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The following is extracted from a brief to Parliament by British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont.  

Types of Assets, Avoiding Scams - 7 May 1993

Finding Dormant Bank Accounts

There has been a rise in the number of companies that provide unclaimed money tracking services. Companies such as The Abandoned Property Registry, The Railway Stocks Registry, European Emigrant Heritage, and others will, for a fee, track down dormant accounts, pensions and investments... If you or an older or deceased family member have changed jobs or mailing addresses one or more times, it is possible that there are account(s) now lying dormant. Claimants who find they are entitled to unclaimed funds may also be entitled to interest...

Premium Bonds

Premium bonds account for approximately £3.6 million in unclaimed funds in the UK...     Unclaimed money researchers sometimes do locate such funds, discover their unclaimed status, and reconnect people with unclaimed premium bonds funds for a fee... There is no time limit on the redemption of premium bonds...

Former Soldiers' Pensions

Former soldiers may not have made a claim for a pension to which they were entitled, or may not know that they were entitled to extra pension funds because they had had tax deducted by the Ministry of Defence. Pensions to former soldiers are tax free if they were granted due to medical unfitness as a result of war service. Over 3,000 former soldiers have reclaimed over £7 million in rebates to date...  

Tracking Down an Inheritance

You should bear in mind that a common reason that such assets have gone unclaimed is that the original party, or his/her relatives entitled to claim his/her assets, are elderly or deceased... For the past many centuries, thousands of people have died every year without leaving a will, i.e., they die intestate. Since the passing of the inheritance acts in the 1560's, if beneficiaries cannot be found, the estate assets after the payment of lawful debts of the decedent escheat to the Crown/Treasury. Currently the Treasury Solicitor advertises in various newspapers asking for beneficiaries to come forward... As of 31 December 1991 the amount left unclaimed for the fifteen year period came to £12,059,862... The Treasury Solicitor is required to list accounts fifteen years old or less in one of the public registers. Checking the registers, either by visiting his London office or by sending a letter requesting that the registers be checked, and also checking the national and local newspapers in the areas inhabited by yourself and your older or deceased family members, are possible methods of finding such assets without paying a fee... Some locator firms in the past have requested advances for legal fees, filing costs, etc.. It is a bad decision to give the locator firm money. The locator's fee should come only from the recovered assets.   ...

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European Emigrant Heritage  
Unknown Property, Unknown Heirs    

 

Unknown no longer: thousands of WW1 dead
could at last be identified

Newspaper:  London Daily Mail   13 March 2009   by Alexandra Williams

Red-Cross-basement-archive--death-burial--capture-of-23--mi.jpgWar graves in France

 Thousands of soldiers buried in anonymous graves during the carnage of the Great War may now be identified. For nine decades the last resting place of these nameless soldiers has been simply 'Unknown Soldier'. But thousands may soon be identified after the discovery of a vast forgotten archive. For British families who know they have a relative who died or went missing in the 'war to end all wars', but have never been able to pinpoint their remains, the discovery could at last provide some comfort.

British historian Peter Barton unearthed the archive, virtually untouched since 1918, in the basement of the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva (above photo). The organisation knew it had a vast amount of information there, but Mr Barton is the first to study it in detail. It documents information about the death, burial or capture of more than 20million soldiers from 30 countries who took part in the Great War.

Carefully entered on card indexes or written into ledgers, the details include name, rank, unit, time of death, exact burial location, home addresses and next of kin. The information has the potential to pinpoint unmarked graves along the Western Front and other battlefields, and could mean headstones which currently mark the grave of an unknown soldier will finally bear a name. It also paves the way for families to complete the history of relatives who died in the bitter trench fighting.
So-many-thousands-burried-in-unmarked-graves.jpg
The basement of the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva homed a long-forgotten archive detailing information about the death, burial and capture of more than 20 million soldiers from 30 countries involved in the First World War.



Thousands of First World War soldiers from both sides are buried in unmarked graves

Some of the records, in immaculate condition, refer to the sites of mass Historian-Peter-Barton--a-colleague-of-EEH--was-given-acces.jpggraves where the bodies of soldiers were piled alongside each other.      They give detailed directions about where they were dug - many have since been overgrown or built on - and include details which could lead to the identification of soldiers buried in them. 'The emergence of this archive is hugely important,' said Mr Barton. 'It will change the way we look at World War One.
 
Historian Peter Barton was given access to the archive which has remained untouched since 1918. 
'To a military historian it's like finding Tutankhamun's tomb and the Terracotta Warriors  on the same day.'

'This archive has been hidden away - not deliberately - for 90 years. We historians just did not know that this existed. The Red Cross tells me I am the first researcher who has ever asked to see it.' Mr Barton, a First World War historian and author, stumbled across the records after being commissioned by the Australian government to find the identities of soldiers found at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, France.

The trail led him to the Red Cross Museum in Geneva where he was given access to their basement. The records were passed to the Red Cross by the combatant countries at the end of the war.

The Red Cross acted as a go between for the protagonists. Information was then copied and passed to the soldiers' home countries but, according to Mr Barton, the UK's copy of the data no longer exists, much of it having been destroyed in the Second World War. The same fate is believed to have befallen the records in France and Germany.   

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European Emigrant Heritage (EEH)  


Emigration Ships

White Star Line RMS Titanic

Few remember that the Titanic was primarily an immigration passenger ship.  She is remembered today for carrying 1st class passengers travelling in luxury, as they do in today's luxury cruise ships, with gourmet dining, dance bands, and casinos.  But the vast majority of the passengers on the Titanic, as on all passenger ships of the day, were 3rd and 4th class passengers travelling on inexpensive no-frills tickets.  They were emigrating from Europe.  When Titanic sank, almost all of these lower class passengers, berthed many decks below the main deck, perished.  The crew locked the stairwell doors to the lower decks because the ship hadn't enough lifeboats to take any of the lower class passengers. 

In  one of EEH's cases, our research found a brother of the asset owner on Titanic's 4th class passenger list.  We couldn't find a death certificate for him, neither in England nor New York.  We convinced the ministry holding the funds to accept the brother's name on the passenger list in lieu of a death certificate by introducing recorded testimony from the 1913 British Court of Inquiry that the stairwell doors were locked.  This proof was necessary because otherwise we had no proof that said 15 year old brother died without later having children.  

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       A culture is continued one little piece at a time.  

       Here is a piece that will last a lifetime, the hand-carved cooking spoon.  This spoon and its maker are part of our European heritage:


 

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