The Internet is a powerful tool for
finding lost loved ones. There are many Internet
public and private resources that can help locate
people through searches of real estate records, business
ownership information, genealogical information, government and
military records, census data, phone numbers, reverse
directories, etc. Often the search is made easier by having
certain key pieces of information about the individual, including: full
name, date of birth, last address, social security number,
drivers/marriage license numbers, previous places of employment,
educational institutions attended, state agencies, tax returns,
photos, information from relatives, friends and neighbors, etc.
Documenting and compiling your research
will help you stay organized and be able to communicate your
results quickly and concisely to those who can help. Having
a birth certificate to prove your own identity is also helpful.
My key advice in your search is to be
persistent and creative, follow your intuition and seek the help
and advice of others. For example, if an
Internet search firm makes an incorrect match
based on the information you provided them, ask them
to search again, guiding them through the search process, since only
you are "intimate" with your collected data and perhaps the
general whereabouts of your loved one. By demonstrating
persistence and care, others may "bend the rules" to help you. If
for any reason someone tells you your
search is impossible, move on and seek out
those who can and/or will help.
Finally, be emotionally and mentally prepared to know what you will do
once you find a loved one. Often many years have passed and emotions,
sometimes painful, flow on both sides. You should also be prepared
for the possibility that your loved one has passed away.