, in the eyes of the law, it goes to the bloodline.
So it's what happens when people don't make wills
and the estate doesn't go to where they want it to go to,
but there you go. We can't change that.
OK, thanks, Paul.
There was a sister that married somebody called Roberts and had several children.
We've got some information.
Irene has however provided the team with the key family information that will finally move the case forward.
This other sister married a Roberts...
and had four children. Dennis.
Mary, who went off to Liverpool. Violet, who married a Bill Evans, that was...
and another male.
So we've got a Davies to a Roberts.
According to the bloodline, the first entitled to inherit would be Beryl's sister, the elusive Betty.
But tracking her down is not looking hopeful.
We can't at the moment identify her birth or anything else.
I'm told that she died in Ireland.
It may be something we may never be able to really...
But what we have got is potentially cousins
and although there may someone closer outstanding,
if we can't get anywhere on that, we've got to go to cousins.
Census searches on the aunts are the next step.
The Census told us that Margaret Ellen had two sisters,
a Mary M and a Sarah E
and that her father was called William and her mum was an "E. A.",
which we've now found out is an Elizabeth Anne.
Beryl's mother Margaret Davies did have two sisters.
One, Mary, died without living children.
But the other, Sarah "Annie", known just as Annie, looks like she may have living family.
Let's see if we can marry them up and find an address for one of them.
One of Annie's children, Dennis Roberts, is coming up on the searches.
He would be a first cousin to Beryl.
Trouble is, there's not one, but two in the area.
'Your destination is ahead.'
Paul's got a 50-50 chance of picking the right one.
Thank you. Bye-bye.
Right, well, we've got two addresses in Oswestry, both of Dennis Roberts.
Erm, the one we've tried, there's no reply on the phone, so we went round to pop round
the other one, who's right on age, but unfortunately it's the wrong one.
So it's the other Dennis Roberts in Oswestry that we've got to go and sort out. So sod's law, innit?
Half a mile to the next Dennis Roberts.
Will the real Dennis Roberts please stand up?
Now the team have good, confirmed, family information,
they can move quickly on investigating the other cousins.
Born 15th September '24 in Sweeney Road.
Sweeney as in Sweeney Mountain, yeah?
-It's a place.
Violet May Evans, Dennis's sister and a cousin of Beryl's, is found to be deceased.
But the team have just located her will and her estate has been left
to her children, John and Susan, who it appears are still in the area.
That's two first cousins, once removed of the deceased, erm,
actually living, I think,
on one of the roads which is on the corner of the first cousin we had, of Dennis.
So the two children of that Evans one, we have up to date addresses and phone numbers for them.
And it sort of makes that Dennis address, which we sent Paul round to earlier,
it makes that stronger because of the closeness of the family.
Quite often we find that they're living on neighbouring roads and stuff. So that's all good.
Dave contacts one of them, John Evans, to break the news.
Mr Evans, we're looking into an estate going back through the Davies side of the family.
We're trying to track down the blood relations, to which your mother,
had she still been alive, we believe would have been a potential beneficiary.
But he gets some unexpected news of his own.
Morris? Morris Davies?
How was he...? How did?
Erm, we don't know about Morris.
So this would be your grandmother's sister?
Ah, this is... Can I just say,
you remember his grandmother having a sister called Alice who married a Mr Morris?
-Is the only...
-I don't know. Have we fallen down here?
-I'm a bit concerned now.
It's almost the end of the day and just as Dave was thinking they had it all sewn up...
Right, let's go down to see the troops.
He's found out there could be a whole other branch to the family.
Alice Davies, another of Beryl's aunts, married a Llewellyn Morris and they had children.
It seems there are even more heirs to track down.
If John Evans is right, that is another branch we didn't know about.
We need more information about this Alice Davies who married Morris.
And it may well be that Dennis or Mary will have more information, you know.
We're getting there.
And they may even know more about the deceased and her so-called sister.
That would be even...something else.
Paul Matthews has been on the go for almost 12 hours and he's only now
about to see his first heirs and hopefully sign them up.
And your date of birth? You can't lie on this occasion.
John and Susan Evans are Beryl's first cousins, once removed.
-So we've got your grandmother's sister was Alice?
-She had two children?
The first child was Marjorie?
-The other one was Mickey.
We've got Marjorie marrying somebody called Roberts?
-And there's three children, Malcolm, Steven and Penny.
-Penny, I think, yeah.
They are able to fill in lots of the gaps on Beryl's Aunt Alice's branch of the family tree.
I think we've done very well. We've drained you of information.
Once they've signed the contracts, the claim can be submitted on their behalf
and Frasers will make their commission.
But it seems John and Susan know nothing of Beryl's existence.
As an illegitimate child born in the 1920s, it looks like she may well have been a family secret.
All I know is it's on me grandmother's side somewhere,
but we've never really delved into the family tree or anything,
so you know, we've no idea.
We've got family all over the place, but I can't imagine for the life of me who the missing link is.
-Thank you very much.
-And for Paul Matthews it's a successful end to a long day.
We've made some good inroads. It's nearly half nine at night,
so I've had 13 hours on the road so far, so well and truly shattered.
So looking forward to getting home,
have a bit of kip and then get up in the morning and start all over again.
The heirs will get their share of Beryl's estate,
which is thought to be worth £100,000.
But it's a different story for Beryl's best friend and sister-in-law, Irene.
Obviously, she's not going to get anything from this.
And sometimes you have to feel, well, she probably deserves it
and if only there was a will, then she may be several hundred thousand pounds better off.
I would have preferred Beryl to
write a will and we would know then
who she really wanted to pass it on to.
I miss Beryl terrible.
I've got no-one else to go out with.
She was my bosom friend.
So this has been a big wrench in my life.
I'm really sad to have lost everything.
All I have now is a memory.
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