Everybody has a story, and some lives are too intriguing to forget. When it comes to the subject of looking up long-lost relatives, sometimes the searching is more revealing than the finding. The best we can give here is a few pointers, with the understanding that there is never a “one size fits all” solution.
That is the reason why we offer you several different tips on how to find a long lost relative. The first thing that comes to mind is to look for them online, but does that spans the results we want? Is it the best tactic? Keep on reading to find out
Start with your known family
You should start by talking to everyone in your family for clues to the missing person’s past. If you can find a senior member of the family with some memory of family history and some photo albums to browse through, you might just strike it lucky. Be sure, or as sure as you can be, about the person’s real name and aliases, and last known address.
The more information you can accumulate, the better. Even small and insignificant clues can become important later. Try to find out their chosen profession, places of employment, whether they spoke of their future plans such as where they’d like to move, even their hobbies and interests can lead you in the right direction. But also keep in mind that people change, so be prepared for career shifts or changes of lifestyle along the course of the investigation.
In addition, you should also check out with mutual friends, or their friends. Your family can probably tell who was he/she spending time with and you might get useful information if you can find them. It is known that people tend to tell some things to their friends, which they keep away from family circles. There is a possibility that you will keep finding new details, but that circle may end eventually. Either way, it is definitely worth a shot.
The obvious thing to do from here is a simple Google or check ancestry sites. Either of those might lead to false leads due to too common a name, or no results because your family at large doesn’t tend to make a visible footprint online. It does happen.
The most helpful step after this is to check an online people search, such as CheckPeople.com. Even though sites like these are geared more towards background checks, they are still an excellent investigative resource. One helpful feature to look out for here is associated persons. Background check sites may find spouses or close relatives of the person you’re looking for, in which case you might have somebody else to reach out to if the original person evades your search.
Do be prepared for what you might find. Not everybody has a happy life story, and background checks can also uncover criminal history and incarceration – a criminal lifestyle is, after all, a frequent reason for people to drop out of sight. There even might be a deceased record, a grim result of your search, but a resolution no less.
And let’s not forget to take a glimpse at social media. You never know what you might find there as well – a photo posted by someone with the person you are looking for on it, an interesting post, etc.
What to do after you find your missing person
Keep in mind that not everybody even wants to be found. In cases where a spat might have separated people, or someone left behind a past they’d rather pretend never happened, or a person who’s avoiding certain other relatives in the family tree, a long-lost relative suddenly popping into their life might be an intrusion.
In the case of adopted children, there’s a definite divide between those who are eager to reunite with their lost parents and those who are adamant about sticking with their new family for various reasons. The same applies to people who became estranged from parents who didn’t approve of their lifestyle, divorces that terminated on a less-than-friendly basis, and other inconvenient circumstances.
In cases where you find a long lost relative, go ahead and reach out to them, explain your search and your motives, and then leave the ball in their court with your contact information. You have at least done your part, and now it’s up to them to continue. As long as you don’t present a disruption, they can feel comfortable taking things up with you at their leisure.
Last but not least, when searching for people make sure you are not a stalker. Approach them when you find them, and state what your reasons and intentions are. Good luck!