When you have drifted away from and lost touch with a relative, it can seem like a daunting task to reconnect with them. This is especially true if several years have gone by and the addresses and phone numbers you once used are now obsolete. Thankfully, with some legwork and determination, it is more possible than ever to conduct a free search, which will result in a reunion for you and your loved one.
- Skill level:
Use the last known information you have for the person as a starting point. If you have an address, you can contact the neighbours on either side of the address to see if they know what happened to your relative. Visit a school, church or workplace where people may have some insight on the person's new location. Even a vague bit of information, such as a state, will help in your search. That information narrows the search down to one state instead of 50.
Search through the white pages. There are free online white pages you can search, as well as physical copies of phone books at major libraries. The more common the person's name, the more difficult this will be, but you might just get lucky and find them without too much effort. Start calling.
Join and search through the members of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo. Also, because most people post a photo with their profile, it helps to identify the person.
Use the person's social security number if you have it. It is not a happy thought, but this number can help you search through the Social Security Death Index to find out if the person is deceased. This record database is a comprehensive listing of people who have passed away and had their death reported to the Social Security Administration. The SSA is not published for use by the public; however, several online companies provide a search of the database free of charge.
Tips and warnings
- The Social Security Administration Death Index was not automated before 1962, so people who died prior to that may not be recorded in the index.
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