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Heir hunters earn their money tracing the relatives of people who've died without leaving a will.
They hand over thousands of pounds
to family members who had no idea they were in line to inherit.
Could they be knocking at your door?
On today's programme, the heir hunters take a gamble
as they challenge an 80-year-old law in pursuit of an unclaimed estate.
If any case is ever going to be accepted, this is the one.
The decision is really the Treasury solicitor's,
and I wouldn't like to call it.
And 50 years after an industrial accident,
the search is on for heirs to £55,000 of unclaimed compensation.
I didn't know at this time who the person was that had left the money,
but I was surprised there was anybody left to leave anything.
Plus, how you could be entitled to unclaimed estates
where beneficiaries still need to be found.
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
Each year in the UK, an estimated 300,000 people die without leaving a will.
If no relatives are found, then any money that's left behind
will go to the government.
And last year they pocketed £12 million from unclaimed estates.
That's where the heir hunters come in.
They make it their business to track down missing relatives
and help them claim their rightful inheritance.
I love the fact that I can put families back together,
I can reunite people, I can tell them secret histories
about their own family they don't actually know about themselves.
The Treasury have released their weekly list of unclaimed estates
and across the UK heir hunters are pouring over the details.
Fraser & Fraser is one of 30 firms competing to find heirs to estates
which could be worth anything from £5,000 to many millions.
How many births have we got on that quarter, Noel?
Unfortunately, this week's list has failed to offer any rich pickings,
so partner Neil Fraser has decided to revisit an unsolved case from the archives.
On this case of Ivy Hudson, it's a case we've had in our cabinets
since 2003, 2004, when Ivy passed away.
It's only now we've come back and had a second look at that, and it's 2010.
The reason being is we couldn't get on to the family when we first looked at it.
We found two marriage certificates, we found a death certificate,
all of which confirming the same age,
but we were never able to locate a birth
which went with that information.
Neil's especially keen to solve this case
because, unusually, he knows the value - £25,000.
To guard against fraud,
the Treasury's list doesn't show the values of estates.
But this is crucial information for the heir hunters,
because they usually work for a pre-agreed percentage.
We only get money if the beneficiaries we find get money,
and if we find a beneficiary and they're only entitled to £100,
I may only get £10 out of it.
But Ivy's Hudson's estate was advertised in 2003,
when the list still included values.
The team immediately began the search for heirs,
but they couldn't find any trace of family
so the case got put to one side.
Today, though, there's hope they may finally be able to make some progress.
The recent release of the 1911 census
has opened up a brand-new line of enquiry.
This 1911 census is the most crucial piece of documentation
to help us establish who the next of kin to the deceased is.
The team has begun searching the new records
for the name Ivy Marguerite Hudson.
Will the census yield any names of brothers or sisters?
Born in 1900, Ivy worked as a Red Cross nurse
during the Second World War.
When the conflict ended, she became a hairdresser
and lived in Kent for most of her life.
Ivy was married twice,
and died in November, 2003, at the staggering age of 103.
While she was surrounded by friends all her life,
she never had children and so left no descendants.
Jacqueline Williams was one of Ivy's closest friends.
Ivy was my mum's best friend.
She was a travelling hairdresser in Petts Wood after the War,
and she came to do my mum's hair,
and they met and she became part of our family.
She was a widow, she lived on her own,
and, in a sense, you know, her friends were her family.
They were the family she'd built in the absence of her own family.
Ivy's natural charisma and zest for life
made a lasting impact on friends like Simon Bentley.
She was a lady of incredible honesty
and integrity and humour.
She made me laugh, I like to think I made her laugh.
She loved Abba, I love Abba.
Her favourite song was I Have A Dream,
and we'd sit down and sing I Have A Dream together.
I regarded her as a really loved friend.
So I take a lot of pleasure from my time on Earth with Ivy,
and she won't be forgotten.
In the office, the team has had a breakthrough with the 1911 census.
Here we have George Telford, the head, and his wife, Annie,
and there's Ivy, the deceased, shown clearly as the daughter.
The census shows Ivy came from the Telford family and had six siblings.
But there's a twist.
I've just literally located the first of the nephews and nieces on this estate.
