At Family Wise Ltd, our primary goal is to find people & change lives. As the company Managing Director, I have always been interested in family history and I took up genealogy professionally while training to be a teacher back in 2002. The business was founded in 2012 and initially, I ran Family Wise part time while continuing my ‘day job’ as a school teacher. However I finally took the plunge to run the business full time in 2013. We are a unique business and building awareness is key to our BNI membership. The decision to join a BNI business networking group two years ago has not just helped my business - it has helped to transform it! Many of my connections have come from my Chapter and I now work with a team of researchers all around the world. A large part of my business is Heir Hunting, although we work on many other tracing cases, some which turn out to be life changing. One story in particular occurred due to a chance meeting at a BNI group.
When visiting another BNI chapter in Bristol, I sat next to a car and van dealer called Nick. We went through the normal formalities, which included enquiring about each other’s line of work. My opening line is ‘we find people’. Nick seemed almost stunned and went on to explain that he had been looking for his biological mother for over twenty years with no success. I asked him to send over all the information he had managed to uncover over the years, which included a married name for his mother. Due to the dates on the documents, Nick didn’t hold out much hope that his mother would still be alive, however his goal was simply to see a photograph.
We soon got to work and within twenty minutes of receiving Nick’s email, we discovered that his biological mother, Nora, had passed away. However, we also managed to find the name of a second husband, David. After confirming our research with documentary evidence, we wrote to David. Hope started to dwindle as David failed to reply to our letter. Nick happened to be working in David’s area, so he took the plunge and decided to ‘drop in’, introducing himself as my associate. The unscheduled visit paid off and Nick finally saw the photograph of his mother, but better than that, he discovered he had a previously unknown half-sister.
Fuelled with a possible location and a name, we set out to contact Nick’s half-sister. Fortunately her first names hadn’t changed after her adoption (although she had married) and we managed to track her down, writing a letter to test the waters first. On speaking to her, just the day after our letter arrived, she explained that she was her mother’s only child and she was inquisitive as to why we were researching Nora and her family. I delicately broke the news that she had an older half-brother. She was over the moon and we arranged that she would call Nick the following day. Her message to him was that the news was “like winning the lottery, only better”. Nick and his half-sister met just two days later and are now in regular contact with one another.
If it wasn’t for that BNI meeting and a chance to network and share our businesses with each other, Nick may still be searching. During my 60 seconds that day at Cook Chapter, I mentioned that I had a 100% crack rate. Nick was sure that his case would ruin my streak– it’s fair to say he’s very happy that I succeeded. BNI has helped my business tremendously, not only that, it has helped me to help others and isn’t that what BNI is all about?
Family Wise Ltd
BNI Parade, Avon & Monmouth