The show is scheduled to go out some time next year and we hope that many of you will tune in to watch it. The popular appeal of the programme is thanks to the often heart-warming stories it features and the fascinating histories it uncovers. Viewers can see the step-by-step process probate researchers such as Finders use to search for an estate’s missing heirs and reunite family members with the money they are entitled to receive.
Often times as well, we are able to put family members in touch with branches of the family they did not know about. It’s a very rewarding aspect to our work.
We feel very privileged to be part of the programme and we do get a lot of positive feedback about the work that we do and the work that you see on Heir Hunters. However, Heir Hunters represents only a tiny fraction of the work we do, and of course not every family we work with wants to be featured on television. When you work in the field of probate genealogy, tact and discretion is a must and therefore understanding and respecting people’s requirements for privacy is something we take very seriously indeed.
In addition, what television does not show (and this is across the board when it comes to TV, not just when it applies to the Heir Hunters programme) is just how long and detailed our work can be – in other words, the boring bits!
It can be painstaking work to trace the rightful heirs to an estate. You can spend a lot of time pursuing one line of enquiry only for it to fall through. And of course, you can be at the mercy of call backs. The TV programme shows us taking calls with people who are supplying us with the information we need; the information that will solve the final, missing crucial piece of the puzzle. Of course, it doesn’t show that we might have been waiting for that call for days, if not weeks – and maybe even months.
Professionalism a Priority
TV too wants interesting, complex and complicated stories. Sometimes we are working with cases which aren’t quite as attractive for television. This does not matter to us as we still make it our priority to treat each and every one case with the same degree of professionalism and courtesy. If you do not happen to have an incredible family tree (though we find that most people do) with ancestors who crossed the globe, invented life-saving drugs or who worked for Royalty, that matters not a jot to us. Our professional code of conduct does not differentiate and we apply this code to every single case we undertake.
As it happens, we do enjoy the filming process. It can be messy, disruptive and rather chaotic, but as we are now in the process of filming our ninth series for the programme we have gotten used to how the filming works and we’ve made good friends with the crew. We know all about GVs (general views), we’ve worked out our most flattering camera angles, we know what a montage is and we’ve honed our speech so that we sound lively, rather than flat.
Now, we just need to work out how to dodge the autograph hunters…
The next series of BBC Heir Hunters is expected to be broadcast in early 2015.