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Snatching Victory From The Jaws of Defeat | People Trace Extraordinary

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Trace a person a miraculous people tracing outcome | Victory From The Jaws of Defeat.

People tracing story extraordinaire.

A lesson on how to trace a person. A miraculous and incredible people-tracing outcome. We were on this occasion only a ‘whisker away’ from conceding defeat!

This story is an amazing example of determination shown in the art of “Trace A Person.” Achieved n the face of overwhelming odds stacked against us. An unlikely victory grasped here from what appeared certain defeat!

A  people tracing outcome we are all convinced will remain unsurpassed in our lifetime.

Our chief researcher John, who has been an archivist since the age of 14, stated: “This one took the biscuit” as he described it. Truly snatched from the jaw of defeat.

Trace A Person
Marble Arch 1965

Our tracing-a-person story revolves around our client now in his mid-70s.

Linking to his lost love who hails from a well-known city in Yorkshire.

The request came from this fine elderly gentleman searching for his lost sweetheart dating back to 1976 when they were last together.

Initially, the case looked quite promising with prospects of success looking good.

However, we never approach any case with an over-confident or blasé attitude. Such as: “This is going to be easy”. As it can sometimes come back to “bite us on the backside” as the old saying goes!

Reassuringly we had her full maiden name and address where she lived at that time (1976). Also, a pic he had retained of the house she lived in at that time.

Additionally, we knew where she was working in 1976. There were links to some local social activity interests, the name of a local theatre she was involved with, etc.

Armed with this information we happily took the case on.

Here is how the process went: Having her full name (not always the case) we went about tracing her birth record. This is very important and can be tricky especially if her surname happened to be Smith.

If we are lucky, and she was born and still lives in the same town where they first met, we are halfway there.

If however, this is not the case it becomes far more complicated.

The next step is to establish find if there were any siblings, as this can often be a good backup. Especially if she moved abroad, and they all didn’t accompany her.

We then had to narrow it down further, by searching the entire country for all birth entries with that name, and around the year of birth- (1945-1949).

Luckily there was actually only one where the town and birth year fitted.

What a great result! Moreover, she married in the town of her birth, in 1979 which also fitted and indeed still lives there. But from bitter experience, all of this could be a “red herring”. Then if not, where do they reside today?

All of this could be thrown out if there was a divorce, or name change, or she might have retained her maiden name. This can add up to 5 hours or more to a case.

Moving home a few times is a challenge too.

But on this occasion, everything fell into place with even a current address.

Armed with this apparent concrete information: nobody else with the same name married around that time and in the same town he stated, we confidently advised the client accordingly.

We gave him all the details and informed him his Trace A Person instruction was concluded, and we closed the case. On this occasion, rarely, we also had a telephone number to give the client.

He paid us for our people tracing services and we, in turn, wished him luck.

Although after almost 50 years you never can tell! Indeed, on this occasion two weeks later, we received an email from the client stating – it was “NOT” her!

We offered a 50% refund as agreed in this eventuality, but he waived it.

Instead, he opted to ask us to carry on. So off we went again searching through every listing in the UK, births and marriages, deaths etc…Zilch!

We were naturally in daily contact with the client and forever attempting to secure more scraps of additional info.

However, one month on and without any progress whatsoever, it was looking very gloomy.

Actually, we had just one last resort angle to pursue. Utilising the only absolute firm item of information we possessed. Namely: her name, and where she lived at that time.

But even then it was not totally straightforward. It was a very small village just outside a large town.

We had only a house name (no house number) and were no road names …. bizarre!  Nevertheless, we knew it was 100% concrete, as he used to visit her there between1976-79.

Showing initiative (we worked as a team with the client) he contacted a local Estate Agent friend who conducted a land registry search 1976-79 at that address…..Zilch!

But it occurred to us, she may have been living there as a tenant.

Instead of us and him, assuming she was a house owner. Then, of course, she would not have shown on the land registry.

Undeterred, John, our chief researcher decided to contact the local reference library, to request a search of the archive electoral rolls between 76-79.

Covering that particular small village, house, name and what might be the road. For a small fee, they agreed! This was a good result because nowadays, many historic electoral registers are no longer held in local libraries.

What came back was nothing short of – ABSOLUTELY astonishing!

We got her!!! The Christian name our client knew her under, was actually showing as her given middle name. Conversely, the middle name was the assumed first Christian name she decided to use.

John said this happened a lot during the 1960s era. Often where kids felt they had been given a ‘bad hand’  on their parents’ choice of the Christian name.

But more important and in fact and absolutely crucial, was would you believe-we had an incorrectly spelt surname too!.

This meant from day one the search was fatally flawed. Resulting in our trace a person task from day one, failing. Basically, we would NEVER have found her.

Frustratingly one single-letter variance in the spelling of her surname screwed the whole thing up. Her chosen versions although very rare, was not totally unknown.

It would certainly not have “sprung to mind”- put it that way. Puzzlingly, our software failed to pick up the spelling variance.

So, now the moment of truth!

Armed with the full accurate Christian and surname and with bated breath as well as frayed nerves we began our  Trace A Person search all over again. Including Divorces, address changes, emigration, and possible death listing. The outcome was: Eureka, we found her!! To add to this our client’s successful day, she is still living in the same town!

Conclusion. If we had been provided with the correctly spelt surname from the beginning, our search could have been concluded in probably a few days!

Although the real hero here to Trace A Person task, was the client. If he had accepted our refund offer, the case would have been closed.

Thus, not enabling us to press on as we did. Although John said: he would have done so anyway! Yes, they have spoken on the phone and planning to meet up!

Client feedback: What a seesaw journey of highs and lows. What can I say:- John, you are truly the most amazing people tracer ever to walk this earth.

To think, you are also the same age as me, 75!  Cheers, Peter

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