How to Find a Lost Brother

by Trevis Thirdgill

Finding a long lost brother may seem like a daunting task in a world filled with billions of people. But you never know, you could get lucky and run into him just out of pure coincidence. Oftentimes, however, finding a lost relative requires a more deliberate approach. It may take some time but if you stay diligent, you may eventually be able to track him down.

Talk to your family first about where your lost brother might be and get as much information as you can from them. It seems obvious but many people often overlook this first step. Begin with your immediate family and the people you know best, then proceed through the rest of your family until you have sufficient information on where your long lost brother is most likely to be. Ask questions like: When and where did you last see him? What does he do for a living? Do you have any of his contact information or, if not, can you point me in the direction of someone who might? Lastly, take notes on the answers they give you and follow the trail. If the trail is leading you to friends or even to complete strangers, follow it, and get as much information as you can until you track down your brother.

Check online and offline people directories. Offline directories include things like school records, newspaper periodicals, and work records. To get the most out of your search through offline directories, check any last known places for your brother. When it comes to looking for people through online directories, use a search engine. Chances are the person you are looking for has a social networking profile, or has been mentioned in at least one online source, which could lead you directly to him. There are many free and paid online People finder resources out there that allow you to run a more specific search for a particular person (see References).

Hire a licensed private investigator. Private investigators have access to professional resources that may help speed up your search. The easiest way to find certifiably licensed private investigators in your area is through the Better Business Bureau or online legal websites (see References). Because hiring a private investigator is so expensive, it is usually the last resort in finding a lost relative, but if all else fails this could be your best option.


  • Check the Social Security Death Index to make sure the person you are looking for is still alive.
  • If you don't know your brother's name or it is simply too common, you can narrow your search by using other forms of identification like general location or age.


  • Keep in mind the person you're looking for may not actually want you or anybody else to find him. If that is the case, you and your private investigator should honor his choice.

About the Author

Trevis Thirdgill has been writing professionally since 2010. He contributes to eHow, Answerbag and LIVESTRONG.COM Lifestyle, covering technology, culture and science topics. Thirdgill holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Oregon.

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