Through a cousin, I’ve received a curious request. A researcher is looking for the family of David Leslie Babb who died in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England on 05 Mar 2019. No one has come forward to claim his estate since his death.
A whole bunch of technical stuff follows. If you know anything about the family, please reach out to June Winton whose email is at the bottom of this message. I’ve already informed her about the names of his half siblings (the Sheridans) but their whereabouts are unknown.
I am privately researching the UK Bona Vacantia list of people who have died without making a Will and where nobody has come forward to claim their estate.
On the list is a David Leslie Babb (Leslie David Babb), dob 27/11/46 Lichfield, Staffordshire, dod 5/3/19 Birmingham, UK. David has died and no family have come forward to claim his estate. His mother’s name was Mary Elizabeth Babb, dob 16/2/28, so she was 18 at the time.
Mary later married a Christopher Sheridan in April 1951, and it is unknown whether she had any further children. If so, they or their descendants, as half siblings, would have first call on David’s estate.
Mary’s parents were Henry Babb, dob 9/11/1892 and Annie Northover, dob 1/10/1904 and in the 1939 Register they were living with their children in Stafford, who included Aubrey, Mary, John, Audrey and Violet Babb. If Mary had no children from her marriage to Christopher Sheridan, then her brothers and sisters or their descendants would be able to claim David’s estate. Obviously, as Mary was only 23 when she married, it is likely that she did have further children but I have not checked for this.
I wondered whether this could be the same person in your family tree.
The claim number and information held on the Bona Vacantia list is shown below:
BV22006616/1 20/04/2020 David Leslie Babb 05/03/2019 Birmingham West Midlands unknown 27/11/1946 Lichfield Staffordshire Lloyds Bank
To make a claim on an estate you must be a direct descendant of either the Deceased or their maternal or paternal Grandparents. If a cousin, only first cousins of the Deceased or one of their direct descendants (however many times removed) qualify. Bona Vacantia will only pay as far back as Aunts and Uncles of the Deceased or their descendants, i.e. blood relatives, not by marriage. Please also note that if you have been legally adopted into another family you lose your right to claim against your birth parents, although informal adoptions still qualify.
There is a minimum value of £500 on estates listed on bona vacantia, however it could be much more. Check to see who is listed as the Informant; if this was the local council, they could be Council tenants or they may own their own property. If Social Services, a Trust or Health Authority, the Deceased may have sold their house to pay for their care but there may still be a residual amount.
To prove your entitlement to an estate which is on the Bona Vacantia list, you need to send the division a family tree which shows your relationship to the person who has died. This needs to include the dates of birth, marriages and deaths of everyone on the family tree, including any sisters and brothers and their children or if none, any aunts and uncles on both sides of the Deceased’s family, and their children. It costs nothing to put in a claim. If your claim is accepted they will tell you how much the estate is worth, when you can decide whether or not to proceed. The Bona Vacantia division will then ask for copies of certificates etc. supporting your claim. Never send them your original certificates. Please note there is a 12-15 year time limit on completed claims from date of death. If you know someone who is more closely related if they are not on Ancestry, or perhaps a closer DNA match, I would be grateful if you could let them know.
Searches that you can make yourself on-line are at the Family Division of the High Court to search for marriages and divorces, and at the UK Land Registry when searching for properties. You can also contact the local Register Office where a birth has been registered to ask for a copy of the birth entry record when there is a question over parentage, which should provide details of the person who registered the birth.
More details are given on the Bona Vacantia website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/unclaimed-estates-list.
If you would like help with your search please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Deceased’s name and your Ancestry username.