Browse content similar to Smith-Kiff/Sherry. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Heir hunters spend their lives tracking down the families of people who died with no will.
They hand over thousands of pounds to long-lost relatives
who had no idea they were in line for a windfall.
Could they be knocking at your door?
On today's programme, the team throw everything
at a case, but have they met their match on this mystery man's estate?
There's something peculiar on this case. Not sure what.
There's too many holes, too many unanswered questions at the moment.
And another estate reveals more to the heir about her mum than she bargained for.
Oh, that's just thrown me a bit.
Plus how you may be entitled to inherit some of the unclaimed cash held by the Treasury.
Could thousands of pounds be heading your way?
Every year in Britain, thousands of people die
without leaving a will.
If no obvious family can be found, the money goes straight to the government,
who last year made over 18 million pounds in unclaimed estates.
That's where the heir hunting companies come in.
Fraser and Fraser is one of the largest probate firms in the world.
For over 90 years, a member of the Fraser family
has been helping trace the rightful beneficiaries to thousands of estates.
Our job is incredibly exciting.
We're tracing family trees, delving back into people's history,
delving back in time, and looking at the hidden mysteries in people's families.
Some cases take years of painstaking research before
trying to contact heirs.
This is one such case.
It started at 7am on Thursday 22nd January 2009
with the team at Fraser and Fraser's office looking into the Treasury's lists of unclaimed estates.
We're going to start off looking at John Edward Cecil Smith, otherwise Kiff.
Everything we found on the property is under the surname of Kiff.
So, it leads me to think we're going to start off with a birth under the name of Smith...
erm, which is going to be a bit tricky, really.
It's a very hard name to research.
When someone has changed their name in their life,
the important information for the researchers
is the name that person was born under,
as that should be the name their relatives share.
Unfortunately for them,
Neil believes that John was born under the common name Smith.
But with a property attached, the case is still worth researching.
I think he owns his own house,
which means value-wise, we're looking in the region of £100,000, £150,000, possibly £200,000.
It's a reasonable house in a reasonable area.
So, it's got some value.
The deceased, John, died in Littlehampton
on the south coast of England in September 2008.
It's a popular area for people to retire to,
and John moved here in the later years
of his life with his wife June.
His neighbour Pam remembers him well.
He looked very fit and well, he was a stocky little chap.
Very well-built and as tough as anything.
I think he thought he was a bit of a Jack the lad.
He liked to play it up a bit.
Before moving to Sussex, John lived in London,
and had met his wife June in the nightclubs of the East End.
He'd been a bit of a lad when he was younger.
Proper little rough diamond, I would say, John.
He's the sort that makes the world go round, isn't he?
John and June never had any children together
and Pam never found out about any other family either.
"Cor, I don't bother with them," he said, "I don't bother with my family.
"We don't have anything to do with one another"-type of thing.
"We never sent each other cards and that."
I had a feeling he didn't keep in touch with any of them.
Quite a lone...star, in my opinion.
In the heir hunters' office, the investigation is being run by case manager Marcus Herbert.
But probate research often involves working out on the road.
Marcus's first move is to send traveller Bob Smith
down to Worthing Register Office to pick up John's death certificate.
John Edward Cecil Smith.
He was born on 6th June 1927.
Whilst Bob makes his way to Worthing,
there is no time for Marcus to waste.
He needs to open up other lines of enquiry straightaway,
as there are always rival firms of heir hunters trying
to get to the heirs before them.
I'm going to ring somebody's neighbours now
and see if they can shed any light on it. He had been married as well, see if they know where he came from.
John Smith is one of the most common names in Britain.
So, researching it will involve plenty of speculation.
Neil is leaving nothing to chance, as he's opened up
another line of enquiry.
This is led by Gareth Langford
with his team of office-based researchers.
It's their job to search the official records for clues to John's family.
The most important first step is to identify John's birth record.
If this is wrong, it's a disaster for the case,
as the entire family tree is built on someone else's life.
I've got a birth of a John E C Smith and the deceased is John Edward Cecil.
So, I'm hoping this is going to be our guy.
He was born in Barrow-on-Soar.
His mother's maiden name is Lane. Smith is a terrible name.
