The signed contract said to prove that John Smith had only one sibling, James Smith. And to find current mailing addresses for James’ three children. [Names changed to protect the living.]
The first record we genealogists go to review family group information is to the census. There I could see that there were indeed just two siblings.
Coming forward I sought out the death information for both parents of John and James. Locating mom’s obituary gave the names of her children John and James. We now can correlate that the information is accurate. BUT, mom’s obituary states she had six grandchildren. Six, not three. Who were the other three people? Were they children of John or James? Were they adopted? Were they step children of the above and treated like birth children?
Next, I need to find dad’s obituary to see what it says. I am still waiting for that film to arrive through Inter-Library Loan.
Communication must flow both ways
I communicated with the paralegal at the firm about my findings. I asked her if she had knowledge of these other three people only identified as grandchildren? No point paying me to locate someone she already knew about. She informed me that she didn’t want those other people. She had no idea who they were but she didn’t want them!
Trust me when I tell you it doesn’t work that way! We don’t get to pick our family or how many people we’re related to.
The final report on this case will have the current contact information for the three children of James. The report will also make note of the date and time I spoke with the named paralegal and the outcome of that conversation. Who are the three unidentified people in the mother’s obituary? They have not been searched for as per the instructions of the paralegal.
Questions that need answers
Is this a mistake on the paralegals part? [Yes, I do think it is.]
The paralegal is the point of contact for this estate. It is up to her to talk to the family of the deceased to ask questions for clarity. Should she do this or defer to the attorney? Or defer to the genealogist who can also ask questions about the family group? In most cases, I talk with the family when questions arise.
We need to know who those people are and how they are related to this family.
Contact me: If you have questions about locating missing heirs to your client’s estates please contact me at Leslie@LawsonResearch.net. I’m more than happy to help you understand my process to locate the missing heirs to your case.