What transpires from this conversation is that
they believe that Ivy was not a natural child
born to their grandparents, George and Annie,
but was raised by them.
Ivy was adopted by the Telford family,
and these days that would make them legal blood relatives.
But, because the adoption happened in 1901, there's a problem.
The problem is that legal adoption was started by the 1926 Adoption Act,
which came into force in 1927,
so any adoption before 1927 is a non-legal, informal adoption.
Informal adoptions aren't recognised by the Treasury
which means Ivy's adoptive family would not be allowed to inherit.
But, because the Telfords were the only family Ivy knew,
the team think they may have a case.
Every now and then you have to test this law,
and you have to put in a test case
to make sure that the old rules are still standing.
The company want to help Ivy's adoptive family put in a claim.
They've spoken to Anita Goodwin,
who is the daughter of Stanley Telford - Ivy's adoptive brother.
Anita, who is known as Ann, lives in Bristol with husband Peter.
The couple came across references to Ivy in old family papers.
I never met Ivy, and I didn't really know very much about her
until after my father died and I inherited his letter
that he'd had about her adoption,
which was her mother signing her over to my grandparents
when Ivy was eight months old.
The letter reveals what must have been a difficult decision
by Ivy's biological mother.
"I entirely renounce any claim whatsoever on the person of the child,
"Ivy Marguerite Hunt, from this time forth."
And it's signed Gertrude Alice Hunt.
I think it's such a sad little letter.
This is what's made me interested in Ivy,
in trying to find out something about her,
and about her mother, but it's proving a bit difficult.
Perhaps her mother couldn't keep her, wasn't married,
and it was a very difficult time to be having a baby
that you couldn't keep and that didn't have a father.
In the early 1900s, there were still thousands of children
either living rough or in appalling conditions in work houses.
Determined to combat the problem,
The Salvation Army recruited foster families to take children in.
As Ann's grandfather was a committed Salvationist,
it's likely he volunteered.
He joined The Salvation Army in, uh, 1908.
I have the paper where he signed, it's called the Articles Of War,
and you have to sign these Articles
to be enrolled as a soldier in the Salvation Army.
He was very strict, and you weren't allowed
to listen to the radio on Sundays, he would turn the electricity off.
Ivy never came into conversation at all, as far as I can remember.
I don't remember my grandmother - my grandparents lived with us -
but I don't remember my grandmother ever mentioning her.
Sadly, Ann never met Ivy, but she may still be an heir to her estate
if the heir hunters can successfully challenge inheritance laws.
In London, Dave Slee and his team are gathering information
to try and support Ann's claim,
and the letter from Ivy's biological mother could be crucial.
Adoptions which happened before the 1927 Adoption Act
are considered informal, and therefore invalid.
But the letter suggests that Ivy's adoption was done
as formally as was possible in 1901.
The deceased was given up for adoption by her mother
to George and Annie Telford, who were then living in Leytonstone.
It's written in 1901 on headed notepaper from Shaftesbury Avenue.
If the address is the office of a lawyer or solicitor,
it could help show that the adoption was formally done.
We have here the 1900 Kelly's Directory,
which is a forerunner of our modern telephone directory.
And under Shaftesbury Avenue, which we should find...
Here we have Shaftesbury Avenue, number 17...
..and there we are, it was the offices of a Samuel Bartlett, a solicitor.
So we now know that the letter written by the deceased's mother
in 1901 was on the headed notepaper of a solicitor.
This is exactly what he hoped to find.
They can now prove that Ivy's adoption took place
formally in the offices of a solicitor.
It's the star piece of evidence among a pile of documents
that prove the link between Ivy and the Telfords.
I'll furnish the Treasury solicitors
with a copy of the deceased's second marriage certificate,
which clearly states her father is George Telford,
the 1911 census, which clearly again states
that she was the daughter of George and Annie Telford,
and, crucially, the letter from our client, the 1901 letter of the mother
stating that she wished to place, for adoption, the deceased
into the hands of George and Annie Telford.
With such a strong paper trail, Neil is cautiously optimistic.
We've spoken to quite a lot of beneficiaries,
or potential beneficiaries.
