Find Lost Relatives: Tips for Looking Up Family Members Who Have Passed
Are you looking to find out more about your family than you can get from a genetics test? Learning about your loved ones can be exciting and fun but looking up family members who are lost or have passed can begin to get frustrating if you’ve hit a wall.
If you suspect that your loved one is deceased but aren’t sure, you can check the Social Security Death Index to see if they are listed. If your journey hits snags along the way, try taking a different path in your search.
Talk To Other Family Members
If they are available to you, family members and even close friends are great resources. Ask questions that will help you obtain historical records like full names including middle names and nicknames, date of birth or even marriage dates. Even listening to stories about your family members can give you insight into who they were and help you find more information about them.
Say you find an old friend of your grandfathers and he tells you a story about how they used to be in the army, you can use this information to check military records to find out more about where he was stationed or even find old girlfriends that you can see next for more information and stories. As you continue your quest for information and you find more connections to your loved ones, be sure to get their address or phone numbers to see what they can tell you. Phone records and even email addresses can also be found using searches on the Internet.
Check Historical Records
Historical records aren’t always on the Internet. Libraries are good resources for finding archived newspapers. The newspaper is where people used to announce engagements, births, and marriages before there was social media.
Obituaries are almost always listed in the newspapers, especially those predating the Internet. Obituaries are a good resource for learning the names of relatives, coworkers, and even friends of your loved ones. Another good resource is the census. Everyone is expected to fill out a census form and the census has been around since the 1700s and is legally mandated. The census contains information about each person in the dwelling and is taken every ten years.
Peruse The Internet
Internet searches are a great way to find information on people who are living as well as deceased. Internet searches can pull up names, dates of birth, and even voting records. Most public information, including court documents, can be found on online databases. It is easier to use a paid-for search engine to find people than to search various databases.
If your loved one lived in only one area their whole lives then your search is easy but if your loved one moved around to different states it can be very time consuming to look through records from each county across the United States.
If at first, you don’t succeed, keep trying. Put your research on a whiteboard and draw connections and try and get a new insight into where to start again. Once you’ve started to collect your information, catalog it accordingly. Information can tell a story but only once it is put together in chronological order.
Use legal resources to find wills and the Internet to look up public information. Don’t be shy to ask friends and loved ones of your relatives for pictures and scrapbooks to give you more insight into their personalities. Your relatives are apart of you whether or not you met them, indulge your curiosity and look into finding out all you can about their likes, dreams, and desires.