How to Find Relatives Alive & Dead

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Whether you're looking for your biological father, seeking your great-grandmother's grave site or searching for your favorite cousin from childhood, finding long lost relatives often requires skillful detective work. Luckily, finding people in the 21st century is much easier than it used to be. With online people and address searches, genealogical databases and rapid-fire email capabilities, the ability to locate a relative, alive or dead, is within your reach.

  • Access an online grave location finder to locate burial sites of relatives who are no longer living. Enter information such as first and last names and the birth and death years and click "search." Not all information is required, but you'll narrow your results and make it easier to zoom in on the correct person with the more data you have.

  • Contact living relatives to locate missing ones. While your mom may not know where your cousin Mike lives nowadays, your Aunt Jeannie, who keeps in touch with everyone, may. Pick up the telephone and call the relatives you are in contact with to locate those with whom you're not.

  • Use a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Ask to perform a search for your relative by name. This often works well for unusual names, but common names may present a problem. Add additional search words to narrow down results containing common names. For example, if your relative is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Eagles or other organizations, add that to your search to narrow your results and find a lead.

  • Post a notice on a missing family member location website. Many sites exist to help people who've lost touch reconnect. Draft a simple add stating the name of the person you're seeking and her last known location.

  • Access records on genealogical research websites. Search birth, death, marriage and public records information on free and pay sites. Even if you don't find the particular relative you're seeking, you may find his daughter, sister, mother or other contact that can put you in touch with him.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be willing to utilize a number of search methods to find that nugget of information that will put you on the right track.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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