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What does “European Emigrant Heritage” mean?
Let's take each word separately:
Euro•pe•an Adjective A person who was born in, or whose family originates from, Europe. [As opposed to a person whose family originates from Asia or Africa, for example.] The continent of Europe presently contains the following countries:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.
Europe also has ethnicities, former nationalities, and cultures who do not presently have their own countries. These include he following:
Basque, Bavarian, Bohemian, Catalan, Castillian, Celtic, Chechen, Dalmatian, Karilian, Kiev-Rus, Ladino, Moravian, Pilsner, Prussian, Ruthenian, Sardinian, Saxon, Scotch, Servian, Silesian, Slavonian, Tatar, Transylvanian, Tuscan, (and many others).
Em•i•grant Noun A person who leaves a country or region to live in another one : a person who emigrates ▪ Millions of emigrants departed from European ports between 1850 and 1920. — compare IMMIGRANT, a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.
Her•i•tage Noun 1.) Property or other assets that have accrued to a particular family line, and which by law [should] descend from predecessor to living heirs. 2.) The traditions, achievements, beliefs, crafts, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation. ▪ a nation with a rich heritage of folklore ▪ His Polish heritage was very important to him.
Thus European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) is exemplified by the following:
a.) In 1943 a Polish woman died in a German labour camp. She owned property that now should go to her closest living relatives, many second cousins living in Europe and the USA.
b.) A German soldier died in the Siege of Stalingrad. 22 years later, in 1964, his mother died in Frankfurt, leaving valuable coin and stamp collections, that now should go to the grandchildren of the soldier, who are living in Scotland. [Photo: Statues in Stalingrad centre which miracously survived the siege.]
c.) In 1974 an Italian businessman died in Argentina, leaving bank accounts there and in Switzerland, that now should go to cousins in Italy and Dayton, Ohio, who have never met him. Results: Inheritances for everyone, a trip to Italy, and a family reunion attended by the Ohio cousins, some of their children and grandchildren, and many Italian relatives.
d.) A French-Canadian in Quebec wished to learn of the life, times, and culture of his paternal grandmother, who had lived in Marseille and gave her out-of-wedlock baby to a Catholic orphanage. Prior to EEH's research, the grand- mother's name and what became of her were unknown to the client and his family for 99 years. This example of EEH's work did not involve the inheritance of money or property. This is the non-profit side of EEH, involving the 2nd definition of Heritage, above: the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc. that comprise the history of (in this case) the grandmother. The client was born in Canada and had never been to France. He was elderly and living on a small pension, but had always wanted to know about his grandmother. EEH undertook the research at no charge, and was able to provide him with documents, newspaper items, and photographs of his grandmother's life, and a photo album to arrange them in. Included were documents and photos of his two half-uncles and their children, half-cousins he never knew he had. (His grandmother had later married and had two sons.) In the following year, two of his half-cousins visited him in Quebec.
What does the profit side of EEH do?
The for profit side of European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) conducts research that locates property and/or other assets that are unknown and unclaimed by those legally entitled to them. Then, through genealogical research (documentary research creating a family tree), EEH identifies and locates the persons who are legally entitled to the assets. EEH then offers to claim and recover the property and/or assets in exchange for a contingent percentage fee. If there is nothing recovered, there is no fee.
What does the non-profit side of EEH do?
European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) also operates a non-profit research and cultural exchange / cultural promotion service. Through cultural, historical, ethnographic, and genealogical research, we aid in the preservation, understanding, and appreciation of old-time European culture: the crafts, customs, community and family ties, and ethnic/national spirit that were prevalent before the industrial revolution.
EEH's non-profit services are available to everyone, regardless of where they live or whether they have an unknown inheritance. Clients pay nothing but may make a donation to the cause if they wish to do so. Please contact us for further information if you have a specific need, request, or if you wish to help by donating time. Also see the last page of this website: The CRAFTWORK INN - A Return to Local Economy.
The remainder of this FAQs (Frequently Asked
Quesions) page will deal with EEH's profit side.
How did you find me?