Mother's maiden name Lane is not much better.
Gareth believes that John is originally from the Leicestershire area
and is the son of a John Thomas Smith and Edith Lane.
He is an only child, so the team now need
to establish whether either of his parents had any siblings
in their quest to find out if John has any living relatives.
This is the 1901 census.
We've got Edith Mary Lane.
Again, born in Barrow, so...I quite like it.
Her parents are Edward... this is the deceased's grandparents,
Edward and Harriet, and we've also got a brother and a sister.
We've got Samuel and a Rose...Annie.
The good thing about this is that we're away from the surname Smith,
so we might be able to do something with this.
It's still only 8am. Most of the office
is researching this estimated £150,000 case.
But who will make the first break-through?
The deceased's mother, Edith, has a brother, Samuel.
He's born 1892, but he was married in Spalding to a Beatrice.
Had two children.
One of which is an Edward Lane. Edward C Lane.
He was born in 1921.
Gareth's lead looks promising.
Moving to the surname Lane has allowed the team
to work more quickly through the records,
and find Edward, a possible first cousin of John's.
Solving a case of John Smith before 9am would be quite a feat.
But only if it's correct.
It does look like they are the right people,
it is up-to-date and we have telephone numbers.
I'm going to see Marcus and then...
he will hopefully phone up the potential heir for us.
So, we're up-to-date incredibly quickly
considering that Smith... It's remarkable.
-You're too slow.
-How confident are we this is right?
-Personally, I think we get Ewart straight to that address.
Possible heir Edward lives in Warwickshire,
and with rival firms also investigating this valuable estate,
Marcus wants to get ahead of the competition
and send travelling heir hunter Ewart Lindsay straight to the area,
so he's poised to meet Edward as soon as possible.
Hello, Marcus, how are you?
-'Could you head to Leicester?'
-Can you make an appointment for me?
Great. One case up-to-date. That's good.
John's case seems to have been solved by the office in record time,
but back in Worthing Register Office,
Bob is taking things at a slightly more leisurely pace.
Bob has finally got the deceased's death certificate
and it verifies the address in Littlehampton where John died.
Bob needs to relay the information back to the office.
But now, with a possible heir already identified,
Bob's work might now just be a formality.
Hello, mate, all right?
We've got somebody up-to-date, if it's right.
Oh, my word.
Do you want to do an enquiry?
Bob cannot believe how quickly the case has progressed.
But is it too good to be true?
Marcus must now call possible heir Edward Lane
to confirm his identity.
If Edward can verify key family details,
then he'll inherit part of John's estimated £150,000 estate.
Hello, Mr Lane, I'm sorry to trouble you.
My name is Mr Herbert, I'm ringing from a company in London
called Fraser and Fraser. We're probate researchers.
Do you know much about your late father's family?
Whether he had brothers and sisters?
Right. Do you know what happened to cousin John at all?
Do you know where John died at all?
Thanks very much.
Got the wrong family.
This is wrong.
Cos they've confirmed all this. He died in Rearsby in Leicestershire
about two years ago.
We've gone a bit skew-whiff somewhere.
It's a killer blow.
Gareth's team have been looking into the wrong family
all along in the records.
It is an entirely different John E C Smith
they have researched, one that died in Leicestershire and not Sussex.
This is something that can happen all too often when looking into
a common family name like Smith.
Certainly a major set-back.
We're back to square one.
Everything we've done is wrong.
So, now we're going to make sure we catch up
and do everything correctly.
The team must identify the correct birth record of our John
to move forward with the case.
Traveller Bob Smith, no relation,
is still down in Sussex making enquiries at the house,
which they do know belonged to the deceased.
So, despite his slow start, could Bob now
be the best source of information on the case?
-Hi, good morning.
-Hello. We're making enquiries about a chap that used to live at number four.
-Did you know him at all?
-Yes, I knew him quite well, yes.
Can you tell me about his family at all?
I don't know anything about his family.
I never met any of his family. He came from London.
-He used to live in London.
-Did he work up there, did he?
-Yes, yes, he was something to do with nightclubs.
-Quite a colourful character, then.
-But he didn't mention any family at all?
