alter Chiles Cox, an early investor and
corporate entrepreneur, began his efforts at locating missing and unknown heirs through his association with various insurance company executives in
the mid-west. Those friendships, conveniently coinciding with a previously scheduled business trip to Philadelphia over a century ago, started it all. Their urgent need to find missing policy beneficiaries eventually evolved into the more complicated arena of probate research nationwide.
Before long, these efforts expanded even further--through the use of similar European contacts, into a flourishing trans-Atlantic enterprise. Because of the heavy volume of immigration following the American Civil War, many families from the Old World began losing contact with members on the move, while helplessly watching old connections slowly disintegrate. In time, the involved legal process of settling European estates often required lengthy genealogical inquiries throughout the United States and across Canada.
By 1913, Walter C. Cox formally incorporated his company in Chicago. At the same time, he began quietly assembling the resources necessary to a professional organization; including the beginnings of a research library that now numbers nearly sixty-thousand volumes, and contains many collectable rarities. Mr. Cox also began training a staff of dedicated researchers and other specialists across the country, who from the beginning created a solid reputation for professionalism.
Many who would start their own research companies during the 1930s and 1940s began their careers under the expert tutelage of Walter C. Cox.
Although maintaining a Chicago office for many decades, Mr. Cox, concerned for his health in those years following World War II, began making frequent trips to southern Arizona, to enjoy the invigorating dry desert climate. By the mid-1950s, soon after Walter's retirement, his son, Gordon L. Cox, moved the family and the executive offices of W.C. Cox and Company to Tucson. In its new environs, surrounded by such Southwest specialties as giant cactus and perpetual sunshine, the company occupies a 12,500 square foot Spanish Colonial-style complex, carefully designed to meet its need for a research center and corporate headquarters.
Gordon Cox, heir to the founder, died in 2007. In his memory the home
office is now designated the Gordon L. Cox Memorial Building. Lee Cox,
representing the family's third generation, continues as company president.