Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Unclaimed Trains" case in San Diego

Frederick Perchway Jamieson died on 23 July 2008 in a downtown San Diego hotel, leaving a rented room full of the Lionel electric train collection he had bought over many years. The County Administrator could not find any indication of family members from the papers of the deceased, and the collection was to be sold at auction today. An article, titled "Beloved train sets head for auction,"about this situation appeared in Friday's San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.

Today's San Diego Union-Tribune front page has a follow-up article - titled "Collector's family derails auction of model trains" which explains the effort by a local dentist and his daughter to find living relatives of Frederick Jamieson after the County Administrator did not find any useful records. How the case was solved:

"The investigators apparently didn't do what Leucadia dentist Andrew Softley and his 10-year-old daughter, Julie Ann, did after reading the article about Jamieson yesterday morning.

"A Google search using Jamieson's first, middle and last names turned up several postings written four years ago by Janice Sellers, a genealogist in Oakland.

"At the time of the postings, Sellers was dating Evan Jamieson and helping him search for his father. The search wasn't successful, but her posts are probably the only places on the Internet that link Frederick Jamieson to a living relative."

Read the whole article for more information, including the family situation.

So the "Unclaimed Trains" have found a home - I just hope that the heirs will appreciate what Frederick left them as his posterity. Cases like this are similar to many of the "Unclaimed Persons" cases that the Facebook group is dealing with - these are people who have left their families for some reason and cannot be easily connected back to them, except by a concerted effort, in many cases.

I'll bet that the County Administrator's office will be getting Google training in the near future, too! It's a great reason for them to buy Dan Lynch's Google Your Family Tree book (that's a free plug, Dan!).

Good work by Andrew and Julie Ann Softley, too. I hope they receive a nice reward from the family - they deserve it. I wonder if Andrew is a genealogy society member?

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