Identifinders Blog

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Calendar October 2016 through March 2017  October 20, 2016 2:30 pm Forensic Genealogy:  The Database Detective 6:30 pm The Secrets of Abraham Lincoln’s DNA The Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts & the Chicopee Public Library Chicopee Public Library 449 Front Street, Chicopee, MA  01013 Contact: Barbara Kulig ***** October 22, 2016 1:45 – 3:00 pm Six Degrees of Separation 3:30 – 4:45 A Different Kind of DNA Talk The Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast Contact: Diane Sepanski (860) 919-6333 ***** October 24, 2016 Forensic Genealogy West Virginia Department of Forensics and Investigative Science 208 Oglebay Hall P.O. Box 6121 Morgantown, WV 26506-6121 ***** January 18, 2017 7:00 pm Eastern Standard

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ISHI 27 – David O'Shea and the Grandmothers of the Plaza

The keynote at the 27th annual International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI27) was given by internationally recognized video journalist David O’Shea. O’Shea addressed the conference on the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo), a human rights organization formed in Argentina in 1977 in response to the disappearance of hundreds of children who were either kidnapped or born to mothers who were “disappeared” political dissidents during the country’s “Dirty War” in 1974-1983.

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Extreme Genealogy – Arrival in Berlin and First Visit to the Berlin Bundesarchiv

Flight to Berlin and Arrival Thursday, August 11, 2016 My trip from Los Angeles to Berlin went smoothly with a layover in Keflavik Interntional Airport.  It is the cleanest airport in the world. It felt more like an igloo than an airport – snug from the elements.  Yet it was a beehive of activity – with people snacking in one of several cozy cafes, or browsing the stores which naturally offer beautiful Icelandic sweaters and other products. The sandwiches are the most beautiful sandwiches I have ever seen. I was tempted to exchange $10 for Icelandic krona at the money exchange, but thriftiness got the better of me. The gates are small- there is

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Who Am I? What is My Name? – Part IX – Gertrude's Sisters!

Since 2012 we have been trying to discover the birth identity of Pnina Gutman, who as an infant was smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto with the assistance of a woman named Gertrud Spiro.  We realized from the beginning that our best chance at solving the mystery was to find out as much as we could about Gertrude and her daughter Sonia, hoping they left some record behind of their activities.  We have faced many challenges; when we started out, we did not even know the correct spelling of their last name.  Thanks to our persistence, we can now account for most of Gertrud’s whereabouts from the time she was born in Bladiau, East Prussia on 24 February 1899, until the day Gertrud and her daughter Sonia

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Claude and the Geography Lesson

By the time I was asked to find Claude and Marie Dexter* in France, I had pulled a few unclaimed property rabbits out of unclaimed property hats so that I had become the company’s patron saint of hopeless cases. Typically, when they finally got around to assigning me a case like Claude’s, they had exhausted all their own resources yet had not been able to find their man. My first stop was my favorite website, with links to telephone directories worldwide. France’s online Pages Blanches were tedious to navigate back then. You had to individually search each of the 96 “départements” (France’s equivalent of US states) and overseas départements and territories.  These included  island territories in the Atlantic,

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They Never Thought I'd Find Them but I Did!

When people ask what I do for a living, I tell them “I read minds”.  This is not far from the truth. The case of the Chedidi’s* stands out in this regard. In about 2007, the international investment company I worked for gave me an assignment to find a couple named Jack and Lily Chedidi* who were owners of unclaimed property in the US. Their last known address was in London. My only responsibility was to return the phone number of the couple or their next of kin, leaving the business end of things to the investment company. Easy enough.  I searched the UK phone books on, to discover there was only one

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