We've been careful to explain to them all the time
that there's a problem with this estate,
a problem trying to submit their paperwork,
and there's a possibility that they won't be beneficiaries.
However, we think this is as strong a case as we could ever put forward
for a relatively small value,
and if any case is ever going to be accepted, this is the one.
Ann could be in for a share of the £25,000 estate,
but her main interest is finding out more about Ivy.
I'm already working off the idea that, if they say it's no,
your claim isn't successful, saying, "Yeah, all right,
"I don't want the money, but did she leave newspaper cuttings,
"or has she got anything about her life, has she got photos and things?"
I mean, you never know if they're going to give you somebody's
possessions from seven years ago.
They might be two black bin bags full of old nighties, mightn't they?
May I particularly welcome Ivy?
We are so pleased to see you here.
What Ann doesn't yet know is that Ivy had a large surrogate family
of friends and loved ones who could satisfy her desire to know more.
And there she is at our house.
Jacqueline Williams and her daughter, Laura,
were close friends of Ivy for many years.
It hadn't been the happiest of childhoods.
She talked with great affection about the children
and about taking them out to play and so on,
but she didn't feel as if she was as much a part of the family
as the other children were, she always felt like an outsider.
And on the morning of her 18th birthday,
without telling any of the family,
she packed her battered little suitcase,
put a nightie and a few other bits and pieces in it,
and walked out of the door and made a life for herself.
The two halves of Ivy's life have been separate for over 80 years.
Will the heir hunt bring them together?
When the heir hunters were asked to look at the case of Norah Jackson,
they uncovered the shocking tale of a tragic factory accident
and a compensation payout that had gone unclaimed for over 50 years.
Their challenge was to find the long-lost relative
who would inherit an estate worth £55,000.
The case fell to probate research firm Hoopers.
Like many heir hunters, their work is varied,
ranging from Treasury cases to solicitor referrals
but this case came from a more unusual source.
This case of Norah Jackson was referred to us by the Court Funds Office,
a body who look after monies awarded as compensation,
as far as I can understand.
They had quite a number of these cases but this was the largest of its type
and there was a sum in excess of £50,000,
which they'd held for many, many years and they had no idea who was entitled to it
and so they asked us if we could bring our expertise to bear
and try and discover who should have this money.
The Court Funds Office handles money that passes through the civil courts.
They hold hundreds of millions of pounds for people who've been awarded damages or compensation.
Vast amounts of this money is sitting unclaimed.
We presently have approximately £85 million,
which represents several thousand potential beneficiaries
out there who have either lost contact with Court Funds Office
or who we can't establish a claim for.
In the last three years, the Court Funds Office has reunited people with payouts totalling £60 million.
But in the case of Norah Jackson they've drawn a blank
and her £55,000 estate was still unclaimed.
The information we were given was very limited.
Almost nothing at all.
All we had was a name,
and a snippet of information about their belief
that Norah - Norah Jackson - had died in the 1980s.
The problem was that even if we had stumbled across the correct death record,
we didn't really know how we were going to prove that was her death record.
We had nothing to go on.
It would be several weeks before Mike would unravel the mystery of Norah
and her husband James Jackson.
Married in their late 30s, just at the end of the Second World War,
Norah and James Jackson set up life together in East Manchester.
Kay Street is now an industrial area,
but at the time, it was a typical working-class terrace.
In 1950, Norah's husband James found a job working as a maintenance man
in a factory which made wire cables.
The factory no longer exists,
but in its day it employed hundreds of people.
In the 1950s, places like this would be hives of activity.
There would be a great amount of noise, machinery working,
and workers would be in close proximity to the machines
and that's how accidents happened.
Training was very sparse.
The only indication we would have would be the notice of the Factories Act posted on the factory wall
or special regulations with machinery required,
but people got on with the job.
They had to take risks in some cases
and sometimes these risks resulted in accidents.
Just five weeks after starting at the factory,
James Jackson had an horrific accident.
He'd climbed an iron ladder to clean lamps in one of the workshops
when an overhead crane caught his bucket.
As I understand the circumstances, he was only recently employed,
so he wouldn't be aware of the situation in that factory
in the way that perhaps long-term employees would be
so he put himself into a situation where he was at risk,
and that situation obviously developed into a fatal accident.