All right. Well, thanks very much. Sorry to have troubled you.
Bob has got lucky and has a lead
that John lived in London and was known by the Kiff name
rather than as Smith in Leicestershire.
He needs to relay this information back to the office straightaway
to get them back on the right track.
I had a very good interview.
He worked in a nightclub, the deceased,
which is where he met his wife.
Apparently, they were both East-Enders.
He spoke quite often about the characters in the East End
and around the nightclubs and that.
The research Bob has compiled
could be the key to unlocking the case.
But there is also a discrepancy about John's real name.
The office has assumed that John's birth name was Smith,
and so his family would be Smith too, but is this the case?
The neighbour seems to think that Kiff was his name.
And not Smith.
'We're wondering if he's adopted, We're getting that checked out.'
The heir hunters now can't be sure if his family will be Smiths or Kiffs,
so are having to do their research under both names.
The all-important birth record has still not been found.
With two names to research,
there are thousands of possibilities.
Case is turning into a bit of a nightmare, really.
I think I'm going to need to put on more researchers and travellers,
and really, I think we're going to crack this case
by weight of research and weight of numbers.
With the whole office on the case, they have identified the deceased,
John, got married to June in North London in 1977
under his Kiff surname.
Neil has dispatched a third travelling heir hunter, Dave Hadley,
to pick up the marriage certificate in Edmonton.
It should say the name of John's father,
which could lead to John's birth and break the case wide open.
-I've got that marriage certificate for you.
-You excellent man.
It's John Edward Cecil Kiff, K-I-F-F.
Married June Rose Coombs, C-O-O-M-B-S.
-The address given at the time...
..was Edmonton, London, N9.
His father is
shown as a William Kiff.
John's father is a man called William Kiff,
which suggests that John could
indeed be born under his Kiff surname.
This should be the breakthrough they need,
but they cannot find any record of a John Kiff that matches.
So, something is not right.
There's something peculiar on this case. Not sure what yet.
There's too many holes and unanswered questions at the moment.
I think he's illegitimate, that's why we can't find him.
It's not falling out anywhere...
It's a fair old combination of names.
You've got Kiff, which is good, as well.
Only two things will clarify the case -
John's birth certificate or John's mother's maiden name.
They cannot find either at present.
The research has hit a brick wall.
Could this case really get the better of Fraser's?
We're going to have this problem all day, I know it.
We can't find the birth.
In which case, if we can't find it at all,
we can only abandon the case, that's all we can do.
In fact, the team continue to struggle with this case
for the next two days
until they reluctantly admit defeat,
at least for now.
The mystery surrounding John Kiff remains.
Just where did he come from?
And why did he change his name?
Could it be as simple as an illegitimate birth or an adoption?
Or it is something connected
to John's past in the East End of London?
When heir hunters investigate cases of people dying without a will,
they come across fascinating stories,
which otherwise would have been left untold.
Ivy Sherry is one such case.
She died in April 2009 from a stroke.
She had spent the last few years of her life in Middlewich
at an NHS-supported housing network,
as she had lived for many years with a range of learning difficulties.
Ivy had not made a will,
and when she passed away,
no relatives came forward.
So, her case was placed
on the Treasury's list of unclaimed estates.
The case was then picked up by heir hunting firm Celtic Research fronted by
Peter and Hector Birchwood. They have a team of regional
case managers including Liverpool-based Saul Marks.
He took on the investigation to track down
The main document to begin the case, really, was Ivy's birth certificate.
We had to get that to find out who her parents were.
She was born on 26th December 1934. Her mother
was Lily Sherry, a domestic servant.
There's no father on the birth certificate.
That suggest strongly she was illegitimate.
Illegitimacy is a crucial detail for heir hunters,
as there is no need to try to trace a father or his family.
Entitlement in these cases only stems down the maternal side.
We knew there was no way we could establish her paternal line.
Even if someone knew the answer, it would be pretty much impossible to prove.
The investigation now centred on finding out more about
Ivy's mother, Lily Sherry.
If Saul could establish
more facts about her life,
it might lead to finding Ivy's heirs.
Lily Sherry was born
in Ludlow in Shropshire in 1907.
She was born into a very large farming family.
