You have many options at your disposal to track down a lost family member. People search sites, workplace records, social media, public records, specialized social networks, college records, in-person searches, and alumni records are just some examples of places to look.
Don’t miss using social media titans such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as your sources. In addition, you should also try your luck with smaller social networks. On Facebook, it’s possible to track almost anyone down, even if their profile is private or they don’t have one at all. Your long-lost family member is likely to have at least one friend or acquaintance with a profile, and some of your other relatives are likely to be on Facebook. You can also search the person’s former college, high school, or hometown. You’ll find groups from high school or another institution through which you might be able to reconnect with your lost family member.
There are niche networking sites for all kinds of groups beyond friends and relatives. You can check sites for specific occupations. Sites such as BatchMates have users from across the globe. You can search by their name, hometown, or business. It’s possible to exchange personalized messages.
Ask Mutual Friends
Try to remember any mutual friends you had and get in touch with them. If you happened to work in the same company or had the same job as your family member, you could talk to your former coworkers to find more information. In addition, you may have played the same sport or gone to the same church or school – there are many possibilities to examine.
Ask Other Relatives
Ask any family members you can think of, even if you last saw them when you were a child. In particular, their parents’ jobs or other details can prove exceptionally useful. Often, we find a lot more information than we believed we would as we start tracing our family. You might find an aunt, cousin, or uncle you had no clue you had. To fill in the gaps, get in touch with your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
When it comes to checking public records, the approaches are endless. This is one of the most effective ways to search because you don’t need more than a name and place of birth. A search of their name and hometown in the public records system will yield information about their marriages, name changes, divorces, and criminal records.
A good way to access such records is through the National Center for Health Statistics, the primary agency for health statistics in the country. You can also try the statistics agency in your area.
Finally (and unfortunately), you might also find their death certificate. If you do, it will hopefully bring you closure. On that note, you can use sites like Tributes or Family Search to check for an obituary.
Fraternities and Sororities
Was this person a member of a fraternity or sorority back in college? Ask the organization for details or register at their website and search the database yourself.
Job or University Records
If you have worked at the same place, you can get in touch with the company or organization. Most workplaces won’t give out personal information, but it’s still worth a shot. You might find someone who knows more about your family member’s whereabouts.
If you went to college together, you can call the college or check the alumni directory. Colleges sometimes sell directories containing information about former students. Many of them also keep current details on alumni.