11 April 2012

Dead Money

A quick trip to Ireland, frequent flyer miles are stacking up, allowed me to view the Irish television network RTÉ1 show "Dead Money." Legal genealogists Steven and Kit Smyrl trace heirs of those who died intestate.

For those who've seen the similar British series "Heir Hunters" the big contrast is that the Irish investigations seem not be under the time and competitive pressures that exist in England.

The episode on Tuesday had them researching for heirs of a former Scottish entertainer, Anna of the novelty act Fran and Anna Watt.

One of the breakthroughs came when the mother's parents names were found on her death certificate, something I did know before.

It turned out that Anna's mother was born out of wedlock in Ireland at a time and in a community which ostracized both mother and child. It was suggested that this contributed to significant emigration.

The researchers were able to find descendants of Anna's mother's half-sibling, but were then informed that Scottish law on inheritance is different from Irish law in that half-blood relatives are not eligible to inherit.

There were brief scenes filmed inside GRO Ireland which seemed remarkably quiet. I wonder if that's typical?

There's a summary of the other episodes in the series at http://www.rte.ie/tv/programmes/dead_money.html

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