Saturday, December 15, 2007

How my family research really paid $$$

Shortly after I started my research, I was searching the New York State unclaimed property records and found a listing for a C. Israel Lutsky. This was my great grand uncle. He had his own show on Yiddish radio from the 1930s to the 1960s called The Jewish Philosopher. He lived on Central Park West so we knew he made a pretty good living. I got excited that this could be some kind of windfall. I called the state for more information and they told me it was life insurance proceeds and gave me the contact information for the insurance company. When I called the insurance company I was told that it was about $460 (so much for the windfall) and that it was the type of property they could send to me directly vs my having to go through the state. They would get the money back from the state. All I had to do was prove the relationship.

I sent them a copy of my birth certificate showing my father's name. My father's birth certificate showing his mother's name, Ida Lutsky. Her birth certificate showing her father's name, Louis Lutsky. I also sent my ggf Solomon Lutsky's US naturalization papers showing a list of his children which included Louis (my great-grandfather) and Israel. This was proof enough. The check arrived a few weeks later, the day before I was driving to NY for Thanksgiving. I deposited the check and made out 4 new checks, 1 for my dad and 3 for his brother & sisters. When I gave them the checks it was exciting. Not a lot of money but still fun. My Aunt Linda was in tears. She was very close to Uncle Israel so it meant a lot to her.

I had also found some smaller bank account balances for other members of the family who were still living. I sent them the information and they were able to claim the money.


Jesse N. said...

Dear Sharon,

I just read that you're related to C. Israel Lutsky! Did you know that audio recordings of his radio program, The Jewish Philosopher, still exist? They were featured on an NPR series called "The Yiddish Radio Project" about 10 years ago.

I believe that the Jewish Sound Archive at YIVO has the original records of the program.

Sharon said...

Thanks Jesse, yes I do. There are other posts on my blog about Uncle Israel if you're interested.