Terry O'Grady worked at the factory a decade later
when the same cranes were still in operation.
The crane mainly ran on the overheads on the RSJs
and it used to lift the big billets which was quite heavy.
It used to lift them into position.
He was in charge of half a ton of whatever it might be, and he was moving it along himself.
If somebody was kneeling down, you know,
you wouldn't necessarily see them.
It didn't happen while I was there, to be honest, but it was a possibility.
Overall, within factories and workshops,
every year it was probably between 600 and 1,000 people killed.
So if you take that over, say, 50 years,
you could fill Wembley Stadium with the number of people
that were actually killed in workshops and factories.
Unseen by the crane driver, James was knocked from his ladder
and crushed to death on the tracks.
The accident sent shockwaves through the factory community
and was still discussed years later.
I did hear something once about a chap what was killed well before my time there.
I think it was around the '50s, it was quite a serious accident.
It wasn't mentioned a lot
but I did remember some of the older guys mentioning that somebody had been killed on the premises.
Depending on the type of injury that a worker experienced,
he would be compensated.
There were nominal sums appropriate if you lost a leg or an arm or an eye,
there were appropriate sums allocated.
If a workman was killed,
then obviously it would be his beneficiaries who would be compensated.
So, for example, his wife would probably be awarded a fairly nominal pension.
Court records showed that Norah was indeed awarded compensation for the death of her husband,
but a rather dated payout practice was in place.
Once I received the case, I did a bit of research of my own
and I discovered that back in the '50s and before,
when money was awarded to a widow in a case typical of this
when we have industrial compensation,
it was deemed that widows were incapable
to look after their own financial affairs
and therefore when an award was made
the money was kept by the court and doled out to the widow as and when she needed it.
At just 44 years old,
Norah found herself in a desperately sad situation.
There she was, a young widow, no husband, no children, probably no prospects.
Just after the war, when times were pretty tough.
So, you know, it's rather sad, really.
Just five years after her husband had died, Norah also passed away.
In the case of the widow's fund,
it's quite possible that the sum of money can be left unclaimed.
If, for instance, the widow dies and there is no obvious route
that the Court Funds Office can trace to a beneficiary.
Norah's compensation sat gaining interest for over 50 years
until it was worth a staggering £55,000.
It would be a huge and unexpected windfall for one long-lost relative.
Heir hunters solve thousands of cases a year,
ensuring that millions of pounds are paid out to the rightful heirs,
but not every case can be cracked.
The Treasury has a list of over 2,000 estates that have baffled the heir hunters and remain unclaimed.
These estates stay on the list for up to 30 years
and each one could be worth anything from £5,000 to many millions.
Today we're focusing on three names from the list.
Are they relatives of yours?
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
Matthew Balogun died on New Year's Eve in 2005.
He lived in Lambeth and was just 59.
If his heirs aren't found, his money will go to the government.
Or did you know Constance Marjorie Absolon,
who came from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire?
She died in 2000, aged 91.
No-one's come forward to claim her estate.
Also on the list is David Beck
who died in Margate on New Year's Day in 2009.
So far, all efforts to trace his relatives have drawn a blank.
If the names Matthew Balogun, Constance Absolon
or David Beck mean anything to you or someone you know,
you could have a fortune coming your way.
In 2008, a team of heir hunters were searching for relatives of Norah Jackson.
The value in her estate came from compensation paid out
after her husband died in a terrible factory accident.
After sitting unclaimed for 53 years,
this compensation was now worth a staggering £55,000,
but could the rightful heirs be found?
My immediate reaction when seeing the name Norah Jackson
was that it's a common name, we're going to have problems here
because we've got very limited information.
And so... But we can only work with what we're given.
So, our first task is to try and identify her death.
If we can identify when and where she died
then that would begin to piece together the jigsaw.
Mike and his team scoured their records
to try and find the right death certificate for Norah Jackson.
But, with so little information to go on, they drew a blank.
Well, after many weeks of looking for her death
and failing to pinpoint her death record,
I looked again at the information that we were given and...
I was drawn to the little snippet of information
about her next of kin given in her records.