If we have contacted you regarding an inheritance, you are probably wondering how we found you. Here are the stages: I.) EEH always begins its research by finding property or other assets which are unknown to and unclaimed by those entitled to them. II). EEH then performs genealogical research to identify and find the entitled persons. Genealogical research discovers small pieces of information: the names, dates, and places of births, marriages, immigrations, deaths, burial, etc. III.) EEH then assembles all these pieces into a complete family tree, and contacts the living members who may be entitled to inherit. When we began to research your family, we didn’t know your name or your parents’ names.
EEH discovers names on many kinds of records. For example, suppose the unknown property which EEH has discovered is accruing to you through your paternal grandmother (GM) from the death of her 2nd husband. All we have to begin our genealogical research is GM's married name. GM may have registered to vote with the Labour Party in 1936, or received a pension from the American government for her service during the World War of 1914-18. These records may give her birthplace as Villefranche-de-Rouergue (pictured at right). To trace your GM, we search the records of the several parish churches in and near the VdR Commune and follow the baptismal records of several girls baptised in the days following your GM's date of birth. One of them should be your GM. Thus we may obtain your GM's maiden SURNAME, allowing us to find her 1st marriage to your GF, and so on, eventually leading to you.
Genealogy involves many areas of study, including history, geography, ethnology, calligraphy, and photographic analysis. To solve a recent case, it was necessary that we discovered that during World War II, while occupied by Nazi Germany, Villefranche housed a large 13th Waffen SS Handschar - 1st Croatian Division, consisting mainly of Bosnians. Only this fact led to the military records identifying the deceased Frenchman’s father in Bosnia. Bosnia at his date of birth was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (see Historical Ma ps page.)
How can you have found something when I know all my relatives and all my
The truth is that no one knows all their relatives. For example, do you know the father of your paternal grandmother? What town was this great-grandfather born in, and what were the names of his siblings, nieces, and nephews? More importantly, if one of them died in Dover in 1974 with property, would you know of it?
Would your father’s cousins in Stuttgart or Cincinatti have found your father to give him his lawful share? In the absence of family, how diligently would the local government have searched?
Who hires EEH?
No one hires us. We investigate public and private records to find “errors, omissions, and frauds.”
What kinds of cases do you handle?
Here are some examples of the many types of unclaimed asset matters we handle:
1.) Sometimes a person dies
without having time to make a will or property list for his family. We handle many research and collections for descendants of persons who died unex- pectedly, often in wars and revolutions. During WWII, many Jews opened accounts in Switzerland etc., then perished in concentration camps. The governments of the several countries which became communist between 1917 (Russia) and 1948 (Czechoslovakia) nationalised (confiscated) many private homes and businesses. In many of these above cases, EEH has successfully claimed the assets for the living heirs.
2.) Many Europeans and Americans who owned rental property, both before and after the bank failures of the 1920-1940 world depression,
did not trust banks and collected rents in cash. Sometimes when a man owned several properties, his wife and
children were unaware of his holdings. When he died, unless his will listed the properties he owned at death, some of his tenants merely stopped paying rent. If they paid the property tax every year, they could remain
rent-free and even pass the property on to their children. This continues until a company such as EEH discovers it and locates the heirs of the deceased owner.
Really, my family is very close…
Please realise that no matter how close your family is, there can always be a surprise. You will not be inheriting from a family member with whom you are close, but rather from a family member with whom you are distant. Perhaps you remember when President Clinton was surprised by a man who claimed to be his half-brother (and he was!): http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20110746,00.html
Why have I never heard of your type of business?
Unknown inheritances are rare events. They occur only a few thousand times per year. Also, unknown inheritance genealogy is one of the few businesses that does not advertise. We start with the property or other assets, and then attempt to locate lawful heirs. [We indeed are the bearers of good news!] We do not start with potential heirs, or people who believe they are entitled to an inheritance, so we do not advertise for those people to contact us.
Can I lose any money?
A basic principle of our work is that our clients never give us any money. This assures them that we are honest. Dishonest programmes have one thing in common: You give them money. Our only fee is a percentage of what we actually recover for you. You never give us any money, so there is no way you can lose any money. You can only gain.
Do you deduct any fees & costs from the recovery before computing my 2/3 share?
No, we don't. This is a good question not often asked. European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) receives only it's 1/3 fee. We spend on average over £5.000 on those inquiries that reach advanced research stage, to purchase birth, marriage, death and other records, for remote research and researcher fees, our own travel expenses, database fees, etc. Rather than deduct these expenses "off the top" of the recovered inheritance, EEH pays them from its own funds, without reimbursement from anyone regardless of the outcome of the inheritance claim. These are our costs of doing business, investments we are willing to risk for inheritance claims we believe are valid. Like Mr. Bond, we must know when to bet and when to fold.
