19 March 2009

Unclaimed Persons

We are now in week #10 of the 52 blog post ideas. This weeks post was to attend a national conference and write about it. Well little miss stuck at home with no car and no money....... not an easy feat. So I went to one of my favorite places online, Roots Television to watch and learn about more research tips and ideas.

Today I chose one that also ties in with my research on the deceased. The title of this video was Unclaimed Persons. One of my favorite and very knowledgeable researchers, Megan Smolenyak was involved in working and reporting on this case.

In counties all around the United States (and I'm sure the world) there are thousands of people who are unclaimed at time of death. Now there is a difference between unclaimed and unknown. We are not talking about John or Jane Doe's who are unknown. These are people who we know their name, possibly their last residence, but their next of kin is unknown. There is no one to claim the body.

The sad thing is that after a period of time if the coroners office can not locate a next of kin to claim the body then the body is cremated and buried in an unmarked grave in a paupers cemetery, unless they left instruction specifying no cremation and in most of those cases the coroner will get special permission to bury the body in the paupers cemetery. I find this sad because these people are easily forgotten.

If you are looking for an interesting case that deserves help, check with your local coroners office. They may even have a list online, but if not go to the office and volunteer to help do some research and try to find the families of the unclaimed. They have a name, give them a chance to be given back to the family who often times have already been looking for their loved one, and just never found them.

One strong word of caution though. If you do find family to any of these unclaimed individuals, please do not contact the family. That is the responsibility of the coroners office. You may find yourself in a sticky situation that you don't want to be in if you do. The coroners office will have the details the family need about their loved ones and what they need to do to insure a proper burial for them.

You can also watch the video to see how Megan Smolenyak worked on a case that as of yet has not been solved in the case of John Aaron Leon Finch born 12 Sep 1944 in Clay Center, KS. His last known address was Vine St, Scranton, PA. His siblings are Charles Finch, James Finch, Wilburn Finch, Marlin Finch, Micheal Finch, Arlin Finch, Leslie Finch, Debra Finch, and Jerry Finch (deceased). If you have any information on this individual you are encouraged to contact the Scranton, PA coroners office.

Also included in this video is the case of an unclaimed person who died in the desert, living in his jeep in Nevada. When they solved the case he only had one brother still living. The brother talks about how the family had searched for him for many years and could never find him. All the siblings passed away with out ever knowing their brother again. But the one brother began to understand why. His brother had been living in the desert in his jeep for many many years. Literally his address was listed as so many miles out in the middle of no where.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

JohnFinch's family has been found, he is my uncle, he left home when my dad was like 8/10 and never came back. They contacted up like 2 years ago. he was missed and looked for through life and we found him to late. he looked just like my dad.

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