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Jordan Auslander has extensive on-site research experience and maintain contacts with archivists at resources throughout the US, Canada, Israel and Europe including the Former Soviet Union and Communist Bloc countries.


Many documents can be obtained, economically by correspondence or by a network of representatives.

It's all on the internet, why can't I do this myself?

Anyone can fix a car, but we still have mechanics. The courts usually require an independent expert for kinship diligence. The internet is a start, but there are so many critical that haven't even been properly indexed, much less files that are fully digitized. I make my living getting my hands dirty delving deep into archives, where I revisit and continually discover new Rosetta stones. I also know to go back to original sources. Errors are inherent with even the most rigorous indexing; frequently I'm dealing with multiple generations of transliteration, (i.e. the evolution of first names from Hebrew, to Russian than English and their three different calendars).

Can you find “missing persons'?

Yes, in many cases we can find or account for them to a court's satisfaction. This depends on how long they have been 'missing' and how much and how recent your information is. Again, you probably know more than you realize. We take your puzzle pieces and create a usable image to start with, then find more.

How long will an heir search, or probate case take?

This depends on what you want and where that information is. If you have a deadline, I will meet it.

My budget is limited; can you work with that?

Yes. Your goals and objectives are what drives each case.

What guarantee do I have?

I will meet or exceed the legally mandated “Diligent search” requirement, in New York it's the Standard of Proof SCPA 2225. I'm a thorough, experienced and resourceful researcher this maximizes the chance of results. I can also check your work and see what facts and assumptions we're starting with to better our odds. Don't trust anyone who promises discoveries.

What is the order of decedent's succession?

This varies by state, a lawyer should clarify the class of heirs, or distributes for an estate, but generally spouse, issue (children), parents, siblings, grandparents (rare), first cousins, first cousins once removed.

Do I really need a professional genealogist?

No, you don't. No one knows your family better that you and it's fun to discover things on your own. People come to me because they have the money, not the time, or they have done all they could.

I want to try this on my own. How should I get started?

Build on what you know, then talk to older relatives, memories may need some prompting. Oral histories are best obtained over several occasions when facts and clues are followed up on and time lines and family trees are used as templates. Family information can be gleaned from address books, family bibles, scrapbooks and photo albums (document restoration and enhancement services are also available).


Identifying search parameters helps especially when common names are involved. Legends and rumors are more helpful than presumptions in seeking facts.


Names, dates & addresses - a time-line; whatever you have for the following:

  • BIRTH & MARRIED NAMES of parents, children and spouses.
  • DATES & PLACES of birth, marriage, education, immigration, naturalization, military service, domestic relocation, death and burial. (If no exact date, get a year or range. If not a town, then county, province, region or country.)
  • OTHER: education, occupation, honors & titles


Checklist of Sources of Information To Prove Kinship & Satisfy The Requirements of “Diligent & Exhaustive Inquiry” (Queens County Surrogate's Court 4/23/1994)


  1. Interested parties, relatives (but see CPLR 4519)
  2. Friends, neighbors, landlords, community and business associates, last & former employers, pension & retirement records
  3. Current occupants of former residence and business addresses
  4. Post Office FOI request for forwarding information
  5. Membership secretaries of known clubs, unions, social organizations, business associations
  6. Professional organizations: bar, AMA, CPA, realtors and trade associations sources: NYPL, NY Medical Academy, Martindale-Hubbell, AIA, unions, etc.
  7. Agencies regulating or liscencing employment (Taxi & Limousine Commission, Dept. of Consumer Affairs, State Dept. of Education)
  8. (Decedent's) Clergyman, doctor, lawyer, accountant or insurance broker
  9. Funeral director, cemetery records, grave marker, funeral visitors log.
  10. Health Dept., birth & death records, sources: NYC DoH b.1910-date, d.1949-date; indices @ Municipal Archives
  11. Marriage certificate indices. sources: City Clerk 1950-date; Municipal Archives; NYS DoH indices
  12. Church/synagogue, baptismal records, family bible (but see hearsay & ancient document rules), (personal effects, correspondence; hearsay exception: pedigree declarations) other family diaries, photo albums, portrait & photograph inscriptions
  13. Surrogate's Court records (petitions in estate of known relatives), local probate court records, adoption proceedings, judgment records, deeds(grantor-grantee index & statement in deeds & mortgages; contact attorney)
  14. Voting records sources: NYC Borough Boards of Elections; NYPL; Municipal Archives
  15. Federal & state census records.
  16. IRS & NYS Tax Commission records (returns include social security#, address, employer information)
  17. Social Security Administration; social service agencies (homeless, etc.)
  18. Bank records (signature cards often include pedigree clues)
  19. Public & private school and alumni records
  20. Military, draft board, Veterans' Administration & VA Hospital records. sources: Nat'l Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis MO 63132
  21. Police, probation & prison records. sources: federal Bureau of Prisons
  22. Naturalization records, passport applications, ship's registers & passenger manifests. sources: NARA, NYPL; State Dept. (passport application files)
  23. Newspaper obituaries/death notices. sources: NYPL, BPL; professional associations, on-line services
  24. Telephone & City (address) directories, local & national databases: persons with similar names is similar locales. sources: NYPL; on-line services
  25. Department of Motor Vehicles (driver's license applications, auto registration)
  26. Public Administrator
  27. Advertise for information in local newspapers & trade publications
  28. Consular offices, embassies
  29. Genealogy resources of the Mormon Family History Libraries.(
  30. Retain a professional genealogist for all of the above. sources: Association of Professional Genealogists directory


Due diligence requirements, (NYS 22, NYCRR SR-12 §207.16) as of 10/3/2000 [disclaimed, as information only, I'm NOT a lawyer) (d) If the petitioner alleges that any of the distributees or others required to be cited are unknown or that the names and addresses of some persons who are or ma be distributees are unknown, petitioner must submit an affidavit showing that her or she has used due diligence in endeavoring to ascertain the identity, names and addresses of all such persons. Compliance with this due diligence requirement is not intended to burden the estate with costly or overly time-consuming searches. Absent special circumstances, the affidavit will be deemed to satisfy the due diligence requirement if it indicates the results obtained from the following:

(If the petitioner alleges that any of the distributees are unknown, petitioner must submit an affidavit showing due diligence to ascertain the identity, names and addresses. Compliance is not intended to be costly or overly time-consuming searches. Absent special circumstances, the affidavit will satisfy the due diligence requirement if it indicates the following:

  1. examination of the decedent's personal effects, including address books:
  2. inquiry of decedent's reltives, neighbors, friends, former business associates and employers, the post office and financial institutions:
  3. correspondance to the last known address of any missing distributees:
  4. correspondance or telephone to, or internet search for, persons of same or similar name in the area where the person being sought lived:
  5. examination of the records of the motor vehicle bureau and board of elections of the state or county of the last known address of the person whose whereabouts is unknown. In probate proceedings, the court may accept, in lieu of the above, an affidavit by decedent setting forth the efforts that he or she made to ascertain relatives.
    Example: If someone died with no surviving children, spouse, parents then the family will be traced to all the living first cousins, resulting a substantial genealogical record in the probate file.


Your link to other qualified genealogists across the US and internationally


Association of Professional Genealogists


German Genealogy Group


Irish Family History Forum


Italian Genealogical Group


Jewish Genealogy


Webpages by Stephen P. Morse




The National Archives


New York Genealogical & Biographical Society


The Family History Library




© 2020 Jordan Auslander, New York, NY