Heir Hunters, Series 12 – Instincts vs Evidence

A false start could lose the race. Do you go with your instincts or rely solely on solid evidence?

That’s what our team at Finders International had to face with the case of John Trevor Hoyle, which featured on Heir Hunters Series 12.

Case manager Camilla Price had only limited information to work with but had to do her best to stay ahead of competitor firms when trying to find the heirs to John T Hoyle’s estate. Her efforts were hampered when she was faced with another John T Hoyle in the records.

Which one was our man?

Estate worth £70,000

John T Hoyle died in August 2017 at the age of 70. He was born on 17 November 1946 and died in a care home in Pontefract. The case was referred to us privately. John’s estate was worth £70,000.

Camilla had little to go on, so contact was made with a neighbour. Dorothy Currie was interviewed on camera and explained that John was known to his friends as Trevor and had visited his parents, who lived across the road from Dorothy, regularly. He had learning difficulties.

Camilla made the decision to proceed on research without waiting for the death certificate. It’s risky, as you can end up looking into the wrong person, but when time is of the essence, probate genealogists often need to make that decision.

Case comes to a standstill

Camilla and her team started researching the maternal and paternal sides of John’s family, but the investigation came to a standstill when Camilla found the death certificate for another John T Doyle, which was linked to the birth certificate they had started with, meaning that they had been looking into the wrong family tree…

The case was a perfect demonstration of the pitfalls of online research, as it can lack the necessary details and make mistakes more likely. The birth record that the team had been working with was for a John Thomas Hoyle, not Trevor and they could not find the certificate for John Trevor Hoyle.

The team concluded Trevor had been adopted, which put them back at square one. Would they be able to find the heirs ahead of competing heir hunting firms?

Guide Dogs

Camilla and her researchers investigated the adoptive family, and found an aunt called Edith, who had been a matron at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Edith would have worked on the courses training the dogs.

The Guide Dogs story started in 1931, when Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a lock-up garage in Merseyside. The dogs were used to support servicemen who’d lost their sight during the First World War.

Today, Guide dogs is the world’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs, and some 36,000 lives have been transformed by the partnership of dogs and humans.

Camilla’s team located Gloria Skevington, a maternal cousin to Trevor, and her four children were among the ten heirs to the estate.


Finders International identify and trace heirs to unclaimed estates, property, and assets worldwide – enabling the rightful heirs / next of kin (via intestacy law) to lay claim to an unexpected windfall. Discover more about Finders at www.findersinternational.co.uk.