How to Search for your Lost Family Members Online

Have you lost contact with a relative and urgently need to reconnect or know how to search for a long-lost family member? Factors responsible for a lost relative could be anything from distance, moving overseas, growing apart, misunderstanding, and busy schedule. Also, growing apart due to divorce or even the individualistic nature of the society can further widen the gap between closely knitted family members and loved ones.

Whatever the reason may be for a family member to just go off the radar, many people desire to be reconnected or reunited with one another.

Going about this might require you to first make a list with whatever information you know or have gathered about the person. This helps set the parameter for a successful search

12 ways to find long lost family members

1. Start with the internet

Searching for a lost relative has never been so easy, particularly with the availability of the internet with its opportunity that never ends, and other forms of technology.

To begin, you might want to do a background search on the person, particularly for the one you have never met before. Start by getting the full names of the person or a name change if any, date and place of birth, education history, and employment history.

Then proceed to get the current location or previous address of the person and make the connection where necessary. See if the person has a spouse and children as well. All this information is sure to make your search a lot easier.

The best search tool to use is BeenVerified: I know someone who found his mother after 42 years using this amazing site. So, start searching using the person’s first, and last name, and also, you can search through an email address, property, etc…

This is another good place to find a person If the search engines on the internet are not so helpful. Search for social media profiles. Some of the best social media platforms to consult include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Google+ and Tumblr.

People have a lot of personal information here that you can use to your advantage in your search. Myspace which is an old social media may also have something on the person; though they may be outdated the information could still be relevant to you. In addition, you can use Pinterest to find a family member you have never met, it’s another good social media site to use.

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3. Advanced search techniques

Using advanced search operators is another way to achieve your goal. They filter the junk out, especially the ones that aren’t related to your search. It combines words and connectors to exclude some results.

How it works is that when you type in a particular name say “Richard Stone” the search engines will show results on the web data with ‘Richard Stone’ but you need to type ‘Not’ or ‘–‘ in before the name in order to avoid the web data bringing out other similar names and surnames not important to you.

Most search engines have a trick, tips, and specific and extensive lists of operators to help your search on their advanced search pages. Check them before you proceed with your search. So, you can find your dad even if you never met him, just be creative and use location, cities, state, or middle name.

This is how to find birth parents with little information, first, try using the first name, then see if you can filter the report by state or country. Next, add the middle name if you have any. That can help a  lot. Meantime, if you expect an eye color, skin color, or any other details, why not add that information to the search box?

If you’re searching for a boy or a girl you lost, try focusing on a specific location. So, if you know the city, that’s great, you already have limited search options and you can avoid getting details about other people.

4. Genealogy resources

Patricia from New York City asked us how do I find my biological father if I never met him? So, there should also be many people who lost their parents and want to find them back. So, if no one of the above search options works, try this one.

A research into your genealogy might give you an idea of family members you are not aware of and point you in a good direction if you are not on track. Some of them can help you build a family tree or for blood relatives even provide DNA testing (they are known to have successfully united parents to children and siblings). Some useful genealogy resources;

  • Access Genealogy
  • Family tree searcher
  • The olive tree
  • Genealogy today
  • Roots web
  • Cyndi’s List
  • USGenWeb project
  • Family
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Give these options a try, then, let us know if you successfully found your biological father or mother.

5. Use background search sites

Doing the entire search thing on your own might be cumbersome and tiring. Background searching sites are good at searching corners and available public data sources that might be impossible to reach. All that is required is minimal information on the person you are trying to locate. Background search sites have a higher possibility of helping to out what you need, but ensure that you go for the ones that can offer the following;

  • A comprehensive range of background searches
  • Comprehensive and accurate reports
  • Effective Mobile apps
  • Ease of use of online dashboard
  • Good Customer Support

If for any reason you stop the search at some point, don’t go back and start from scratch, continue from where you stopped. Ensure that you are persistent and make your search as often as possible so you don’t get discouraged or give up.

Using a good background search site like BV can help you to find lots, of sisters, brothers, mother, or fathers in a matter of minutes if you know some basic information like their names. However, you can still be able to find your relatives even if you don’t know their names, property, and email address can help a lot.

6. People search websites

These are websites that search social networking sites and blogs. They also search for potential places where a lost family might likely turn up. Looking up these websites can be productive for your goal. However, it’s recommended to be patient and if you can’t find the person, make sure you modify the search parameters.

For many, this is how to find your birth parents if you are adopted, first, don’t conclude that your parents don’t want to see you again. Your parents may have searched a lot for you, so, you still have traced their comments, articles, or videos on many sites. So, search for your name or birth location, that way, you have more chances to find an already posted article or comment about you.

7. Don’t forget the prison system

The prison system has a very reliable record-keeping system. This might be a good place to consider your search. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a website with an inmate locator tool that can allow you to search for inmates by name in the United States.

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8. Consider other online public records

Public records with information such as birth, death, marriage, phone number, adoption, change of name, and address can go a long way in your search. You might want to look up these sites as you embark on the search for your long-lost relative. Sites like Public Record Finder.Com can link you to public records of available databases in states or the country at no cost.

9. Humanitarian organizations

There are organizations that also help to search for relatives. Some of them are; the Salvation Army family tracing, The Benevolent Society Post Adoption Resource Centre, and Link-up. You only need to contact them through their website as well as provide the information you have on the person in question.

10. Online tracing service

This is a family tracing network established by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They help locate family members whose contacts were lost due to violent situations, natural or man-made disasters, armed conflict, or migration.

11. National reunification sites

You can make use of the national reunification site by making contact with their service to search for a loved one. You also have the National Emergency Child Locator Center, Unaccompanied Minors Registry, Multi-agency Reunification Services plan template, and so on.

12. Private online investigators

The help of private investigators can be solicited. They are experts at making discreet inquiries, have a strong network of contacts, and use great interview techniques that have proven to be reliable. They can get access to restricted databases. Private investigators cost less, so if you are considering the implication of this option on your finances, be rest assured that no hole would be dug in your pocket when you use their services.


Note that not all persons can be found, follow the progress of the search and see where it leads then decide on what next to do. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, you could take a few days off, and then review your document, this can give you new ideas on how to go about your search and investigations.

These are the best ways, tools, and sites to find any of your lost family members even if you never met them before. Make sure you apply the tips above for faster search and accurate results.

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