Resources You Can Use To Find Lost Family Members

If you’re looking for a lost loved one or family member, researching your lineage is a great first step. Moreover, you can talk to your family members, institutions, or adoptive parents if you were adopted. Finding your adoption record might also help. Finally, using ancestry trees and looking through online directories can also help you track down the relevant information. Along with the online options that we outline in this article, don’t forget that there are tracing agents available for hire if you run into a wall in your online search.

People Finders 

People search sites can reveal previously unknown family lines. A background check service can get you far, as long as you run the right search. Sometimes, using the person’s full name and place of birth will reveal additional information, helping you get further in your search so that eventually, you will reach the right person.  

Genealogy Search Sites 

Family Search, Ancestry, and other online genealogy services are great resources for finding a lost family member. You can begin by typing in any information you already know about the person into the search bar on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and other popular search engines. This list of people search engines can help, too. Don’t give up until you find something useful to go on. It will be hard, but don’t give in to frustration and exhaustion. Nobody said detective work was easy! If you get too tired, give it a brief rest, but then pick up the search again. You never know what awaits, even if the trail has seemingly gone cold. 

woman holding a picture of an elderly lady

Social Networks 

Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks help track people down based on their name, place of birth, workplace, current address/location, or through their friends or relatives. On these networking platforms, you can also look for alumni groups if you know where your lost family member went to college. If you remember what high school they went to, you can also look for information about graduates on their site. 

Search Public Records

To search public records for more details, you don’t need more than the person’s name. In the process, you’ll get at least some extra information, and the more information you have, the more you’ll discover. You might get their current location if you know where they were born since the hospital might have the relevant records. You can also look elsewhere for name changes, marriages, divorces, or their criminal record. Your state and the national health statistics service can provide access to public information.

The Library

Don’t overlook the local library as a potential resource. Libraries are not only one of the few places left where we’re not expected to spend any money, but also a rich source of potentially helpful data. Some offer free access to genealogy websites, which are usually available online. There is a lot of free information on the platform “Access Genealogy” about doing research on one’s family tree in the US. 


older black man holding a phone and a cup of coffee

This national project has useful links to county and state databases, which provide access to map source listings, county and state histories, and online genealogy books among other resources.   

National Archives

The National Archives contain census records, military records, naturalization records, and public land transfer records. There might be something relevant to your lost family member. All of these documents are also available on the Internet. 

Chronicling America

One last resource you can exhaust is Chronicling America. This government-sponsored project gives access to digitized newspaper pages published in the last three centuries and might have a mention of your family member. 

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