Lily's parents were a Richard Sherry and Martha Morgan.
She was the sixth of an incredible 13 children.
So, there is a good possibility that Ivy had cousins.
However, if Lily herself had any other children,
then they would be closer kin,
and so inherit in preference to possible cousins.
Finding out what happened to Ivy's mother, Lily, was critical.
She is known within the wider family to have left for Liverpool
and settled in Liverpool where she was in domestic service,
and that is borne out by the information on the birth certificate.
Although the domestic service industry has long since died out,
in Lily's day, this was a very common profession.
The late 19th century and early 20th century
certainly can be thought of as the golden age of domestic service.
It was larger as a single sector of workers than the industrial workers
or even agricultural workers.
Often it was the case that people from agricultural labouring families
would get their training locally
in say, the vicar's house, or the local big farmer
and then want to move to
either a big country house or to a town to sell those skills.
Lily worked doing domestic duties in a large house in Botanic Road, Liverpool.
Servants were usually relatively well looked after
by the master of the house, but there was one major drawback.
And that could have serious consequences for the case.
The tradition and expectation that servants shouldn't marry
was almost certainly, I think,
based on the fact that their employers,
masters and mistresses, if you like,
didn't want to have the responsibility of extra families,
extra mouths to feed living in with them.
That would be a major restriction, an economic one, if you like.
However, Saul discovered that Lily didn't always do what was expected of her,
as she gave birth to Ivy out of wedlock
in January 1935
whilst a domestic servant.
She married a year after Ivy was born to a Mr Birtley.
So, we were then able to trace the children who she had had
with Mr Birtley, of which there were quite a few.
This was a very important discovery.
Saul had now found nine possible half-siblings to Ivy.
They also grew up in the Liverpool area,
but it certainly wasn't an easy childhood.
They lived a very hard life on the breadline, as it were.
Their mother worked hard as a domestic servant
to try and make ends meet.
By searching through the electoral records,
Saul began tracking down these potential half-siblings of Lily.
One of the first he contacted as a possible heir was Anne Dowling.
But Saul was breaking news of more than just an inheritance.
Just couldn't believe it at first.
Never even heard my mum mention that name or anything, anything at all.
It's just a complete shock.
We just wanted to know everything, which Saul didn't, really, know that much at that time.
It turned out that none of Anne's seven brothers or sisters
knew anything about this supposed half-sibling either.
Despite all being brought up together,
none of them had ever heard of anyone called Ivy.
Mum and Dad never, ever spoke about their early years.
I knew that she didn't marry my dad until 1935,
But we just didn't know a thing.
This came as a surprise to Saul.
Had he really contacted the correct family?
Here was a family who were astonished
to hear that they had an illegitimate half-sister
who they didn't know of.
It's very unusual because even in families
who have been estranged, who have split up,
who have had feuds amongst them,
people still know who they've fallen out with
or who's moved to Australia or anything like that.
We had to be very careful and make absolutely, doubly, triply sure that we were on the right lines.
Saul went back to basics and double-checked Ivy's date of birth.
The clinching factor here, really, is that the dates of birth match up exactly,
so we know this is the same person.
Saul had traced the right family.
All of the other children had been brought up together, but had simply not heard of Ivy.
So what could be the reason for Ivy's estrangement from all of her brothers and sisters?
Still to come, the family secrets are laid bare,
as Anne Dowling discovers all about her half-sister's past.
It's just the idea that she was on her own.
I just don't think it's fair.
For every case that is solved,
there are still thousands on the Treasury's list that remain a mystery.
The deceased's assets are kept for up to 30 years, in the hope that, eventually,
someone will remember and come forward to claim their inheritance.
And with estates valued at anything from £5,000 to millions,
the rightful heirs are out there somewhere.
Could you know the answer? Maybe you're in line for a windfall.
John K Robinson passed away on the 1st March 2007, in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
So far, every attempt to find his rightful heir has failed.
Does his name sound familiar to you? Could you be entitled to his legacy?
Kathleen Shackleford was a spinster who died in Southbourne, Bournemouth, in July 2008.
Do you know her? Was she a neighbour of yours?
If no relatives are found for John K Robinson or Kathleen Shackleford,
their money will go to the government.