There was a Mrs Kirk
and so I diverted my attention into that direction.
Didn't manage to find Mrs Kirk - she had died -
but I managed to find her daughter
and, as a result of that, I called Mrs Brownhill -
as she was, her married name -
and we had a very interesting conversation.
And that is the point I would say was the breakthrough in this case.
It was that conversation with Mrs Kirk's daughter.
The phone call gave Mike two key pieces of information -
that Norah's husband was James and that he'd died in an accident.
Armed with the information that we'd just got from Mrs Brownhill,
the first thing to do was to find James Jackson's death.
We needed to identify his death and then could build a picture from that.
She only was able to tell us
that he had died at some stage in the early '50s.
We eventually found the correct death record for James Jackson.
Crucially, the death certificate allowed them to find
a record of James and Norah's marriage.
We discovered that they married in 1945, in Manchester.
Once we obtained a copy of the marriage certificate,
that not only gave us all HIS details -
his age, his occupation, his father's name and occupation -
but it also gave us Norah Hargreaves, his bride's age
and also gave us her father's name.
And so that meant that we could start looking for her birth certificate.
The team were now making real progress
and, with Norah's birth details,
they were able to begin building a family tree.
We, first of all, eliminated her parents, who had predeceased her,
so then we looked for brothers and sisters
because they would be the next in line.
Because she died, obviously, she died without children.
And we discovered she had three brothers,
two of whom had died before her, so they were out of the frame.
But there was on remaining brother - Arnold - who did survive her.
Norah's money would have gone to her brother Arnold
but as he'd died it went to his wife, Phyllis.
In her will, Phyllis left her estate to her nephew, David.
She bequeaths to her nephew, the residue of her estate
so the money passes from her to her nephew.
He's no blood relation, no connection whatsoever, to Norah Jackson.
David Hopwood lives in North Wales
and the news that he was the sole heir to Norah's £55,000 estate
was a real surprise.
Well, a letter came out of the blue, addressed to me.
My wife opened it and told me, "You should read this."
And my first thoughts, at that time,
were that it was some advertising gimmick.
But after speaking to Mike, he realised this was no gimmick.
I didn't know, at this time, who the person was that had left the money.
I was quite surprised there was anybody left that,
you know, to leave anything.
Since receiving Mike's letter,
David's gone through family photos hoping to learn more about Norah,
the distant relation who left him a five-figure sum.
I've got pictures of her brother, my uncle Arnold,
and my mother's sister, Arnold's wife.
I can't get any further than that down that line.
No way of knowing at all.
Just no-one to ask.
Her street, where they lived, the houses have gone
and it's just so long ago I don't think I'll ever know...
what she looked like.
The sad case of Norah Jackson has been brought to a successful close
and, for Mike, it's a poignant end to the story.
I feel, kind of... I feel a strange feeling of satisfaction
in having revived the memory of this Norah Jackson
who otherwise would have been lost in the mists of time.
In London, heir hunters Fraser & Fraser
have been looking into the £25,000 estate of Ivy Hudson,
who died aged 103.
They've learnt that she was adopted by the Telford family in 1901
and this has led them to a possible heir -
Ivy's adoptive niece Ann Goodwin.
Our father didn't...ever mention her at all, as far as I can remember,
except to tell me that she was his adopted sister.
But Ivy was adopted before adoption was made legal.
This means, under current law,
the Treasury doesn't recognise Ivy's adoption
and so Ann will not be allowed to inherit
but the heir hunters are helping her challenge this law.
They've helped her submit evidence
showing that Ivy's adoption was as formal as was possible in 1901.
If they're successful,
it could change the way heir hunters look at adoption.
Good morning, Mrs Goodwin? Hello, there.
Sorry to trouble you, it's David Slee at Fraser & Fraser,
Well, at last I've received a letter back
from the Treasury Solicitors Office
and I think you can tell from the tone of my voice.
Yeah, I'm REALLY disappointed and I...well...
I know, I'll read your out their letter and what I will do,
I'll send you a copy of it as well.
"The evidence that you supplied indicates that the deceased
"was fostered by the Telford family
"but no legal adoption can have taken place."
