Finding family members can be a long and emotional journey. Whether you’re looking for an estranged family member, family you’ve never met, or even your biological parents it’s a difficult process. To get started, you should compile any information you have on your family member in one place. Do you know their name, age, places they’ve lived, or any other relatives you could trace them through? Any details at all could help your search in the future. Don’t worry if you only know the bare minimum as there are various tools that make the process easier.
If you’re lucky, you can find success looking for a person through basic searches like using a search engine or social media. This is more likely to produce results if you already have a lot of information about the family member that you’re searching for. However, not everyone is on Facebook and search engines can provide unreliable or incorrect results. There are other methods you can use too. For example, DNA ancestry websites are a popular alternative. All you need do is take a swab of your DNA and send it to the company. However, these services rely on their own databases to give you your closest matches, which can be limited. So, if you’ve not had a relative do the same then test then you’re unlikely to find anything this way. There’s also the option of hiring a private investigator but this can be a huge expense.
Use a Background Check Service
Background check services are a very useful tool to find family members. With access to millions – and sometimes billions – of public records, you’ve got a strong chance of finding the right result. Of course, your success depends on the information you have already. Searches are done by name and state and from there you can narrow your results further. The more information you have, the better the chance of finding the person you’re looking for. Fortunately, with a service like US Search, you only need to know the family name to start looking. Since background check services also look for past names and aliases, you may even find someone long after they’ve changed their name.
A name and address isn’t always proof that the person you’ve found is your relative – there are plenty of John Smiths out there, after all. Since background check services also search for birth records, marriage records, divorce records, employment history, and criminal records, using these will give you a much better way of knowing if you’ve found the right person.
Check Yourself First
One particularly useful feature of background check services is that they provide a list of known relatives. For example, Spokeo does this and will even create a family tree for you. What makes this particularly impressive is that you don’t even need to know any information about your family at all. This is perfect if you’re looking for a family member and don’t have any clues to start with. Simply running a background check on yourself could be enough to show your family ties. From there you can take advantage of a subscription – which often includes unlimited reports – to follow up with background checks on family members.
Making the Connection
Obviously, you’re going to need some way of getting in touch with your family member. But what information do background check services give you that will help you make that connection? You’re likely to get at least a name or address, which will put you well on your way to making contact. Some services also search for social media profiles, so you have another way of reaching out.
Of course, background check services can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to make that family connection. But if you use background checks along with other methods, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance of finding your family member.
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