Richard Riordan-Schalk of Virginia, a former chairman of the American Press Council, died three years ago. He left behind $1.9 million but never named an heir. Now his attorney has hired a genealogist to find his closest living relatives. Each living relative will receive part of the inheritance. Half of Riordan-Schalk's ancestry is German, and living relatives an that side of the family have all been found. The other half is Irish, and they are proving to be a bit elusive.
While the total amount involved is reported to be about $1.9 million, it appears that no one will receive the entire fortune. The money probably will be paid in shares, in accordance with Virginia's intestate laws (dying without a will). One hundred sixty-one people who might have been related to Richard Riordan-Schalk have already contacted the attorney handling the case.
OK, get out your pedigree charts and look for one or more of these:
David Riordan, who was born in 1808 and died in 1865. Mary Riordan (nee McCarthy), date of birth and death not known. Descendants, if any, are not known. Both resided in Limerick, Ireland.
Bartholomew Daly and Mary Daly (nee Walsh), who married on March 28, 1852, in Freemount, County Cork. They emigrated to Chicago and had three children, Elizabeth Daly Riordan, (September 9, 1858 to July 7, 1932), Michael Daly (October 10, 1856 - death unknown) and Eileen Daly (July 2, 1864 - death unknown).
If you are descended from one or more of these people, and if you have documentation of that descent, please contact Paul Lanzillota of the Manning and Murray, P.C., Suite 300, 6045 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia, 22205-1546 or call 703-532-5400 before Monday, September 17, and be prepared to show proof of descent. A verbal or written claim by itself will not be sufficient; be prepared to show birth certificates, immigration records, census records, and other documents as genealogists should always gather.
Now you see another reason why experienced genealogists will always tell you to cite your genealogy sources and to have documented proof of every fact you claim. If you have done your research properly, you won't have to scramble to assemble all those documents within the next few days.
Chances are that Richard Riordan-Schalk never met his distant Irish cousins, and probably none of them ever heard of him. Yet a bit of paperwork will allow those relatives to inherit unexpected money. You never know when you could become a millionaire if you document your ancestry properly!