Families get separated for many reasons: divorce, disagreement, and adoption are common reasons that families lose touch with one another. Fortunately there are many services and websites that can help find lost love ones. Make sure to utilize free search methods before paying a membership fee for access to a private database on a search website.
Ask immediate family members for any information that they might know about the individual who you are searching for. Write down all these clues and keep them in a safe place where you can easily refer back to them throughout your search.
Search for phone numbers on a site like infobel.com, which has a large database of listed numbers worldwide. You can search for an individual’s number on this site by using different resources, such as the White Pages or official public records. Remember that not all telephone numbers are listed, since it is the personal choice of the individual whether or not to have an unlisted number.
Sign up with a website like Ameridex Information Systems, with which, for a small fee, you can have access to an extensive database of over 500 million records. Of those individuals, 380 million include a birth date that was extracted from public records. A phone number database is also available to members, which provides both residential and business listed numbers and is updated daily.
Register with a service like the International Soundex Reunion Registry, which is a nonprofit organization that reunites family members together if both parties give their mutual consent. If a match is not immediately found, your file will remain in the Reunion Registry until one comes up or you wish to take your information off the site. There is no cost for this service but you must mail in the registry form after downloading and printing it.
Hire a private investigator to trace your long-lost relatives. Private investigators have access to search tools and information that are not available to the public and are professionals in the area of locating people. Shop around for an investigator you feel comfortable hiring. Some work on a no find-no fee basis, so if the investigator cannot locate your relative, there will be no charge.
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- Be aware of scams when paying a website for their services. Ask for the total fee upfront so there are no hidden costs that could pop up later.
Julia Kitlinski-Hong graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston, majoring in English. She is a freelance writer and blogger, and is currently writing as a social media editor for iTourNow, a travel media website. If she could be anywhere, she would be traveling abroad, processing everything through writing.