Finding Lost Family
By David Oates. Head Researcher at Relative Connections and on BBC1’s Family Finders TV Series.
Here at Relative Connections we specialise in finding lost family for you. I thought I’d take some time to talk through how we do that so you can either use our service or try and find them yourself.
I’ll outline how we work and hopefully you’ll see the parallels of what you can do yourself.
When someone comes to us our finding lost family service some very special things start to happen. Firstly they have an initial consultation with one of my team. This part of the process is free, it lets us tell the potential customer what we can do and how we can do it. At that point we’ll also give a fixed price for the search too.
If you’re wanting to know more about our finding lost family service then please click here
If you choose to go ahead the next step is for us to look at the information you’ve provided and start to gather the facts about your family member. If you’re interested in finding lost family yourself then this should be your first steps too.
- Gather all the fact you have about your lost family.
- Write everything down in order
Once we’ve done the above we work out what information we don’t have that we will need. Let’s take a closer look at what information a usual customer initially has.
This is a made up example but should help you see what we can do…
Name of Person – “My father is called John Smith, I don’t know if he has a middle name”
Age – “About 73, he was 2 years older than my Mum”
Last Known Whereabouts – “He lived with my mum for 6 months in Chester, then we don’t know where he went, he left before I was born”
Any other information? – “We think he was born in Leeds”
That’s some pretty standard information for us to work with. Don’t worry if you know less and don’t celebrate too much if you know more.
So what can we do to find this lost family member?
Well there are two ways to approach this search. The first one is to start looking for a person called John Smith who is about 73. A quick search on our system returned over 200 matches across the UK. Another search says there are over 444 births for that name in 1944! Not overly helpful! But it is a really common name.
We could narrow this down by looking at potential matches in Chester and Leeds. Now the system that produced this data is not available to you online. The next best thing would be 192.com but as you get charged per search, you’d need deep pockets to do the searches.
But actually this isn’t where we would start this search anyway. It’s too broad. We need to narrow the search down. So we’d start with his birth. Let’s take a look at the births in Leeds for John Smith in 1944 – There are 4 matches.
Now if we order those 4 documents we almost certainly (although it would still need checking) have this customer’s father’s date of birth. And that’s very useful when it comes to finding lost family.
What next then?
Well we could now check the whereabouts of the 4 matches via their name and date of birth. We could then work forwards and see if any of the matches ever lived in Chester. We could look at marriage records and see if any got married in Chester. We can now work on these 4 matches and see if one looks like a good fit. From that point we can move towards a conclusion.
Some searches are not that easy. Sometimes our customers have even less information. We have located people when we only have a first name. We just have to take the information we are given and look for some piece of identifiable information that can make the search possible. Once we have that, we can push most searches forward.
Every search is the most important search we’ll ever do. We do all we can to help you get the answers you’re looking for.
Each search starts with a first step and that’s a quick chat with us. To find out more about what we do and how we do it, call now on 0113 436 36 04.
If you’d like to know more about our finding lost family service click here.