Is it land?
Is it more than
Is it in Germany?
European Emigrant Heritage (EEH) has a policy not to answer such questions until we have located all the heirs and they have either signed our agreement or renounced the inheritance. The reason for this is to insure that we are paid for our work.
How do I know EEH will give me my share?
EEH never handles your money. The solicitor serving as administrator of the fund holds the money in a separate account he maintains solely for this purpose. He calculates the tax due, the calculation is ratified by the Collector of Taxes, and the tax is paid from the account, prior to calculating EEH's percentage fee. The solicitor then sends you your cheque, and EEH its cheque. If he fails to send you your money, he could lose his licence to practise law.
Who pays for the solicitor?
All legal fees and costs are paid from the recovery, before EEH's fee is calculated. This means that EEH pays 1/3 of the legal expenses. The solicitor's fee is 3% of the inheritance he is able to recover. If he is unable to recover anything, his fee is zero. In rare cases of extensive litigation, the 3% is increased. In no case do you ever pay anything out of your own pocket. Since you never pay anything, you can never lose anything.
Are there any guarantees?
EEH can give no guarantee that our attempt to recover your family's assets will be successful, because unforeseen circumstances may prevent it. For example, a person or
persons more closely related to the original owner of the asset may be found. Or a mortgage or tax lien may be asserted against the property. What we do guarantee is
this: WE WILL DO THE BEST WE CAN TO PROVE, EXPEDITE, AND MAXIMISE YOUR INHERITANCE, AND AT NO TIME WILL YOU BE REQUIRED TO INVEST A PENNY OUT OF YOUR OWN
What if the debts exceed the assets?
Let's suppose that the asset accruing to your family is a parcel of land worth €100.000. If the land is encumbered by a €30.000 mortgage and a €40.000 lien for back taxes, the net recovery would be €30.000, and EEH's percentage would be calculated only on that €30.000. Supposing however that the back taxes were €120.000, so that there is nothing to recover. In that event, you would receive nothing, and EEH would receive its percentage of nothing, i.e., nothing. Part of the taxes would remain unpaid, but neither you nor EEH would be responsible for paying them. One is not responsible for the debts of a deceased relative; debts are not inherited.
How does genealogical research work?
Here is a typical example. The research of a Philip LEOPOLD uncovers that his
original surname was LEPAR and that he was born in Kriukai, Lithuania, the son of Yehuda-Leib LEPAR. This is confirmed by a search in the All-Lithuania Database (ALD) and turns up several LEPAR families in Kriukai, Lithuania and neighbouring villages.
In order to find the descendants of the orig-
inal great-grandfather, Amiel LEPAR, it was necessary to hire the entire class of a professor of history in a nearby university, to locate the tombstones in question. These enthusiastic students walked hundreds of cemetery rows and transcribed over 8,000 tombstones! Even so, it would not have been possible to solve this case without an index, the Kovno-Slatis cemetery list, which was produced by the "Chevren Kadisha," the burial society of Viliampolka. This index does not cover the entire cemetery, but is an index showing the names, section and row numbers of those who died in the Ghetto between 1941and 1943, a period which contained many of the key deaths in the family.
The wedding photograph shown above was accepted as evidence in the Austrian court of inheritance as the wedding of Harry KOWEN and Dolly LEOPOLD, who were the grandparents of Mervyn ______, one of the heirs in the case. The seven LEOPOLD sisters are shown in the photo-graph. The face of the groom was adjudged to match the German work permit card, which was located in an archives in Berlin.
Don't get the idea that genealogical research is something only for experts. A large number of people have made it into their hobby. Librarians and online instructional aides are a good source of learning how to conduct genealogical research. In fact, it is possible to learn a great deal about the last hundred years of your own great-uncles and cousins by 'chattering up the blokes in the pubs.' (That is, talking with senior patrons of the taverns & cafes in the locale of the family branch you wish to research.)
