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Tracing Living Relatives

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist on March 20th, 2011
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I have had two requests this week, from different people, asking me how do they trace a “lost” relative.

I am making an assumption that they are both reasonably certain that the person is still alive. They have probably checked the index to death registers to make sure that this is the case and that the person in question hasn’t passed away.

If you are in this position, but haven’t ascertained if your relative has died then the first thing to do is to take a look at the U.K. Death Record Indexes. These can be found online, up to 2005, on sites such as Ancestry.co.uk, TheGenealogist.co.uk and GenesReunited.co.uk ,while FindMyPast.co.uk has them up to 2006.

If you don’t find them in these databases then next you need to search between 2006 and the present. The bad news is that these records are not online. Here is some information published on the direct.gov.uk website that I have copied below for its usefulness if you are not confining yourself to web based research:

“Copies of the indexes can no longer be purchased but a complete set, including ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages from 1837 – 2008’, ‘Overseas from 1761 – 2008’, ‘Civil Partnerships from 2005 – 2009’, ‘Adoptions from 1927 – 2009’, and the provisional indexes for ‘Births and Deaths from 2009 to June 2010′, are available at:

  • Manchester City Library
  • Birmingham Central Library
  • Bridgend Reference and Information Library
  • Plymouth Central Library
  • City of Westminster Archives Centre
  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • The British Library*

These locations get updates for you to view in person. This is expected to continue until free, online access can be provided.

* Please be aware that customers will need to undertake a pre-registration process. Two forms of identification showing a signature and proof of address will be needed to gain entry into this location.”

So, assuming that you have not found a death, then the next thing I would do is to look at using 192.com. It can be a useful start in tracking down someone still living.

A cousin of mine was able to trace another of our cousins using this site with just the lost person’s names and the fact we knew they had lived in Southampton. It does involve you having to contact several people with the same name to try and rule them out.

Finally, a good guide to tracing living people is this one from the British Library.

http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/offpubs/electreg/traceliv/tracing.html

Hope you have luck with your search,

Nick


One Comment
  1. James Mac permalink

    One other possible avenue to look at is death notices. There are a number of local newspapers that now have several years’ worth of archived notices that can be searched. Most (but by no means all) feed into a single archive at http://www.iannounce.co.uk/ – it’s worth trying there first to see if anything shows up.

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