Finding the cousins

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December 24, 2013 by auntkatefirmin

The heirs of Constance Trotter

The heirs of Constance Trotter.

Let’s return to Aunt Kate’s story.  In 1939, Kate and her brother Fred began the process of proving their relationship to their cousin, Constance Trotter after she died without a will. As one might imagine, the attorneys were not interested in facilitating a family reunion. The information that came west provided names but no context. There was no easy way to determine who was a relative, a friend, or a business associate. Fanny Agnes Hall had brought a case against Elizabeth Marshall Anthony – if either of them was a cousin, was the relationship even on the Firmin side of the family?

It wasn’t until 1941 that Constance’s estate was settled. While Kate was hoping for more detail, the family received only the names of the heirs, and the amounts of the shares. John Robert Firmin’s heirs, including Kate, each received a portion of their father’s share. Due to the war transfers of money out of Britain were frozen, but an exception was made for the Firmins based on the grounds of their age. In the end, Kate, Fred and Venoy’s son each received £100 with a joint balance of £26 held in trust until the end of the war.

Kate wrote to the London attorneys at least twice asking for more information and received no reply.  She had hoped to get addresses for the heirs to try and establish a correspondence with any Firmin relatives. With no other leads, Kate reluctantly let the matter drop for a time.

It wasn’t until 1947 that Kate found her opportunity.  A friend of a friend was going to London and was willing to pay a call on the attorneys in person. After calling on the attorneys, the friend came away the the list shown above.  The notes on the list are in Kate’s handwriting.  As far as I can tell, she only wrote to the Firmin cousins.  It’s not clear to me how she discovered who was who as so few of the heirs had a Firmin surname.

Due to her persistence, Kate had the addresses at last!  Connecting with the cousins was only a postage stamp away.

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