A message from the State Treasury of the State of Maryland stated I was the rightful heir to the contents of my grandparent’s safe deposit box which had be unknown to anyone in the family for decades. I couldn’t believe it! I had to replay that phone message a couple of times to make sure of what I was hearing. It was only later in the evening that it dawned on me that the date of that phone message was the 55th anniversary of my grandfather’s death, December 6, 1944. To top that, the date I started this research into unclaimed property on the Internet was September 8th, my grandfather’s birth date. In my heart I knew I was destined to receive these unclaimed safe deposit contents. They had been waiting years in a dark, cool, metal box for me and that my grandfather’s spirit had led the way.
The end of the week could not get here fast enough and just as stated the package arrived on Friday at no charge to me. The package was a 9” x 12” manila envelope and within the envelope was a plastic silver-colored bank bag. Inside the bag was an old, partial torn medium brown 5” x 11” envelope with the name Commercial Bank of Maryland, Mt. Airy, Maryland. Written in pencil and centered on the front was D. G. Everhart, Box B – 31, 8/8/40, in what I believe was my grandfather’s handwriting.
So already this may help explain why no one knew of this deposit box since it may have been in neighboring Mt. Airy rather than the town of Frederick. I slowly removed the various folded papers within the envelope. Some of the items included an empty envelope from the Commercial State Bank of Frederick, MD and a deed dated 1919 for a 10-acre tract of land outside the town of Frederick. There was a life insurance policy by Modern Woodmen of America first issued for my grandfather in 1909. Several of the folded papers were stock certificates for the Walter Decker Inc. of Maryland dated 1924 and the Co-Operative Drug Company of Delaware dated 1919 to 1921. None of the papers indicated that they were canceled, expired or cashed in. I did not know if these items had any monetary value, but I was just so excited about having these papers. These documents were important enough for a safe deposit box and ones personally handled by my grandfather.
Over the next couple months I did a little researching into the stock certificates, but could not find that they were present-day companies. The Modern Woodmen of America Insurance Company was still in business in Illinois. After several letters and phone calls, I got them to research their files about the policy. They could not find anything about the policy or that any insurance money had been paid on the policy. As for the 10-acres of land outside of Frederick, I researched county records to find that the land had been sold in the 1920s to a housing developer.
So now nearly a year after first investigating about the unclaimed property, I have no huge stacks of money, gold coins, or jewelry, but I do have something even more precious to me. I know my grandfather helped me locate these papers and he wanted me to hold on to them. As the keeper of the family history, I intend to do that very thing.
If you have not checked the state treasury for unclaimed property in locations your ancestors have lived, place that activity at the top of your to-do list.< Return To Blog There is no central dastbaae for information on life policies going back this far, i.e. the MIB (Medical Information Bureau) only keeps records on life insurance applications going back 11 years. However, I do have a few suggestions 1) check his financial records cancelled checks, bank statements, the attic, the basement for old boxes of records, etc. 2) check at the bank and see if he had a safe deposit box 3) check at work and see if he had a policy there 4) check with his auto home insurance agent and see if he had the policy through that agent or if that agent recommended someone to him 5) check with the family attorney he might have told him/her while preparing his will 6) check with the accountant he might have told him while asking questions about the tax implications of a policy or maybe the accountant referred him to an agent and 7) if nothing else you would have to call up the companies to check be forewarned though this is a lot of work. First get a list of the licensed life insurance carriers in your state from the Insurance Commissioner and then try to call the most well known first. Make sure you have his social security number, date of birth and full name on hand prior to making these calls and realize that in the entire U.S. there are over 1800 life insurance companies of course there might be far fewer in your state but it will still be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Sorry.I hope this helps your friend.