There are more ways to find a lost sibling online than ever before, many of which are free to conduct. Many websites support search through name or address, while some creative google searches can fill in the remaining blanks.
Below is a guide, starting with the discovery process.
Gather as much information as possible
Starting at the basics, users are encouraged to gather any relevant details, including:
- First and last name/nicknames/maiden name
- Their age
- Social security number
- City of birth
- Names of their immediate family members such as their mother, father, or siblings
- Their job, profession, or trade
- Address if known
- Physical description
- Any clubs, religious affiliations, or other organizations joined
If most of this information is unknown, users are encouraged to contact a friend or family member who might fill in the blanks. In some cases, this won’t be possible. Instead, you may decide to contact any schools or organizations that may have additional information.
Alternatively, you may be able to locate more information by tracking down a date of birth and Social Security Number. You may find this information on an old bank statement, loan application, or other financial records. Although a lead may seem small or insignificant, it is important to document all your findings to succeed in your search for people online.
Take a DNA test
If you don’t have access to any of this information, an alternative method uses an autosomal DNA test. These tests are available on websites like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. If your sibling or any other family member has taken a DNA test, they will appear as a DNA match. You can continue this process on many DNA websites to increase your chances of finding a potential sibling who used a different testing site.
Contact the state
If you were adopted, the option to contact the state you reside in also exists. The state may have records related to your adoption, including details about your biological parents and siblings.
The next step will differ depending on the information you were able to collect from the first step.
Locate address by name
If you know the name of your long-lost sibling, you can also try to find his/her street address. You can enter a name and city or province on these platforms to help narrow down your sibling’s location. Unfortunately, these platforms aren’t always updated frequently, so it may be worthwhile to try nicknames and maiden names to try and vary results.
Locate new address
You might have the opposite problem: that you have a previous address but no name. The post office contains information on forwarding addresses for most of the residents that have moved within the year. In this case, you may mail a letter to the last known address. If your long-lost sibling has moved, the post office may send your letter back with a correction label if it exists.
Search by name
Using as much information as you can glean, a quick google search can provide news reports and any other relevant mentions. Adding different keywords to the search, including your sibling’s job, school or nickname may produce more relevant results. After reviewing the search results, you may choose to narrow down the list to relevant listings and continue to add new keywords as necessary.
Many website users have found that most of their searches lead them to social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all of which can quickly connect you to a long-lost sibling. Alternatively, you may decide to search the name on a social media platform directly. Many often create their social profiles with their full names, locations, and mutual connections. If this method works for you, the next step will be considering how to approach this sibling on the platform.
If searching directly by name doesn’t yield fruitful results, you may try searching for “free public records.” The results will give you many websites to use in your search process, including access to birth certificates, marriage licenses, or obituaries. On each of these sites, you can do an individual search for each of your siblings or parents using their first names, last names, location, and birthdate. You may also choose to go to the court office to request these records for a small fee.
Although you may not find results immediately, the key is to continue searching. Keep writing down your findings and try again every few days or when you have time. Your persistence will certainly pay off and you will find your long-lost sibling!
Featured Photo by Farah from Burst