How to Find a Relative in South Africa

by Janos Gal

Looking for a lost relative may become a daunting project if you do not know where to start looking. This is why many organizations, such as Ancestry24, specialize in reuniting lost family members for a fee. However, if you cannot afford to pay specialist organizations, you can search for lost relatives yourself. Finding a lost relative in South Africa may require a lot of time and money as you will have to contact many different people, but it is rewarding if you are successful.

Self Help Search

Call every person from the telephone directory whose surname is the same as the lost relative you are looking for. You may find hundreds of people with the same surname, but one of them may be the person you are looking for. When people answer the phone, explain who you are and what you are doing, and they may help you.

Look up your relative's name in the South African electoral roll. Everyone over the voting age is registered in it. You may need to travel to South Africa to do it, as electoral rolls are available in local libraries or town councils.

Contact the universities and colleges in the area where you think your relative lived. If you are unsure of where your relative lived or studied, contact all universities and colleges in South Africa detailing who you are and for whom you are searching.

Contact major trade unions and other large public and private organizations.

Contact religious organizations in South Africa, such as Catholic or Jewish organizations, and explain who you are looking for. Religious organizations often have the largest databases that contain even centuries-old information.

Go to the website. Register your details. It is a paid for service, so check how much it costs to look for a lost relative.

Type your lost relative's name in the search box at the top of the screen. Your search will give several different surname options on the next page. Choose the one you think is closest to your lost relative's surname.

Choose a payment package option. A detailed description shows what each package offers. Choose one that best suits your needs and follow the instructions.

Go to Bellemodel's website at

Register your details on the form. Note that you have to pay a deposit upfront and pay the rest of the fees when they find your relative.

Read the disclaimer at the bottom of the form before paying the deposit.

Items you will need

  • South African telephone directory

About the Author

Janos Gal has been writing since 2008. He wrote for the "Global Journalist" magazine in 2008 and for the "Estrella de Arica" daily in 2009. Gal has traveled extensively in Europe, South America and the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, honors, in journalism from Edinburgh Napier University.

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