A genealogy company based in Dublin can help locate American beneficiaries of long-lost Irish relatives by delving through official records and census data.
Finders International, a probate genealogy firm with offices in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, and Australia, tracks down distant descendants of people who died intestate, allowing beneficiaries to discover their family history in the process.
The company locates American beneficiaries by first searching through Irish records looking for birth and marriage certificates if they are available. They then delve through American naturalization records, census data, and passenger records to trace them down.
Maeve Mullin, a senior researcher at the firm, told IrishCentral that the company locates long-lost descendants all over the United States and said that American beneficiaries of Irish estates are particularly keen to learn about their family back home.
"People in the US aren't hugely interested in the inheritance they get, but the beneficiaries are really interested in finding out about the rest of their family because we can give people a family tree that tells them the story of their grandparents or their great-grandparents," she told IrishCentral.
Mullin said that most estates are modest as they are usually divided out between roughly 20 long-lost family members. She also said that Finders International redacts the names of all living relatives for confidentiality reasons when the company provides people with their family trees.
Finders International provides beneficiaries with a starting point to trace their family roots, allowing people to "fill in the blanks" and discover more personal stories.
"Probate genealogy is grounded in detail, while personal genealogy tells the story of the family and embellishes the bare bones of the family tree."
The company's research is of particular interest for Irish-American beneficiaries whose parents died young because they never heard their family story from their parents, according to Mullin.
Mullin said that some Americans are wary of scams when Finders International first gets in contact with them and said that the company eases fears by providing details about their family history.
"Once we get speaking to people in America and explain that we do know part of the background of their family history, they realize that this is a legitimate matter."
"What we find helpful is that we have our names and photographs on our website, so if we're speaking to someone on the phone we can tell them to look us up and that usually eases their fears."
*Originally published in February 2021. Updated in October 2022.