genealogical research

The story of an abandoned house – Case Study of genealogical research

Seemingly simple matter

Our client was interested in purchasing a plot of land in one of the cities in Poland. It was a neglected property with an abandoned house. At the city hall’s cartography department, he found out that the property had an owner whose whereabouts were unknown. What’s more, it wasn’t even clear if this person was still alive. Initially, the investor planned to contact the owner or their heir on his own. However, after checking public records and finding that the necessary information was not available, he realized he needed competent support.

Search in archives

Taking on this task, we began with a thorough search of all available databases, including those already used by our client. Drawing from our experience in handling similar cases, we know how to search effectively and formulate queries to obtain the necessary results. This case was no different. It quickly became apparent that the sought-after property owner had emigrated to Australia in the 1960s and passed away there. In this situation, it became crucial to determine if he had any heirs.

Genealogical research

Field work

Collaboration with local detectives provided information that the man died childless, and moreover, a copy of his death certificate was obtained. It was in this document that we found a clue that shed new light on the matter, namely the name of the person who reported our search subject’s death to local authorities. This particular breakthrough also meant the necessity of conducting further searches, this time for the person whose name appeared in the document. Our analysts were aware of cases where, in the absence of family, assets were bequeathed to closest friends before death, and experience suggested that this could be the case here as well.

Effort rewarded with success

The scope of the search expanded, but the presumption of the existence of a will, and thus heirs with whom our client could negotiate, justified the actions taken. Once again, the ability to navigate archives and public databases proved crucial. Field work merely complemented these activities. After several months, contact was established with the man whose name appeared on the death certificate. He confirmed that he possessed a will written by our sought-after individual, and this document made him the owner of the entire estate. Interestingly, the heir was completely unaware of the property’s existence in Poland. Currently, he is in regular contact with our client, and the sale agreement for the plot of land seems to be only a matter of time.

Author: Marcin Silwanow

*For the respect and safety of our clients, all sensitive data has been anonymised for publication purposes.

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