Author Topic: Tracing Living Relatives  (Read 91386 times)

Offline Boongie Pam

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Tracing Living Relatives
« on: Sunday 23 July 06 21:47 BST (UK) »
Searching for living relatives (or recent ancestors) and Rootschat

Rootschat is a forum where we can all learn and help each other understand the many different resources to trace our family trees.

In general we work backwards from ourselves to the past and most of us can get back a hundred years just by speaking to our families.

Not everyone is so fortunate and every user of Rootschat will understand how hard it is to get started when you do not know your near family.  We all empathise with the difficulties and emotions searching for your family can bring.

With this type of research we have to be especially careful for a number of reasons.

Firstly, anything posted on the internet is in the public domain.  Anybody can see this information - including unscrupulous types.  To protect people and their identities we do not encourage the posting of information about people who are or maybe still living. 
Even with permission from the subject of a post we would seriously advise against giving too much information as to betray their identity.

The Rootschat moderators reserve the right to delete or edit posts that we believe may contain information that could be misused to the detriment of the subject.

Secondly, if information is given about living people or of the recently deceased and this is found by them or their close relatives there is a risk of upset and trauma. 
So please be prudent in the information you post.

There are many ways to trace living relatives using publicly available telephone directories, "friends" websites (e.g. alumni sites, school sites etc), local newspapers and electoral registers. 

If you are searching for long lost relatives it is recommended to use a support service who are trained intermediaries. 

One such service provided in the UK is by the Salvation Army.

LINK: Salvation Army Tracing Service

There are a number of other sources you could try: has records of births marriages and deaths  though you will have to pay and will need to know an approximate date of birth (within a few years) to make it practical has good free coverage of BMDs. which provides electoral register details for 2005, though you may have to pay.

Best of Luck,
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from

Dumfrieshire: Fallen, Fallon, Carruthers, Scott, Farish, Aitchison, Green, Ryecroft, Thomson, Stewart
Midlothian: Linn/d, Aitken, Martin
North Wales: Robins(on), Hughes, Parry, Jones
Cumberland: Lowther, Young, Steward, Miller
Somerset: Palmer, Cork, Greedy, Clothier

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Offline puterman

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RE: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 13 October 07 15:46 BST (UK) »
May I just add that this is also a good source, and that 1837online is now
Meredith, Stephens, Babb, Knowles, Morton, Sparrow, Cunliffe, Woods

Offline Christopher

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Re: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 31 January 08 20:48 GMT (UK) »
There's a reasonable amount of good information on how to start tracing living relatives on Rootschat. I've just been having a look at a site called eHow which gives tips on "How to Find Relatives Who Emigrated From the United States." These tips can be adapted to make it easier to find living relatives in any area ...

1. Establish their last known address.
2. Many people, unless they've moved in connection with their work, tend to move to the county or country where their ancestors originally lived so try to learn about the history of your family as it's possible this will help in finding living ancestors.
3. Use online forums. eHow states that "on heritage-specific forums you can post requests for missing family living abroad to contact you. Be sure you can post your information anonymously and receive contact through the forum (ie use a Personal Message facility)  This way your private information will be protected." An extra piece of advice ... don't disclose too much information about the living person or persons as their privacy also needs to be protected. Don't show their phone numbers online even if their numbers are in a telephone book. Telephone companies give people the option to have their number in a phone book or have an ex-directory number. If you put it on the internet you've not given them an option so have intruded on their privacy.
4. If you know where the person attended church, played sport or worked send a message to the church, employers or sports club as they may be able to give you some information. I know that when a member of the RTBI (Round Table of Britain and Ireland) moved to a new area the club from which he was moving used to post a message to the club in the area where he and his family were going to live telling them about the move so that there was a good chance of the family getting a warm welcome on their arrival and would not feel like total strangers in a new area. 
5. Do some networking. Contact friends that you and the living person shared. A friend of mine did some excellent networking as we'd lost contact for almost twenty years. I tried to find him online and managed to find a much younger guy, with the same christian name and surname, who is a Glasgow based singer. My friend had more success. He contacted a mutual friend who hadn't a clue as to my location but his wife then played her part and did some networking so the friend searching for me was able to contact my sister and get my contact details.

The National Insurance Contributions Office (formerly the Contributions Agency) may be able to assist in tracing missing relatives, but this is only in the event of a family crisis such as a death or sudden illness.

Offline Mborrill

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Re: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 28 February 09 11:35 GMT (UK) »
I have used all of these techniques below to locate living relatives.

Ancestry has made it possible to search the GRO birth registers from 1916 to 2005, using surname and mother's maiden name this makes it so much easier trying to trace lines forward.

Its worthwhile checking Ancestry's death index 1984-2005 will give DOB to make sure person is still living.

If you find a *known* relatives death, looking on sites like, Obituary UK and Search Family Notices [this is also useful for marriages and births], you may locate a memorial notice [placed in UK newspapers] for the more recently deceased which gives other family names. [Obviously use tact and don't contact newly bereaved family] Also look for online newspapers for the area to search family notices, each newsgroup varies with ease of search, length they keep report etc etc.

Contact the local library where the death occurred to search for older known death notices [once you have at least the month and year of death]may also yield family names

OR buy the death certificate as often next of kin are the informants

When you have identified a possible living relative, you can try looking in directory enquiries or the electoral role such as 192 or on Find My Past for their address and/or telephone number. Sending a polite letter or making a telephone call [which I always follow up with a letter] often gains results.

Use message boards such as Curious Fox (5 annual membership) never received any replies but did locate cousins using the site. Or a great site I discovered in January called Missing You [free to use] Within a few weeks of posting four messages [for separate lines] two days apart I recieved contact from descendants of these lines and I traced a third line myself using above methods.

Also use the various online tree sites to trace relatives such as Genes Reunited, Ancestry, Rootsweb Worldconnect, Gencircles etc etc
BORRILL;- Hull (occ Bakers) & Grimsby
KENDALL:-N.Lincs, Hull (1860+) esp Primitive Methodist's

Offline Headtheball

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Re: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 04 March 09 11:52 GMT (UK) »
Further to what some people have already mentioned, it is definitely worth simply Googling the name. After going down all the usual routes, I Googled my G-G-Grandfather's name out of frustration! The first link sent me straight to this website (Rootschat) where I found my (previously unknown) third cousin searching for my side of the family! I know I was very lucky but geneology is becoming a very popular hobby and so you never know who else is tracing your family tree  :D

Offline clayduck

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Re: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #5 on: Monday 15 June 09 17:03 BST (UK) »
Something not mentioned is that many villages have historians or record keepers.  They have copies of the records that have gone to record offices, and they keep contact details of anyone who is researching surnames from the village.  Then, with permission, they pass on the details to others who come along researching the same surname.  I have found over 200 living relatives - and we've had a massive reunion - using this method.
Researching Hammond, Goymour, Driver, Green, Hollox from Suffolk.  Fulcher from Essex and Suffolk.  Webb from Blockley, Worcs

Offline dawnsh

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Re: Tracing Living Relatives
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 29 January 13 15:16 GMT (UK) »
Here's a link I found on Ancestry

You only have to put in a name, a location isn't required.

You do have to buy credits to view the results, but I tried a couple of ex-directory, ex-electoral register people I know and their names were in the search results so they are using data from other sources.

Hope this helps.

Census information Crown Copyright, from

Sherry-Paddington & Marylebone,
Longhurst-Ealing & Capel, Abinger, Ewhurst & Ockley,