There are all kinds of reasons to want to track down a long-lost relative. You might have lost touch after an argument or want to find a sibling you were separated from at birth. The internet has made reconnecting with long-lost loved ones, friends, or family easier than ever.
It can be hard to know how to go about it if you’ve never looked someone up on the internet before, though.
Many online resources can help; all you need is to know more about them. If you’re not sure where to start, read on to find out.
Before you take your efforts to the internet, try to remember or find out as much as possible about your long-lost relative. Think about where they went to school, what they did for a living, or any hobbies or interests. The more information you have about your long-lost relative, the easier they will be to find.
Use a Screening Service
Screening services, also known as background check services, can help find anyone as long as you’ve gathered a sufficient number of details. These websites search company sites, social media, blogs, and other platforms that might contain a mention of your long-lost relative.
Make sure you’re searching for the right spelling, but also use spelling variations of their name. Add their place of birth or where they last lived, if you know.
Armed with all of this information, your odds of finding them through a background check service improve.
Search Social Media
Part of your people lookup online should include the main social networks. Again, use spelling variations of your relative’s name as well as any nicknames. Social media provide one of the best ways to search online for free.
When you look them up on Facebook, search their state and city as well. If their name is common, this approach will help narrow down results – if their profile has these details, of course.
If you find a profile you suspect might be theirs, send them a direct message, not a friend request. In the message, state who you are and why you’re writing to them.
If you know their last job, LinkedIn is also worth a shot. The professional social network can be a source of highly valuable information. The very least you’ll accomplish is find a work-related connection.
Family Links Network
If you and your relative separated because of forced migration, war, a natural disaster, or another act of God, you could turn to the Family Links Network. It helps people in these situations, operating with the support of the International Red Cross. The employees are particularly attentive to members of vulnerable groups, such as elderly or disabled persons.
To start your search with Family Links, you need to fill out a trace request form, which should contain as many details about your relative as possible and your contact details.
Family Links works by matching the details in your form with other data collected, for example, data shared by other state agencies. This data can include information about injured or deceased individuals.
This public record authority is a major publisher of sites and references used to find records nationwide. Their electronic entries and books include access to data from tens of thousands of state agencies and over 3,000 public record processors, through which you can search for publicly available data. It’s the most accurate and reliable source for state websites you can use.
The reason you have to track down a family member determines how to prepare for the reunion. For example, children who were adopted might have specific concerns to address when they want to reunite with their biological family. They might be looking for a connection or simply be curious about their origins. They might need a medical history or have other practical concerns.
The question remains whether your long-lost relative will reciprocate your joy at having found them. It’s always a good idea to make an action plan for the first face-to-face meeting.
Make sure you know something about their hobbies, interests, etc. This will help you come up with topics of conversation to fill awkward silences.
By reuniting with a long-lost relative, you can connect with an important person and gain a deeper understanding of your family history. It can give you a chance to heal wounds if you have been estranged. There might be intense emotions involved, which can be hard to navigate. It could also be the start of a wonderful relationship if you’re kind and respectful of each other.