The Foundling
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Case Study

Harry Feltham. A name that whispered loneliness and solitude. When he passed away, he left behind an estate and a void of unanswered questions about his family. Our team received Harry’s case upon finding it on the unclaimed estates list released by the Government Legal Department (GLD). It was our task to seek his legacy and find its rightful heir.

The initial hurdle loomed large: no birth certificate existed for Harry. Our researchers, determined detectives in the face of this unknown past, delved into adoption records and passenger lists, chasing threads of possibilities. A glimmer of hope emerged from a death certificate, unlocking the 1939 census register. It revealed a stark reality – Harry had spent his childhood at a Foundling school, a life seemingly empty of family ties.

The lack of a birth certificate for a Foundling often meant a void where parents’ names should be. Discouraged but not defeated, our researchers pursued a bold step. They ventured to the Foundling Museum, a beacon of hope in the labyrinth of Harry’s past. There, a crucial connection was made. The museum, a guardian of lost stories, led us to a charitable organisation, Coram, dedicated to supporting hundreds of thousands of children, young people and families. Together, we unearthed a truth hidden for decades – Harry’s birth name, not Harry Feltham, but Robert Denby, and a birth mother, shrouded in the mists of time.

This newfound information ignited a chain reaction. We traced Harry’s maternal lineage, ultimately locating a single living relative – a cousin completely unaware of Harry’s existence. He had believed himself the sole survivor of his family line. We shared photographs of Harry, a reflection of a life lived, and a bridge to a past unknown. The resemblance was uncanny, a physical testament to their shared blood.

Our initial contact, Harry’s friend, had been understandably wary after false claims of found relatives from other firms. However, upon learning of the verified cousin, their uncertainty melted into relief. We facilitated a connection between the friend and the cousin, allowing them to piece together fragments of Harry’s life. Photos, stories, and memories painted a portrait of a man no longer just a name in a file, but a person with a past.

This wasn’t just about a will or inheritance. It was about restoring a sense of belonging, of family and offering solace to a grieving cousin. Harry’s story, once shrouded in anonymity, found its rightful place, and rediscovering a lost family.

Names and places have been changed to preserve client confidentiality.  

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