If you have decided to search for a lost relative, it is a good idea to start with a people search site. Tools such as YoName, Zabasearch, and Pipl comb blogs, social media, and other sites that might contain a mention of your loved one. You can use these tools to help you find people online today.
Before You Start
Before taking your efforts to the Internet, you will first need to exhaust all the resources available offline. Information such as family origins and maiden names can take years to retrieve from a public record search. In contrast, living relatives’ accounts are the richest source of family lore.
Make a list of family members to contact. While each family member can provide potentially valuable information, it can be helpful to focus on older family members. You will need as many resources and family records from them as possible. Moreover, you should also keep expanding your list and adding names to your family tree.
Be inquisitive, even if you need to ask personal questions. You can ask open-ended questions, such as whether there’s someone else or other people you can talk to, what else they can tell you about your lost relative, and more.
Missing Persons Sites
There are some sites for missing persons you can register on, such as NAMUS. This US government-funded site allows the general public and law enforcement to add and track cases.
Red Cross and Red Crescent
These organizations can help you get in touch with lost relatives. They have the solid backing of almost 200 national societies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent International Federation, and the International Red Cross Committee. They help people find relatives they’ve lost contact with as a result of migration, a natural disaster, or civil strife.
Their international network can help to connect relatives who were separated by conflict or humanitarian crises. Their staff can provide moral support, as well as help with administrative hurdles, or refer you to another organization that could offer their support.
Genealogy search engines are a useful resource to search for lost relatives. One example is MyHeritage, which has helped many people locate long-lost relatives. It is a powerful, globally accessible tool if you are trying to find a lost relative for free. You can search through almost 1,500 genealogy databases at the same time, using one and the same interface.
A search of records of trade organizations in your area can be useful. You can look through the respective member databases if you remember what your lost or missing relative did for a living. This approach can help you find where they last worked or, in the best case, the city where they currently work and the organization they work for.
Admittedly, social networking sites are a very rich source of information and one you might have considered. You can try searching for variations of your family member’s name, nicknames, and first and middle name(s) on popular social media like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
If you’re still not having any luck, you can consider searching the database of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Their website is easy to navigate with a helpful tool to locate inmates. It allows you to look for people incarcerated in prisons nationwide using their names as a search term.