How to trace a lost relative

Updated March 23, 2017

After you lose touch with loved ones, it can often be difficult to find them, let alone rekindle a relationship. Recent technological advances, however, make it a lot easier to locate someone you lost long ago. Using social networking tools, as well as traditional investigatory options, makes it fully possible to find a lost relative.

Contact other relatives that may have more information than you do about your lost loved one's whereabouts. You could be surprised at some of the information they may be able to provide. They may even have contact information that can be incredibly useful.

Try searching for your family members on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. In an age when most people are members of at least one of these websites, it is likely for you to find them there. If so, most social networking sites will even provide an easy way for you to send them a message with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Visit your local library and scour phone books of areas your relative might live, beginning with the directory that matches with their last known address. You can also look up former neighbours and contact them to see if they possess any helpful information.

Many online sites specialise in finding lost relatives, such as and There are several, with varying rates of success, so it may be beneficial to try more than one.

Consider hiring a private investigator. This is expensive, but they are professionals and have a much higher success rate than online services. If it is crucial or extremely important to you to contact this person, this is probably the best option.


Search for your family members name on search engines. You just might get lucky.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Telephone
  • Phone book
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