SOUTHAMPTON residents could unknowingly be sat on a ‘gold mine’, new research has revealed.

As the UK continues to recover from a Covid-19-induced recession, probate genealogy firm Anglia Research has produced an index of cities and borough where most people have died intestate, and no rightful heir has been found.

Using the Bona Vacantia list, Latin for unclaimed goods list, Anglia Research found 74 unclaimed estates in the third quarter of 2020, up from 71.

Southampton ranked 13th in the UK for unclaimed states, with Birmingham topping the list with 223 unclaimed estates.

More than half of the top fifteen locations are not in London, with Bradford and Leicester, the first city in the UK to go into a local lockdown, both having 96 and 89 unclaimed estates, respectively.

Anglia Research also used the Bona Vacantia list to determine the most popular last names shared by those who died without a will.

There are currently 149 people with the last name Smith who died without a will, heralding a potential inheritance for those who share the most common name in Britain.

The other top spots are taken by those with the last name Jones, coming in second place at 95, and Taylor, which comes third at 65.

Commenting on the Unclaimed Estates Index, Philip Turvey, executive director at Anglia Research, said: “As the country continues to return to normal post-lockdown, it’s unsurprising to see the number of unclaimed estates decreasing across the UK.

However, our Unclaimed Estates Index shows that the volume of unclaimed estates in Birmingham, Camden, and Leeds is still staggeringly high.

“With daily reports warning of a deep, long recession, I urge anyone living in these cities and boroughs to investigate their family tree and see if they are a rightful beneficiary from one of the hundreds of estates.

With this in mind, if you get a phone call from someone saying they’re an heir hunter, don’t turn them away – you might be due a fortune.”