Today, we offer a game, a treat, a chance to hit that jackpot. In France, to have an "American uncle", oncle d'Amérique, means the same as "rich uncle" does in English. He is the distant, unknown relative who dies leaving pots of money that tumble and roll down the family line to you. There is a certain type of hunter, we will not say genealogist, who specializes in finding the heirs to such folk and demanding a cut before letting them know how and were to collect. The website we introduce has naught to do with that ilk, but it does have to do with finding heirs.
French notaires and insurers are required by law to ensure that all heirs and beneficiaries are found, which can often be quite difficult, especially when inheritance can go to distant relatives. They employ and work closely with large teams of probate genealogists and clerks, one of whom, Raphaël Bermondy, had a clever idea: put together the public's ever growing passion for genealogy with the notaire's need to find heirs, et voilà! oncledamerique.com was born.
It looks like it was designed on a no frills, bargain basement web design package, but it gets the job done. Members of the public sign up at no cost and enter their family trees. (Do not start entering data until you have received an e-mail confirmation of your account.) You can enter previous generations back to your great-grandparents, that being the fourth degree of relation, and then as many of their descendants as you know, to the sixth degree. Notaires, insurers and others with a professional need to know then pay for the right to search the database of names for the heirs they seek. You have a chance to inherit a French fortune, the notaires find answers fast and Monsieur Bermondy profits nicely.
oncledamerique.com was greeted with dour scowls when it first went online a year ago, but it now has over ten thousand members and half a million names in its data banks. Put your French ancestors to work, we say. Enter that part of your family tree and see what happens.
©2102 Anne Morddel