You have made the decision to find that long lost friend or family member. Maybe you lost touch over the years and would like to see how the person is. Perhaps you come from an adoption or foster care situation and seek to meet your natural parents. Or it could be you need to locate a person who is a witness or beneficiary in a legal matter. No matter what your reason for finding a person, the question is where do you start? You will be amazed at what you already know and the relevancy of keeping accurate records of facts gathered along the way.
The first thing you need to do is carefully review what you already know. Such facts you have about the person may include:
– Full name and any other names may they have been known by in the past;
– Date of birth or approximate age;
– The approximate date and place of your last contact with the person and the circumstances;
Where did they live in the past and where did their family come from;
– Name of schools or universities the person attended;
– Place of business, professional organizations and hobbies; and
– Names of any family members, business associates and friends.
You probably don’t have all the answers as yet, but you will be able to develop what you know as a result of your research. Record what you have and put in a secure binder so that you do not lose it. You will find it really helpful if you keep a good journal of your search. You need to write down all the steps you have taken and the results of your searches so that you do not repeat the work already carried out. This file will also save a lot of time should you later choose to employ professional help in your search.
Once you have written down all the facts you can think of, consider what physical items you might have that could be useful in locating the person, such as:
– Birth certificates;
– Marriage licenses;
– Professional licenses;
– Military papers;
– Letters in the person’s handwriting; and
– Death certificates.
Make copies of all the documents, put them into your search binder and return the originals to a secure location in case you need them in the future.
Your file is the place for all the known facts and documents, but it is also a good idea to write down anything that comes to mind about the person you are looking for. The main thing is just to write it all down. Don’t worry about how it looks or whether the spelling is good or not. Try and jot down any and every idea that comes into your head. Just try to capture the broad picture. It doesn’t matter how wild or wacky your ideas. What may seem to be ramblings at the time could later develop into an essential clue that helps to locate the missing person. Many people have been found because of what seemed at the time to be an irrelevant titbit, so don’t hold anything back.
Now that you have explored your mind for every bit of information, talk to other people you know who also may have facts about the person you are searching for. Mutual friends and family members might know pertinent pieces of information that could help locate the person. When you talk with people, remember to write down what they said and put it into your file. No matter now small a piece of information seems to be, it could wind up being an important part of the investigation process. Memorialize all your conversations, make copies of the documents and photos given to you and put all the information garnered into your binder.
After reviewing everything you know and have, as well as speaking with everyone you know, you will have a valuable binder of information assembled. The record of your search will prove very useful to any professional people searcher who can help you find and make contact with the person you are looking for. A professional people searcher has the advantage of greater experience and access to other tools and resources. They may well also be bettar able to deal with the delicate issue of bringing together the two parties once they are located. Your carefully assembled binder of seemingly common knowledge holds the key to the wonderful journey of finding the person you are looking for.