The Treasury have stuck to the letter of the law
and deemed that Ivy's adoption cannot be treated as a legal adoption.
I have today, unfortunately,
received a letter from the office of the Treasury solicitors
declining our clients claim to a share in this estate
by virtue of the fact that the deceased was not adopted
after legal adoption has come into place on 1st January 1927.
It's a blow for the company
and means Ann won't inherit a share of Ivy's estate
but she's still determined to learn more about the aunt she never knew.
So today, husband Peter's travelled to London on a fact-finding mission.
'We've always been curious about family history,
'we've done a lot of research into it,'
and, of course, Ivy was somebody who was a bit peripheral to the family.
We don't know quite where she came from,
we don't know quite where she went
and now, suddenly, this has all surfaced so we're...
We'd like to know more.
Peter and Ann have already learnt
that Ivy married a Robert Bowden when she was 26.
But they've also heard reports
that Robert died in an accident five years later,
leaving Ivy a young widow.
He was a civil servant, they were settled down in East London,
they'd got a home of their own, or appear to have done,
and then suddenly he's drowned.
And you wonder what the circumstances were.
So, I'm trying to find out more about that.
Peter's come to Colindale Library in North London
which holds Britain's largest archive of newspapers.
He's hoping to find reports of Ivy's husband's accident.
For me, this trip is a bit of a challenge,
it's a puzzle to be solved
but, for Ann, it's very much about her family.
And, I think, it's about her roots and knowing who she is
and where she comes from.
It doesn't take Peter long to find news of the tragedy
that cut Ivy's marriage short.
I found stories in two of the newspapers.
This one's from the Sheerness Guardian.
"Heard Drowning Men's Cries" - it's a report of the inquest.
It wasn't just Robert, it was a friend of his,
who was actually engaged to his sister.
Peter's research has shown that Robert and his future brother-in-law
had been rowing from the mainland to their yacht,
which was anchored off the Isle of Sheppey.
During the crossing, they got into difficulty and drowned.
The men were missing for five days before their bodies were recovered.
Ivy became a widow at the age of just 32.
But just a few days later, Ann and Peter are given a golden opportunity
to find out all about Ivy.
They've made contact with Ivy's close friend Jacqueline
and are on their way to meet her.
We hope to learn a bit more about what happened in the rest of her life,
when she was pretty well detached from the family.
The meeting is also an exciting prospect for Jacqueline,
whose mother was Ivy's best friend.
'It will be very emotional for me, yes.'
To meet people who got the link with her so far back.
And to be able to, in a way, kind of, close the circle.
-You must be Anne! I'm Jacquelyn, it's nice to meet you.
-Are you Jackie or Jacquelyn?
Yes, Ivy called me Jackie but I'm actually Jacquelyn.
-Yes, quite right, yes!
-And you're Peter, yes?
-That's right, hello.
-Nice to meet you. Hi, I'm Jacquelyn.
-Isn't this amazing?
-It is, yes.
For both sides, the meeting is a precious opportunity
to learn more about Ivy's life.
In London, the heir hunters are back at square one
in the search for Ivy's heirs...
There is no marriage and no '01.
..but Dave Slee's determined to have one last throw of the dice.
-It's a headache, isn't it?
-I can't... Can you think of anything?
He's having a final look for records of Ivy's mother,
named in the adoption letter as Gertrude Alice Hunt.
Unbelievably, we're struggling to find
either the marriage for Ivy's parents...
before and after her birth, we're struggling to find them dying,
there's no record of them on the '01 or the 1911 census.
I just don't think... Yeah, looking at it from a financial point of view,
from our point of view,
if it warrants us during too much more research, really.
The team really have run out of options...
..so they decide to close the files once more.
But for Pete, Ann and Jacqueline,
the detective work is just beginning.
I, sort of, made up this album of photographs to show you,
kind of, going through. So, that's Ivy, there.
-Oh, this is absolutely amazing!
-Think we've got...
-And there she is looking rather saucy, we thought!
-On her first honeymoon.
I think she did well to break away from the Telford family!
That was her 100th birthday.
These are all 100th birthday pictures.
You'll see she was on...
She spent the afternoon on the London Eye on her 100th birthday.
