Finding Living People in the United States
The best sources for finding living friends and relatives in the United States.
Partly due to privacy laws, most of the Family History Library's collection covers the time period before 1931. However, several sources outside our library are helpful in locating living family members and friends.
You can use the Internet to help locate a family member or friend. For example, Cyndi's List at www.cyndislist.com/finding.htm includes a category about 'Finding People'. It has dozens of links to sites that give ideas for locating living people. Some sites help you do the search.
Internet message boards allow you to post a question to be viewed by large groups of people. You can find message boards using the following websites:
- CyndisList of links to Mailing Lists and Message Boards: http://www.cyndislist.com/queries.htm
- Ancestry's Message Boards at http://boards.ancestry.com/?o_xid=0039218725&o_lid=0039218725 for surnames, localities, and topics.
- RootsWeb's Message Boards at http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/script/main/rw for surnames, localities, and topics.
- Genealogy.com has Genforum Message Boards at http://genforum.genealogy.com/
Additional online resources for searches involving living people include:
Online Telephone Directories are some of the best sources for locating living persons. You may want to search several directories because each publisher has a different list of names. Remember to search for the name with and without initials. Our family history centers do not normally have access to computer directories. You can use the Internet at most public libraries. Some of the best directory sites are listed on the Internet at:
The Social Security Administration has a service to forward a letter for you. Place your letter to a family member or friend in a plain, unsealed, stamped envelope with his or her name on the envelope. Write a cover letter explaining to Social Security your reasons for contacting the person. Place the unsealed envelope inside an envelope addressed to:
If a family member or friend is receiving Social Security benefits, the administration will send the letter to his or her home. Otherwise, they will send it to the employer who most recently reported earnings for that person. There is normally a $3.00 non-refundable charge for this service.