Monday, 29 April 2013

The changing world of probate research. Fraser & Fraser celebrates 90 years at the top of its profession.

By Johanna Lines, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Fraser and Fraser

May 2013 marks an important milestone in Fraser & Fraser’s long history.  As we celebrate our 90th year, it seems fitting to take a look back at how our business has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of this industry while at the same time continuing to deliver the high standards demanded by the legal professionals we support.

In 1923, Gertrude Christensen, great aunt of today’s working partners, took the ambitious step of founding her own firm. Due to her experience, employed as an Outdoor Clerk carrying out genealogical research for a law firm, she was confident that through using her tried and tested methods, she had the expertise needed to support lawyers in their work. In 1969, a new partnership was formed with her nephews, Nathan and Simon Fraser, at the helm. Under their management, Fraser & Fraser continued to lead the way in probate research in the face of an ever changing society. Increasing divorce rates, emigration, immigration and population growth all made searching for missing beneficiaries more of a challenge, and together they grew the firm’s expertise to overcome these obstacles.

Since 2007, the firm has been managed by the latest generation of Frasers: Andrew, Charles and Neil.  Like previous generations, these current partners are forward thinking and share their family’s passion for research, but they also bring with them the technical knowledge needed in looking for new and innovative research solutions. These solutions mean that we can research more effectively at greater speed than ever before, and this technology is just one of the ways we ensure we stay ahead of the competition.

There is no doubt that the internet and increased media coverage have contributed to revolutionising the world of genealogy. TV programmes such as Heir Hunters and genealogy websites that allow users to research their own family trees are extremely popular. This technology is essential in helping us to reduce costs, speed up the search process and increase communication, but these factors have also led to an increase in small, amateur probate research firms arriving on the scene. Experience has shown us how important it is for solicitors to be able to choose a firm that they can trust and have confidence in.

We have built up a network of European offices and relationships with other leading genealogists worldwide, which we continue to grow and advance to this day, with the aim of enhancing both the service we provide and the reach of our research. In developing our now vast portfolio of services we have worked with specialist firms such as Landmark and property companies. These services help us to better support our clients by ensuring we are able to support in all aspects of estate administration and not only the research for which we are best recognised.

Despite many changes in this field over the last 90 years, some things have stayed the same. We have upheld the Fraser family’s vision by offering dedicated support to probate professionals in the UK and overseas and we continue to grow, but the firm still remains in the hands of the family that started it up in 1923. At the grand age of 90, Fraser & Fraser are proud to say that we continue with the same values and aims forged by Gertrude all those years ago: to be and always be a trusted and reliable partner to the legal profession.

For more information about Fraser & Fraser and our services, visit our website:

Or contact us to discuss how we can help you:
Email:          Tel: 020 7832 1430

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