Monday, February 16, 2009

"Sadness, reality attach themselves to unclaimed persons list"

Megan Smolenyak provided a link on Twitter to an article titled "Sadness, reality attach themselves to unclaimed persons list" published on the Inland Empire and Inland Valley Breaking News page of the San Bernardino (CA) Sun online newspaper by Joe Smilor on 15 February 2009. The article started:

"They are the unclaimed. Reduced now to ashes and a metal tag, the 2,158 men and woman listed in the San Bernardino County coroner division's database were once connected to a family that may not even realize they died."

This article tells about the efforts of the San Bernardino County (CA) Coroner's office to find relatives of unclaimed bodies. The article gives great credit to the Unclaimed Persons Facebook group that Megan started last year. The group has been successful in finding relatives of about 50% of the 70 cases investigated to date. You can sign up to help at

Megan is quoted in the article:

"'We're making a difference to somebody. Each person deserves to be remembered,' said Megan Smolenyak, a professional genealogist who operates and coordinates the volunteers' efforts. 'But we're hoping people learn about this problem and pick up the phone to call the brother or sister they haven't talked to in 20 years.'"

Read the entire article. There are some interesting statements about the Coroner's process, what happens to the unclaimed remains, and
This is a wonderful article that highlights the role that the Unclaimed Persons group of genealogists has played in helping find relatives of the unclaimed. I'm honored to be part of the group. I just wish that I spent more time doing the work!

1 comment:

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak said...

Thanks very much for helping spread the word, Randy. The more people who know about this quiet epidemic, the more volunteers we'll have -- and even more importantly, the fewer who will become unclaimed in the first place.