But could it be meant for you?
Later, we rejoin the team at Fraser and Fraser,
nine months after they first started to investigate the case of John Kiff, formerly Smith.
But could his estate still be bamboozling them?
In the estate of Ivy Sherry, nine half-siblings have been found by heir hunter Saul Marks.
Amazingly, none of them had ever heard of Ivy, their half-sister.
When Ivy was born, her mother, Lily was working as a domestic servant,
and having children, especially out of wedlock, was deeply frowned upon.
If Lily had wanted to keep her job, she could well have been expected to give up Ivy,
which would explain her separation from her siblings in later life.
At this time, Lily worked for an infamous figure, Battling Bessie Braddock,
and she told her daughter, Anne, all about Bessie.
I think I was on the tram with her, or something, and we were passing Deane Road, round by Botanic Park,
and she said, "I used to live in that street. I used to be in service."
And that's when she told me about working for Bessie Braddock.
And I thought, "Ooh, Mum worked for someone famous."
Bessie Braddock was a controversial MP from Liverpool.
She was a fervent champion of the working class in the Labour Party,
so if anyone was going to flout convention by allowing a single mum, like Lily, to keep her job,
it was Bessie.
Bessie Braddock was a formidable woman.
She became an MP after the war.
She was an MP for 24 years.
She campaigned tirelessly for workers' rights in Liverpool, to her dying day.
During the 1930s, Liverpool and its famous Dockyard were hit hard by the Great Depression,
and the resulting poverty that Bessie saw shaped her political convictions.
The only alternative solution to the problem
lies in complete abolition of prescription charges.
As youngsters, we were told the stories about her at a very early age.
My grandmother told me about her, my parents told me about her.
Never mind John Lennon. She was the Liverpool working-class hero.
Bessie was certainly fond of Lily, and Anne remembers her talking about attending her mum and dad's wedding.
She said Bessie Braddock came to the wedding, and she wouldn't kneel down in church because she was an atheist.
And I think that's the very first time I heard that word - atheist.
Although Lily moved on from Bessie's employment when she subsequently married,
it is hard to imagine Bessie would have been the cause of Ivy's estrangement from the family.
I think Bessie Braddock would have been very sympathetic with Lily and what she'd had to go through.
I think she could see that she was trying to bring up young children,
and the plight that she'd found herself in.
I think she would have had every sympathy with her. It's that type of person that she fought for.
So, if employment is not the cause,
then what could be the reason for Ivy's separation from her many siblings?
Saul is meeting heir and half-sister Anne Dowling to reveal more and to try and find out about Ivy's life.
-Are you all right?
This is the cause of death.
"1A" is a cerebrovascular accident, which is a stroke.
-Point two is learning difficulties, epilepsy and previous TIAs.
TIAs are mini strokes.
At the time of her death, Ivy had many learning difficulties and was living in supportive housing.
Her carers were the closest people in her life.
I've spoken to some of the neighbours of this address.
One of the women said that she remembered Ivy and that Ivy was blind.
-I don't know how long she was blind for,
but they remember her being blind and they remembered the name Ivy Sherry.
-Oh, that's just thrown me a bit.
It turned out, Ivy was diagnosed blind from an early age.
Coupled with her other learning difficulties, could this range of disabilities
explain why her mother gave her up?
I'm just ima...
My imagination's working overtime.
I know how close I am to my family and my children.
I just can't imagine the life that she's had.
I just wish I'd known her and I just wish...
I just don't think it's fair.
When Ivy was born, in 1934, disability was looked upon in a very different way.
It was extremely common then,
for people with even minor learning difficulties,
to be placed in an institution, away from their family.
and this is probably what happened with Ivy.
From the early 20th century,
the momentum to segregate people with learning difficulties
from the rest of society gained momentum.
It was a matter of shame and stigma to have a child with a learning difficulty.
So the pressures there, as well, to accept an institutional place,
or even to ask for one, were quite intense.
Although Ivy was put into care, at the time,
it was often seen as the best thing a mother could do for herself and her child.
It would be very wrong to judge Lily's decision to put Ivy into an institution by today's lights.
