Tracing Lost Loved Ones

Tracing lost loved ones can be a heartbreaking experience. Thankfully, the International Red Cross works with national societies around the world to locate and reunite families separated by war or disaster.


Start by searching for your loved one’s neighbors, employer and places of worship. You can also search for them at senior centers, social clubs/centers, unions and fraternal organizations.

Search Their Desk or Computer Files

Whether they are organized or not, most people keep important information in their desk or computer files. A quick look through these items can reveal a lot of information about your loved one.

If they worked at a company, reaching out to that business could help you locate life insurance policies, retirement plans or 401(k)s that they may have paid into. The same goes for banks and financial institutions they might have accounts with. You can also reach out to former employers if they were employees at any point, even if the person no longer works for them.

If your loved one kept a safe-deposit box, you should be able to retrieve the contents from that bank if you can prove that you are executor or administrator of their estate. You can also check if they have a home safe. You can also look through their desk and computer for evidence of deeds, timeshare ownership or other types of property that they might have in their name. In addition, you can use local news archives to search for stories that might provide clues about their current whereabouts.

Search Their Social Media Accounts

When a loved one dies, they may not have given much thought to what happens to their social media accounts. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, allow people to memorialize an account or delete it.

Similarly, Google allows you to delete an email after death. The process varies between platforms, however, and it’s worth checking the guidelines for each site before requesting the deletion of an account.

In most cases, you will need to provide proof of the person’s death before they can close the account or memorialize it. This usually includes a copy of the person’s death certificate or an obituary, but you might also be asked for proof that you are their immediate family member or executor.

Many families have been reunited through social media, even after decades of separation. The ability to unobtrusively learn important information about a missing family member, such as phone numbers and home addresses, is invaluable for tracking down lost loved ones. However, it’s not the cheapest method. Using a professional investigator is often the best way to locate missing loved ones.

Ask Family Members

For families of missing people, especially those who have been separated from their loved ones because of war or natural disasters, there are special agencies to help reunite them. Contact the Red Cross in your country and also in the country where the person last was.

It is likely that the family members of the missing person are struggling with their own feelings and worries, so be careful about asking intrusive questions, which could make them feel distressed or upset. The best thing you can do is show your interest, and remind them that you are thinking of them.

Some missing people may be known to a local paper’s obituary section, so review online and physical newspapers for the name you are searching for. This can be a heartbreaking process, but it is also one of the most useful things you can do in finding your lost loved one. The newspaper may have photos or other information that can assist you in tracing them. This is particularly helpful if your relative has been killed or died in a way that might have made them appear in the news.

Contact the Police

If your loved one is missing, you should contact the police as soon as possible. They will want to know a few basic details about the person, such as their age and height, as well as any scars or tattoos. They may also ask for a recent picture of the person.

If a loved one has gone missing, it’s important to search for them regularly. Depending on their situation, they may be hiding out or they may have been abducted. A good place to start is by searching social media accounts. If you can’t find them, you should try looking up people search websites like Pipl, Zabasearch, and YoName.

Another option is to hire a private investigator. They can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of finding your loved ones. A reputable investigator will take the time to thoroughly investigate every avenue. Martin Investigative Services is a great option to consider. They have a team of seasoned investigators who are available to assist you. Get started with a free consultation today!