How to Find Relatives Alive & Dead

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Finding lost relatives can sometimes require some skillful detective work, whether it's searching for your biological father, seeking out your great grandmother's grave site or getting in touch with your favorite cousin from childhood. Fortunately, technology has provided us with convenient ways to get a hold of those people and places, and thanks to online people searches and genealogical databases, your search could be nearly complete.

Using a Grave Location Finder

Access an online grave location finder to locate burial sites of relatives who are no longer living. Enter information such as first and last names and the birth and death years and click "search." Not all information is required, but you'll narrow your results and make it easier to zoom in on the correct person with the more data you have.

Find People With People

Contact living relatives to locate missing ones. While your mom may not know where your cousin Mike lives nowadays, your Aunt Jeannie, who keeps in touch with everyone, may. Pick up the telephone and call the relatives you are in contact with to locate those with whom you're not.

Google It

Use an online search engine to perform a search for your relative by name. This often works well for unusual names, but common names may present a problem. Add additional search words to narrow down results containing common names. For example, if your relative is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Eagles or other organizations, add that to your search to narrow your results and find a lead.

Get Connected

One of the best ways to find anyone these days is via social media. Run a search on Facebook, which also allows you to reverse search for people's names using what you know about where they live, work and went to school, as well as the mutual friends you might have. You can perform similar searches on LinkedIn, as well, if you know what your missing relative does for a living.

Put the Word Out

Post a notice on a missing family member location website. Many sites exist to help people who've lost touch reconnect. Draft a simple add stating the name of the person you're seeking and her last known location.

Do Your Research

Access records on genealogical research websites. Search birth, death, marriage and public records information on free and pay sites. Even if you don't find the particular relative you're seeking, you may find his daughter, sister, mother or other contact that can put you in touch with him.