The worldwide hunt for heirs

Genealogists share their most thrilling stories.


Estate Genealogy and its Stories

Dear Reader!

When an outsider hears the term ‘probate search’, he might imagine something along the lines of a private in-vestigator. Even seasoned professional genealogists would not be presumptuous when claiming that the search for heirs is full of surprises and unexpected twists. But what is really behind this profession, which combines the work of a lawyer, a historian, and a private investigator?
Part of the daily work in genealogical research is to experience joyful moments when an empty spot of a family tree is filled or to experience a feeling of satisfac-tion when an heir has finally been found after months or even years of research work in archives, emigration or immigration registers, registrar’s offices, and barely legible records which are sometimes located in the most remote parts of the world.
From time to time, a genealogist is greeted with some scepticism by the heirs after they learn that they are eli-gible to receive an estate from somebody they have never even heard of! After all, it does not happen every day that somebody learns that he or she is about to be ‘showered with money’ from out of the blue!

Furthermore, the life stories, biographies, and stories which we reconstruct in our professional genealogical work and which are somewhat reflected in the stories of the heirs are often interesting, sobering, and moving. Being confronted with family tragedies can affect even the toughest and most experienced genealogist.
Even this small insight into the daily work of our pro-fession demonstrates that genealogy not only traces family relations, but is also able to fill dusty documents with life.
In this book, our genealogists tell stories about what they experienced during their worldwide hunt for heirs and much more. This anthology comprises 30 genealog-ical stories about some of their most thrilling cases from the last 17 years. The names mentioned in this volume are fictional, and some locations have been changed in order to maintain the anonymity and integrity of the protagonists.
30 genealogists from the Historikerkanzlei and their subsidiaries have each chosen one story from their rich wealth of experience that was particularly moving on a personal level; a story they continue to think about be-cause it stayed with them in their professional as well as private lives.

These are stories which…
• • highlight the international nature of searching for probates, which can lead investigators to other European countries or even countries out-side Europe;
• • demonstrate people’s mobility as a fundamental constant of family and relations in the past as well as the present, while showing connecting el-ements throughout time and space;
• • show the commitment of the Historikerkanzlei to meet the quality requirements of its international challenges in its branches in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, and Italy.

These stories have all been selected for different rea-sons, but they all have one thing in common: they are worth telling because they demonstrate that estate gene-alogy and family research are a fascinating professional field.
The stories that we have compiled here make it ob-vious that our profession is more than just searching through birth certificates, passenger manifests, marriage certificates, death records, or estate records – to name just a few of our profession’s fundamental sources; it is more than just reconstructing blood relationships. Through our work, we make stories real and more tan-gible for outsiders, with all their biographical highs and lows – equivalent to a journey into the past which con-tinues to have an effect on the present.
These are stories which move, surprise and make people chuckle, and which affect people and make them wonder. Apart from paying tribute to the daily chal-lenges of genealogical work, the contributions compiled here show the individual and cross-generational twists and peculiarities of life.
We wish you great joy in reading our stories!

Nicolas Forster
Lukasz Nieradzik
Norbert Nowak
Wien, im Juli 2021

It is possible to order the book at

Sales price: 19,90 EUR

Lingue conosciute

Tedesco, Inglese, Francese, Italiano, Croato, Olandese, Polacco, Portoghese, Rumeno, Russo, Svedese, Serbo, Slovacco, Sloveno, Spagnolo, Ceco e Ungherese

Danke, Frau Kager. Ich schätze Ihre Arbeit und Freundlichkeit sehr. Auch wenn ich manchmal kurz angebunden bin, dann liegt das einfach daran, dass ich manchmal sehr eingespannt bin.

Dear Mag. Unger, I want to thank you for all your efforts and patience regarding the settlement of my grandfather’s estate. I spoke with the (…) family this week and they said they were following up with your requests to possibly rece…

Sehr geehrte Kanzlei! Danke für Ihre positive Erledigung , freue mich sehr darüber. Ich wünsche frohe Weihnachten und alles Gute, mit freundlichen Grüßen W. J.

Ich möchte mich bei Hrn. Mag. Gallobitsch für seine tolle Arbeit bedanken. Ich bin morgen Donnerstag in der Innenstadt am Nachmittag unterwegs und könnte bei Ihrer Kanzlei vorbeikommen. Ich bitte Sie um eine Information bis wann …