How to find a long-lost family member

It can feel devastating if you are unable to find a long-lost family member. Families can get separated for a multitude of reasons, including divorce, relocation, death and adoption. There are several online and offline resources that can aid your search for long-lost relatives. Try some of free methods available to locate family members before moving on to paid tools.

Enter the long-lost family member's name in a search engine.To limit results, place quotes around the entire name. You may stumble across web pages that can lead you to the family member's location. Some popular search terms you can use to find websites that help you locate long-lost family members include "find family relatives," "looking long lost family member" and "family search website."

Conduct a records search online. People-search websites can track down your family members by their last name, social security number, e-mail address or phone number. For example, try the US Search site. It only charges you if it's able to track down the person you are looking for.

Browse lost family member notice boards. Type in the last name of the person you are looking for on the site If she is looking for you as well, you'll be able to connect with her through the forum.

If you suspect that the family member you are looking for might be deceased, look through the Social Security Death Index. Run their name through this engine to receive his date of birth, death date and last residence.

If you're searching for a lost relative that was adopted away from your family, place your name on a reunion registry. For example, allows you to register adoption records to reunite with a long-lost family member. Consider contacting an adoption search assistant, such as those available from the Volunteer Search Network.


If all else fails, procure the services of a private investigator in order to track down your long-lost relative.

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About the Author

Heather Topham Wood is a seasoned writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, Gadgetell, Feel Rich and Step in Style. Heather is a published novelist with six Amazon bestsellers and a contract through Crescent Moon Press. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from TCNJ.