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14 April 2008

Missing Money for You

CGS has landed in Salt Lake City this week for the 8th annual CGS Salt Lake City Research Tour. Seven of us drove from the airport to the hotel on the shuttle yesterday with Melinda M. Barbish, Auditing-Accounting Manager of the Division of Unclaimed Property, Department of the Treasury of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Melinda is here for a conference of a different sort but she advised us all to take a look at The Web site is billed as "State governments working together to safeguard and return your lost funds" and is a collection of links to the Unclaimed Property divisions of the various state agencies. Click on the small map to bring up a page with a large clickable map of the U.S. which leads to each state's free search engine.

The Virginia Department of the Treasury defines Unclaimed Property as "All tangible or intangible property that has remained unclaimed by its owner for an extended period of time. This includes but is not limited to savings and checking accounts, wages or commisssions, underlying shares, dividends, customer deposit, credit balances, gift certificates, credit memos, refunds, etc.

What is the connection to genealogy? Melinda advises checking the databases in every state you have ever lived, and also to search your parents' and grandparents' names in all the states they lived, or any state in which they were stationed if they were in the military. In Melinda's home state of Virginia, one in seven residents are owed unclaimed funds.

After taking a look at some of the sites, these are also potential places to find missing relatives since many states give full addresses as well as names. If you don't find money, you may find cousins. Please leave a comment if you hit the lottery!