08 February 2009

Madoff's list: Names online

Looking for missing relatives?

Access the names of more than 13,000 people who lost money in the tragic Madoff Ponzi scheme through a New York Times link. Caveat: Some on the list say they are there in error and some, according to the link, are the lawyers, accountants, foundation trustees and agents who set up the accounts on behalf of the actual investors.

That said, however, for a genealogist, the list is quite frustrating as the names are alphabetized by FIRST NAME.

Who does that? There must be a reason as to why the alphabetization was done this way, but the link provides no information. I wonder why standard alphabetizing guidelines were not used, such as the simple "last name first."

The method utilized is okay for business listings (unless it begins with "The"), but certainly not for individuals.

There are 679 pages displaying only 20 names per page. So, if you've got the sitzfleisch (Yiddish, ability to sit for a long time) - and a first name - the link is here.


  1. I would call Madoff's alleged actions criminal, not tragic. The Hindenburg crash was tragic. The Rwanda genocide was tragic.

  2. David, of course I agree. It was tragic for the people who got hurt, but Madoff's alleged actions were certainly criminal. I used tragic to describe the people who were hurt. Sorry if it was misconstrued.

  3. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Schelly, I found a direct link for the list here (add h t t p : / / to the front of the URL)


    This is a 4.7 MB PDF file (in other words, pretty large and not easy to read.)

    I've extracted the names into a 1 MB plain text file, which I could email to you if you'd like to post it. (I could try to format it as HTML -- that would be just a bit trickier.)

  4. I did look at the large PDF file which, of course, is also alphabetized by first name. For those who are interested, however, the PDF offers details which the NY Times link does not.

  5. Hi,

    The Adobe PDF file is worth the download. If is fully search ready so you should be able to put in all or part of a last name or even street address and hit search to start skimming for relatives of interest.

    Warning... I bet that most people on this list are not having a good year much less day. So be careful how you approach them if you decide to make contact. AND don't expect them to pay for their own DNA testing.;-)


  6. Brooke Schreier Ganz1:44 PM

    Schelly, if you have the full (not free) version of Adobe Acrobat 8, you can open up the file in that program and do a search on last names (or cities, or whatever). It's waaaaay quicker than trying to eyeball the list!

  7. Thanks for the link. Although the list is by first name, if you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, you can use "CTRL F" to search based on last name.

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  8. Anonymous2:08 PM

    Did you notice that off to the right there's a SEARCH function?
    It seems to work pretty well. I tried "Cohen" as a likely name and got lots of listings.

    Joy Weaver

  9. Thanks for writing, Rebekah. Several readers have commented on the Adobe PDF file - everyone tested it out before I could do it myself. I certainly agree with your second paragraph and hope that everyone will be considerate.

  10. Brooke, you are right! Not so much sitzfleisch required! I'm happy that several readers took an interest in the file and contributed their tips and information.

  11. A good tip for using Mozilla Firefox and CTRL F.

  12. Hi, Joy. The search tool wasn't working at all when I first accessed the NYT link. It could have been an overload situation when the link first went up.