How to find lost relatives online is an interesting topic. We’ll discuss it in full here. You have two clear options to find a lost relative online.
My name is David Oates, I am the Head Researcher at Relative Connections, you can view my LinkedIn by clicking here. I am also the director of the adoption support agency which is regulated by Ofsted. I am a highly regarded and experienced family tracer and intermediary. I have spoken about finding long lost family on BBC Radio 5 and was part of the featured team on BBC1’s Family Finders TV series
The first is you want to find them through your own online research. This could be through online searches such as a census search or a historical records search.
The second way is that you are looking for a service to help you find a relative. A team to carry out your search and find you lost relative for you.
In this article we will discuss both methods.
We’ll begin with carrying out your own research to find lost relatives online.
You should consider time vs money. You will have to order documents and if you are in experienced this could be expensive if you order the wrong ones for example. Also, if you are not sure what to do then it can take hours of your time. That’s not to say that many people get a real buzz from carrying out their own research, so if that is you, read on.
You should also consider what you intend to do once you have found your relative. If you have found them online then the obvious thing to do is contact them via wherever they are online. Systems like Facebook and Twitter allow you to contact people. We would recommend keeping any messages short and simple.
If you do online research and find your relative’s actual address, we advise you to use an intermediary to contact them. Do not knock on their door. This is too intrusive, and you may not get the reaction you are hoping for. Although it might appear that we are trying to put you off carrying out your own tracing and contacting of relatives we are not. We just want you to understand the various outcomes that can happen when you are not experienced. We have seen examples of the wrong people being located, door knocking going wrong and contact being made with relatives at completely inappropriate times.
To do the job correctly it can be more cost-effective to use an expert tracing agency. If the outcome of your research is really important to you it can be even more important to do it right in the first place. Many relatives we contact express that it is our way of contacting them that makes them feel supported and able to move forward to contact. As the saying goes you only get one chance to make a first impression.
It’s also important that you feel emotionally supported. Looking for relatives you have lost touch with can feel overwhelming. You must have a connection to them to want to find them in the first place.
There are examples in my own life where I have found out information about a long-deceased relative and felt powerful emotions. So, if you are looking for a close relative online then that emotion can really affect you. Our team includes counsellors and support workers who can emotionally prepare you for all outcomes.
It makes sense that if you are looking for a relative online you use the best company to do the work.
So, here’s what to look for.
Tracing in the UK is not well-regulated so be careful.
Find a team that is UK based and easy to contact. What happens when you phone them? Do they answer their phones for example? When you are a few weeks into a search and you need an update or want to speak to the people who are doing this work for you, it’s important they are contactable.
Find the best researchers. We have an amazing in-house team of researchers. What makes them unique is their ability to access the correct information from the correct source. They can also call on an army of external researchers who can support them if something really specific happens on a search. Here are some examples.
- Specialist Historical Researchers who can look at old records and information
- Country-specific researchers. Currently, we are working to locate lost relatives in Iran and Gambia. We have also successfully located relatives in Libya and the South China Sea.
- Will and Probate research. We can find lot through this source of information. It is a key tool if you want to know how to find lost relatives online.
- Census search. Again, something we use on most searches when we are looking for relatives.
- DNA researchers. We have one of the best in the business at DNA research. It’s a great way for finding specific lost relatives.
What separates us from other tracing agencies is our Intermediary service. We have a clear process that allows us to support everyone, protect and safeguard all parties and get some amazing results for our clients.
So really it is up to you to decide if you want a service to find a relative online. If you do think about the problems and pitfalls and ensure you do your best to avoid them. Or a service where you will pay good money to access a team of people that can help and support you to find and contact your relative.
Think about the possible outcomes of your research. Not just in terms of good outcomes but also if your relative has passed away or doesn’t want contact. It is good to think about these situations and make sure you can deal with them.
Lastly, we care about you. If you need any help or support, please do get in touch.
Thank you for reading our article on how to find lost relatives online.