Search for heirs uncovers legendary [Newcastle] record dealer

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Bedford cousins feature in TV episode linking them to legendary record dealer.

A routine search for heirs after the death of a well-known record dealer reveals his influence in the industry and establishes new family links.

John Powley passed away in at his home in Hazelrigg, Newcastle, aged 68 in 2016. He died with no will or known next of kin. John was originally from Durham and worked as a clerk for much of his married life, before pursuing a career that he became well known for – music.

The search for heirs by Finders International features on BBC’s Heir Hunters next week.

According to Radio DJ, Dean Anderson, John had a particular interest in Northern soul music and had been in possession of some very obscure records, making him very well-known in this field. At the time of his death, John’s registered occupation was a record dealer. Finders discovered his estate could be worth more than anticipated, with some records estimated to be worth up to £25,000.

At one time, John had in excess of 4,000 records in his possession, which could total a windfall for the heirs. However, it later transpired that he had sold off his records before his death.

Danny Curran and his team at Finders International discovered that John had been married to Olive Gemski but divorced and had no children. The search then turned to his father, who was one of seven. One of John’s aunts had married and had three children. Two of these are Diane Mandy from Wrestlingworth, Bedfordshire and Anita Welham from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Anita said: “It would have been nice to have contact with John over the years because although there is a distance, I would love to have known the history. It is sad that we didn’t get to know him more.”

“I would like to invest the money I receive from John and find out more about the history and the family.”

Diane said: “It’s very sad that we weren’t with him at the end.”

Danny Curran of Finders International said: “It’s really rewarding for us to unite families and help them discover roots they never knew about. Finding 43 beneficiaries is a fantastic result and it’s great to hear they are interested in finding out more about the family history.”

In the end, the team discovered 43 beneficiaries to John’s estate.

The story will air on Tuesday 24 April as part of the new series of BBC’s Heir Hunters.

For more information visit www.findersinternational.co.uk

About Finders International:

Finders International is a specialist probate genealogist firm based in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. Founded by Daniel Curran, the Finders team stars in the BBC’s Heir Hunters TV series, www.findersinternational.co.uk