Remember that Lily would have been subject to double stigma as an unmarried mother,
and as having a disabled child,
that she faced huge practical difficulties. She would have had no financial support from the state,
she would have had no practical support in caring for her daughter,
and she may well have thought that her daughter would have a better future in an institution
than she would in the alternative, which was a workhouse.
After learning about the half-sister she never knew she had,
heir Anne Dowling is making her way with her son, Kenny,
to the care home where Ivy spent her final years.
She has resolved to discover more about her half-sister and her life in care.
We're just about to go to the home where Ivy lived,
and see if we can get any photographs or learn as much as we can about her here and...
..just find out as much as we can, really.
In a private, but illuminating, meeting,
Anne managed to find out lots of enlightening information about Ivy from her carers.
This meeting has left her one step closer to knowing her half-sister.
They said she was a happy person...
could stand up for herself, even though she was blind...
er...loved her holidays.
They went away, every year, on holiday. She loved Blackpool, Rhyl...
Yeah, but they said she was a real character,
and she was really well thought of, they loved her.
So that's made me feel a lot easier.
Anne has also managed to see Ivy's memory box from the care home and look at some photos.
Her resemblance to the rest of the family is clear to Anne, and Ivy's friends.
As soon as I walked in, they went, "You can tell you're Ivy's sister. You look like her."
It's just amazing. You couldn't deny she was one of our sisters.
the estate of Ivy Sherry has raised a whole host of emotions and questions for Anne.
She has now had to reconsider her own relationship with her mother,
who passed away in 1982.
When I first found out...
I was... I felt as if I'd been cheated. I felt angry...
..at my mum.
..I had to think back of what it was like then.
You know, all them years ago. At the time there was no help.
You didn't get dole money, you didn't...
There was nothing like that then.
If you didn't work, you didn't eat.
You didn't live.
So...yeah. It was understandable then.
Saul's research into the estate of Ivy Sherry was accepted by the Treasury,
with a total of 19 heirs each inheriting part of her £8,000 assets.
But what his investigation has revealed to the family means far more to them than the money alone.
The case of John Kiff, formerly Smith, was first started by Fraser and Fraser in January 2009.
But they couldn't find a birth certificate, and the case was shelved.
John died in Littlehampton, Sussex, although he was known to have come from London, originally,
where he had a colourful past in the East End.
I think he thought he was a bit of a Jack the lad.
He mentioned to my husband that he knew the Krays because he lived in that area.
It gave him a bit of kudos, didn't it?
Although the team threw all their resources at finding heirs,
the case remains unsolved, as they still haven't established which name John was born under,
nor a maiden name for John's mother.
Without these key details, it's been impossible to progress the case.
There's something peculiar on this case. I'm not quite sure what it is yet.
There's too many holes, too many unanswered questions at the moment.
It's now nine months later,
and, since their original research,
millions of birth, death and marriage records have been computerised,
allowing for a whole host of new search options to be come available for the heir hunters.
There's been a lot of change in how genealogy and research and heir hunting really takes place.
Developing into the computer age and more and more indexes are put online.
We're able to conduct searches almost the wrong way round, just because the records are on the computers.
Neil has decided to pull out the Kiff/Smith case files to have another look.
But will the new systems provide a breakthrough?
The team know, from the electoral records, that in 1976, John was named Kiff,
and was living with a lady called Maud B Kiff.
They believe that this is his mother.
they also know that John called his father a William Kiff, when he got married in 1977.
Using the new computerised searches,
Neil has come up with a possible marriage of John's parents,
which they hadn't previously found.
It has the name of the father as Cecil, not William,
and also assumes that they married 21 years after John was born.
so why would his parents marry so long after having him?
All indication from the index of the marriage is that they were co-habiting.
That Maud was living with Cecil
and assumed the surname of Kiff.
So there's a variation on the Christian name of the father of the deceased,
as well as the time period when we expected the marriage to be.
And those two bits being slightly strange is what stopped us finding the marriage, firstly.
It certainly is a breakthrough, if it's correct, so fingers crossed.
If right, the all-important detail is that John's mother's maiden name is Hurley.
It sounds like a long shot, but there's only one way to find out.
