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How to Find a Long Lost Family Member

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Doing research into descendancy is a good way to begin if you’re looking for a lost loved one or relative. This involves tracing an ancestor’s descendants. It is a complicated but effective process if you want to find a family member.

You can use online directories, obituaries, and ancestry trees in the process of a people lookup online. It can show family lines you didn’t know about before. A screening service can prove crucial in this process.

Get in touch with living relatives

Even the seemingly irrelevant information from your relatives can help you make progress. As a last resort, you can hire a professional researcher to find more information. You can find biological relatives by taking a DNA test as well. This will help if your relative also took one and the database of the service gives you a match. You’ll need to have used the same DNA testing service for this to happen. Admittedly, the likelihood is low.

You shouldn’t lose hope notwithstanding this fact. Another family member might have taken the test. Companies that offer DNA testing have reunited parents and children as well as siblings.

Search the house

You have probably already searched your house or apartment, but it’s possible that you missed something. Everyone who’s researching their family tree should search as carefully as possible. Pay close attention to the cellar, attic, and drawers where photos, documents, and personal letters might be stored. Objects and items with dates are especially helpful. You need to look for postcards, old report cards, military records, diplomas, pictures, and diaries.

Search your biological relatives’ or adoptive parents’ homes if you can. If you find something valuable, ask the owner to take a picture of it if they won’t give you the actual item.

Collect info

Gathering as much information as you can about the relative is a crucial step. Write down everything you can recall about them, like a former employer, interests, or their place and date of birth. Even information about hobbies can help.

Use genealogy sites

Online genealogy services like Family Search and Ancestry can help you find a long-lost family member or even show you had one you previously didn’t know about. Family Search, the self-proclaimed “biggest genealogy service in the world,” is a very valuable resource. It doesn’t cost anything to register and you have billions of records to search. You can also start a family tree on the site.

Smaller search engines

Yahoo, Bing, and other small search engines should be utilized. Of course, Google can help improve your prospects. Type in anything you can remember about the lost family member, like their age, city, state, or what they did for a living. You’ll find a helpful list of the best people search engines on the University of Buffalo’s website. 

It can be tiring, even frustrating, to spend a long time doing such searches but don’t give up. If you start to feel exhausted, give it a break and try again several days later.

Social networks

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help you find someone based on information like where they went to school, their hometown, their friends or acquaintances, or a former workplace. There are Facebook groups of people from schools, colleges, churches, etc.

Public records

To do a public record search, all you need is the search target’s name. You’ll get some more details in the process. You can look for certificates of name change, marriage, divorce, or death and criminal records.

The main service for health stats in the US is the National Center for Health Statistics, which can be your go-to destination to access public records. Your state’s service for health statistics might dispose of such records.

Visit the local library

Your local library will provide free access to platforms related to genealogy as long as you have a card. You can get access to Ancestry Library Edition, a service by, through the public library in Boca Raton. It’s not necessary to go there. Just give them a call and inquire about the genealogy research services available. You might be able to access them online.

Niche sites

There are networking sites for relatives, businesspersons, and other groups, which you can search using the person’s name, place of birth, current location, company, and more. You can send other users free messages.

Chronicling America

Finally, this state-sponsored platform provides access to digitized pages of newspapers published between 1777 and 1963. You can go back in time and learn about your ancestors centuries ago. This might not be relevant to your current search, but it will be fascinating. It can also help locate living relatives and even family you didn’t know about.  


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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