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Our clients visited this house which once belonged to their family. The current owner welcomed them in and showed them around the house and even produced land deeds signed by their ancestor.
A police report gave details of an ancestors’ double suicide in 1931, including the actual bullets used and the suicide note. The report also resolved some unanswered questions as to why they had taken their lives, intimating acute trauma experienced during the First World War.
This ancestor died penniless in Germany and an inventory of his possessions, such as ‘a pair of winter shoes with no value’ and ‘one brass lamp’, gave a very evocative picture of his daily life.
All birth, marriage and death records for this Jewish family had been destroyed, but persistent searching found pages devoted to them in a Russian/Polish Book of Residents, with entries added throughout the 1800s. This gave us a wealth of information about family members, birthplaces, occupations and dwellings.
Irish land records highlighted the precarious nature of one family's life at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords and revealed that a protest regarding their tenancy resulted in the threat of eviction in 1881.
On reading of the severe conditions in this Industrial school Annual Report, our client realised that the ‘war’ scars on his great grandfather's back had probably been caused by repeated caning as a child, rather than from life in the trenches.
Rumours over in England of being related to a Hollywood film star were finally given credence as we discovered that actress June Travis—who played alongside Bette Davis in The Star and once dated Ronald Reagan—was their ancestor.
Our client had been searching for his ancestors in Italy for 16 years with limited success due to a common surname. Our widening of the search and painstaking analysis of all passengers entering the US over a 50 year period with the same surname, led us to eventually find his ancestral family in a municipal register in a tiny hamlet near Genoa.
We located the original transcript from a famous court martial on the legendary HMS Victory and showed our client that her ancestor’s testimony was key in proving his associate innocent.
When we discovered that the Cologne archives in Germany had collapsed due to construction problems our research was halted, as no records were available. Undaunted, we persuaded two local newspapers to feature a full length article about our search. Through this we found a relative who possessed new ancestral information and family photos. Months later we reunited the German and American sides of the family.
For one ancestor we found the regimental war diary from the very day he was wounded. We worked out the exact spot near Ypres in Belgium where this happened and our client quite literally retraced his footsteps.
This engraved silver shoehorn belonged to one client's grandfather, whose shoe shop in Germany was destroyed during Kristallnacht. On visiting the site where the shop had stood a local historian produced this item, providing him with the only tangible connection he had to his German roots which had been obliterated in the Holocaust .
A locket belonging to the mother of one client who had been adopted as a baby and enlisted our help in order to trace his biological mother. On meeting uncles that he had never known of, they gave him this necklace with a photograph of his birth mother inside.