"Tommy NODDY, be'n acoommin' t'the Fox & Crow [Pub] mor'n 50 year... 'e tol' a passel'a turists y'day all 'bout ol' Dad McCULLOUGH, 'em sposin' Dad to be their gramma's half-brother or sum such..." [Turnin' to 'is barmate at 'tuther elbow] "Ya remember ol Tommy, as wuz lamed in the Great War [WW I], he rebuilt the Ha'penny Bridge after the Jerrys bombed [WW II], then 'e 'ad a forge [blacksmithery] with his two son, o'er t'Ramagate Crossin...' Wife's name Maggie, she wuz an ALIBASTER, daughter o' ol' Parson Winston.... Well it seems ol' Tommy, (ha'en fell unner a lorry when cummin' home drunk back about '68, Winnertime it'wuz, I rekkon)" [he sez t'th' bloke tuther side'a th' fire. Then, after a pull, 'e continues] "Tom wuz burried widdout a marker at St. Andrews, in the' new section, an' these gents cudda ney finda his restin' place tho they spent all o' two days at it... So we took 'em over to..."
Researchers by this method are advised to 'take such data with a dash o' salt,' and verify it with paper records from church & clerk. And not to recompense the supplier of such yarns with a series of ha'pints! Seriously though, we have furthered many a research case by recourse to senior citizens who have lived in the locale for long periods, and this source should never be overlooked, whether in Washington, Wien*, or Wales. * Vienna
Many of the genealogical records in the above LEPAR/LEOPOLD case were in German because those parts of Bosnia in which the family resided were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to 1919. To understand these records one must acquire the ability to read the Sütterlinschrift (Sutterlin handwriting), in which the German language of that period was (very beautifully) written:
Another example is a case EEH recently worked in Siberia. The following is taken from a letter written by James Hannum of EEH:
...Our original proof packet translated the words село (selo) and деревня(derevnya) as “village.” Because there is an import ant genealogical difference between a selo and a derevnya, the words should not be translated but should instead be transliterated into the Roman Alphabet and separately defined. According to Vladimir Dahl’s magnum opus, Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language, which was published in 4 huge volumes in 1863, the definition of “selo” is “A place built and settled by peasants in which there is a church, and sometimes selo consists of many scattered derevnyas all belonging to one congregation and one church.” The definition of derevnya is “Peasant settlement in which there is no church.” As you will note from the enclosed revised proofs, the phrases “Village of Petroselki” and “Village of Molotychi ” have been changed to “Petroselki Derevnya” and Molotychi Selo. Given that they are only three miles apart (Our Proof #25, Petroselki and Molotychi Satellite Map), the fact that all derevnyas had to belong to a selo so that its residents would have a church, and Dahl’s above definitions, we conclude that Petroselki Derevnya belonged to Molotychi Selo. Thus Grigoriy could say he resided in either place.
It is obvious that Grigoriy KORNEEV and Grigoriy ABALMASOV are the same man. Consider:
Grigoriy KORNEEV and Grigoriy ABALMASOV are both shown in the above records having the same patronymic name,
Kuzmin, meaning “son of Kuzma.” The given name “Kuzma” is now, and was in 19th Century Russia, a fairly rare name.
Grigoriy Kuzmin KORNEEV came from Petroselki Derevnya,
Fatezhskiy Uyezd, Kursk Guberniya. (Our Proof #1).
Grigoriy Kuzmin ABALMASOV came from the Molotychi Selo, Fatezhskiy Uyezd, Kursk Guberniya. (Our Proof #2).
Since Petroselki Derevnya belonged to Molotychi Selo, a man from Petroselki Derevnya could say he was from either
Grigoriy Kuzmin KORNEEV and Grigoriy Kuzmin ABALMASOV both arrived in Siberia in 1896.
Grigoriy Kuzmin KORNEEV and Grigoriy Kuzmin ABALMASOV lived in the same tiny place, Belovodovskoye Settlement, Mariinsk Okrug, Tomsk Guberniya, Siberia.
After 1896, Grigoriy Kuzmin ABALMASOV never again used the surname KORNEEV, and the name Grigoriy Kuzmin KORNEEV never appears again in the record books.
In the 1916 Agricultural Census (our Proof #24), taken twenty years after the above Petition for Money, Grigoriy’s family is listed as ABALMASOV; there is no Grigoriy KORNEEV or Petr KORNEEV in the 1916 Census...
Examples of proofs EEH presented in the above case: