Heirhunters, BBC 1 - Valerie Hatton, Grantham, Lincolnshire, 1924-2013
A new series of Heirhunters started today on BBC1. When people die without a will and without any known relatives, their name is advertised on the Bona Vacantia list - and many estates sit there, unclaimed, for years, decades. Ultimately, with no family traced, The Treasury get any value in the estate.
Heirhunters follows the work of several heir hunting firms and shows you the family they traced.
Today's programme was really interesting, with two estates explored.
The first unclaimed estate was for a Valerie Hatton, a teacher, who died in Grantham, Lincolnshire on 17 June 2013. She had fostered a lad who had remained close to her for over 50 years and she was not only hugely popular and very active in the cat breeding circles of the UK and worldwide as an exhibitor and judge, but she'd also entered the Guinness Book of Records in August 1970 when her Burmese cat had had the largest litter of kittens - producing 19 kittens! That world record referred to her as "V. Gane of Kingham, Oxfordshire, UK". When Valerie Gane / Valerie Hatton died intestate, as a foster-son he didn't inherit the estate, instead they had to trace her long lost family.
Valerie Hatton had been born in Prestwich in 1924 and married Andre Jofre Douglas Gane in 1967. Her husband had died in 1985. Valerie's father was William Edward Hatton, an actor and her mother had been Phyllis Finch, a vocalist. Valerie was an only child. What was crucial to them cracking the case was that her father had changed his name from Gaukrodger to Hatton.
Both of Valerie's parents had been married before. Her mother, Phyllis Finch had been married to Cecil Moon and they had a son, also called Cecil, who was Valerie's half brother. Cecil Dennis Moon had married Maisie Swain in Hendon 1938. They had one son, David John Moon, who had died in 1969, but he had two sons, one still living - and two granddaughters.
So in that case it was Valerie's half brother's grandchild and grandchildren who had a call out of the blue about a relative they had no idea existed!
I love tracing family history as there are so many unknown stories that come out! It's good to see families reconnected on the Heirhunters TV show and to follow the resources they've used and then hear the stories of people's lives.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/family-tree-family-ancestors-tree-297812/ by Nemo