We took her out for, the group of us, you see us there.
We took her out for lunch.
We took her to the Sovereign of the Seas, of course,
and she had scampi and chips and then we got in a couple of cars
and drove up to London and took her on the London Eye.
And when we got to the very top we all sang Happy Birthday to her
and she just had a wonderful day, she loved it.
I mean, she was game for anything, you know?
As a lifelong friend,
Jacqueline knows a huge amount about Ivy's life.
I've got some things to show you.
This is her Red Cross certificate that she got and this is her...
Of course she was Ivy Bowden then, having married Bob Bowden,
that's her medal that she got.
Ivy received a certificate for her devoted service to the Red Cross
in the Second World War.
During which time she was bombed twice,
injured and lost all her belongings.
The certificate is signed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
I thought you might like to have these.
Oh, no, because you...
Well, I'm really happy for you to have them,
because I think it's really nice that they should now be with her...
with Ivy's family.
I mean, the Telfords were the only family she knew.
-They were her only family, yes.
-Oh, yes, absolutely, absolutely.
In return, Ann is able to give Jacqueline a new insight
into the Telford family.
-That's the earliest one, that's my grandfather.
-Right, and this is...?
-This is Ivy.
-This is Ivy?
-Oh, wow! Wow.
After coffee, Jacqueline, Ann and Peter head to the Victorian house
where Ivy grew up with the Telfords.
When Ivy was 95,
she asked Jacqueline to bring her back to the house.
She hadn't been there since her 18th birthday when she'd run away.
So, we drove up here and looked at the front of the house
and then drove round the side, here,
and Ivy looked up at the back of the house and she said,
"That's the bedroom window from which I watched the Zeppelin crashing,
"in the First World War, in flames."
So, that was an amazing moment, really.
So, from that bedroom window, there.
What Ivy had seen was the stuff of local legend.
In September 1916,
a German zeppelin was shot down by a British soldier on night patrol.
It burst into flames,
crashing down in a field near Billericay, in Essex.
So, I mean, this, for you, is a real pilgrimage,
in that this is where your father grew up,
-where your grandparents lived and everything.
-Yes, yes, yes.
We've always been going to come and look at all these houses
but we've never done it, so now we started!
Filling in the jigsaw has been important for both Ivy's relatives
and her friend.
It was amazing meeting Ann and Peter today.
I mean, I'd never dreamed that I would ever have any contact
with Ivy's adopted family.
I mean, they were just this remote family that she'd left at 18
and I expected, you know, the whole story to stay there.
I never thought it was going to come to life again in this amazing way.
'The whole thing about turning somebody who was just a...'
really, just a name, somebody in print,
into a real human being with lasting friendships over so many years.
And...I think that really completed the picture.
We've got used to looking into the past but it's the recent past,
you know, which has been the story today.
But there's one final twist to this story
because what the Heir Hunters were never told by the Treasury
was that Ivy had in fact left a will.
She did leave will, about three years before she died,
and we've sent it off to probate, the solicitors copy,
because we couldn't find the original and they wouldn't accept it
because it wasn't the original, so she was deemed to have died intestate
and the estate was administered by the Treasury Solicitor.
Under probate law, only the original will can be accepted.
Without it, the authorities assume the deceased changed their mind.
So with only a copy of Ivy's will,
the estate was put on the Treasury's list of unclaimed estates
but shortly after, the Treasury invited the beneficiaries named by Ivy
to apply for discretionary grants.
My belief is that the Treasury actually paid out the bequests
exactly as Ivy had asked for them to paid out in that will,
which, although they didn't accept, in the end, in fact, they did
because they made those discretionary grants exactly along the lines,
so I understand, that Ivy wanted.
Although these payments were made,
any blood relatives the heir hunters had found
would still have been entitled to a share of the estate.
But Ivy's most valuable legacy was an emotional one.
'It brings all the joy, and the happiness, and the fun back again'
and, I mean, thinking of Ivy makes me happy
because she was such a happy, lovely person
and such an important part of all our lives
and so it's been a joyous day because it's been an Ivy day,
and all the Ivy days were joyous days.
If you would like advice about building your family tree
or making a will go to...
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