Neil has made it his personal priority to go to Camden Register Office
to collect the corresponding birth certificate.
I hope I'm going to go and pick up a document which we've been looking for now for about nine months.
It's a birth certificate of the deceased.
We've probably applied for 50 or 60 different birth certificates
and had a little break on finding a marriage,
and, fingers crossed, this is going to be the right birth.
It's been a long time looking for this one. Let's go.
After a half hour wait, Neil has retrieved a certificate.
But does it have the crucial information on to prove that it is finally
the birth record of John Cecil Edward Smith?
Cecil Edward is born on the 9th June 1927...
is obviously a boy, no father shown.
Maud Beatrice Smith, formerly Hurley, of no occupation.
On our certificate, it's Cecil Edward Smith.
Er...obviously we were looking for it as John.
All the searches we've put in have all been based around Johns.
And obviously, he's got no John mentioned on the certificate at all.
So that's a little bit strange for us.
It IS the breakthrough they need.
Although he is born as Cecil Edward Smith, instead of John Edward Cecil Smith,
the crucial information is there - Maud Beatrice Smith is the mother
and her maiden name was, indeed, Hurley.
It says the mother's Maud Beatrice Smith, formerly Hurley,
no occupation, we've got an address for her as well.
No father shown, which means we can only prove half blood.
We don't need to find anything on the paternal side of the family, just the maternal side.
As John did not have any children of his own, and his mother, Maud, has passed away,
the lines of inheritance dictate that the next nearest kin
will be siblings or half-siblings of the deceased.
Maud was married at least twice, so there is a good possibility that she could have had children.
Case manager David Milchard has now taken over the investigation, but can he track down any family?
From her first marriage to Alfred Cole, she had three children.
A Joyce, an Alfred and a Ronald.
So they are, in effect, half-siblings to the deceased.
Alfred and Ronald, we still haven't accounted for, we're still working on that.
Joyce, she died about ten years ago, but she's survived by three children.
It seems John had three half-siblings.
And his half-sister, Joyce, also had three children.
One of Joyce's children died as a minor.
However, Linda and her brother are still alive.
The researchers have identified Linda's address in Romford
and so traveller Ewart Lindsay has been sent out to meet her.
A car is in the driveway.
After a nine-month wait, the end looks tantalisingly in sight.
Can half-niece Linda confirm that her mother was Joyce?
And can Ewart sign her up to be the first heir on this baffling investigation?
This is really exciting, isn't it?
-Your mother's maiden name?
-And her Christian names were...?
-Joyce Irene Maud.
-And do you know where your mother died?
That would be in Deal.
Linda and her husband, Malcolm, have confirmed enough information to reassure the heir hunters
that she is, indeed, going to be a beneficiary on the estate of John Kiff.
Do you know, when you leave, I'm going to go out in the garden and go, "Yes!"
At the moment, my stomach's going over, thinking how exciting it is.
Cos Malcolm's just retired, we are a bit... We're not poor, but we could do with a little bit of extra money
and it's wonderful. Really wonderful.
-It may have taken them nine months,
but Fraser and Fraser have finally risen to the challenge of John Kiff's £150,000 estate,
and found the two rightful heirs.
The case has been beset by problems every step of the way,
but case manager Dave Milchard takes the most satisfaction from cases like these.
Thankfully, he's been able to obtain an agreement from us, so we can pursue a claim on their behalf.
It's what I call a real job.
It feels as though you've actually done something and...
..if it all comes off and we get our fee, we've earnt our money.
John Kiff, otherwise Cecil Smith, otherwise John Smith,
may have led a life shrouded in mystery,
but friend Pam believes this would be just the way he would have wanted it.
John would say that...
he'd been known under other names
and he'd had other names and we used to wonder if his surname was the real surname
or if it was like one that he'd adopted.
We didn't know for sure. He was a bit of an enigma, really.
He's...very difficult to get to the bottom of.
Probably enjoyed it, you know. Gave you something to think about, didn't it?
I think he liked a bit of mystery about himself, really.
Oh, you'll remember John, yes, definitely. He made quite an impression on you.
Yeah. Mm. One way or another.
If you would like to find out more about how to build a family tree or write a will, go to...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]