Beyond History Blog

A very exceptional case

Avatar of Andrea Bentschneider Andrea Bentschneider - 17. May 2016 - Genealogy, General

Sometimes it is not only the histories we are researching, but also the stories behind the people we do research for that make our job so fascinating.

A short while ago a very special case opened when we got a letter from a prison in Great Britain! That’s not exactly something we experience every day…

An inmate named John wrote us a detailed and heartfelt letter about his yearlong search for information about his maternal grandfather that probably hailed from Hamburg, Germany. “I have plenty of fond happy memories of him and I loved him very much although I never really knew much at all about his family or even their names…” His search of course was especially difficult considering his whereabouts, so that he was only able to get access to books about genealogy to learn more about the search for ancestors. Via mail correspondence he was also able to get a good amount of information that drew our interest.

Although John explicitly said he had no resources and therefore didn’t hope for research but information about whom to contact for further information, we decided to take on this exceptional case pro bono. We have a custom of taking on two exceptional cases pro bono per year that only require looking for records or the like. 

Thanks to John’s intensive groundwork we quickly found the crucial information and were able to send John his grandfather’s baptism entry that confirmed he was indeed born in Hamburg. 

The answer came very soon! “I am surprised but very happy you did reply back to me… “, we read soon in a newly received letter from England. The new information meant a big step for John’s research of his family and of course only brought up more questions, as it often is: new information when researching the own past only leads to more questions, digging deeper into the past…

Maybe one day John will contact us again as a regular costumer and we can find out more about his German grandfather. What a thrilling case, for him and for us!

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