Web sites to help you in your search for lost family and friends.
Telephone Directories on the Web: Sometimes finding someone can be as simple as looking the name up in a telephone book. This site indexes online telephone directories, yellow pages, e-mail directories and fax listings covering more than 150 countries. Keep in mind that the various telephone directories don't share the same database; therefore, search results will vary. About 35 percent of Americans have nonlisted or nonpublished telephone numbers. More than 56 million Americans own cell phones, contributing to the 900 percent increase in telephone numbers since 1986; telephone numbers for cell phones, faxes, modems and pagers are not in the white pages.
Family Tree Magazine SuperSearch: One-click search for your living relatives in several of the Web's most popular phone and address directories.
Colorado: Marriage index, 1975-1998; divorce index, 1975-1999.
Kentucky: Marriage and divorce index, 1973-1993; death index, 1911-1992.
Maine (marriage): Marriage index, 1892-1996.
Maine (death): Death index, 1960-1996.
Ohio: Death index, 1913-1937 (eventually will span 1908-1944).
Tennessee: Death index, 1914-1925.
National Center for Health Statistics: Contact information to obtain birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates from each state. Birth records are generally closed to anyone other than the individual; marriage and divorce records are generally public (there are exceptions); death records are often restricted.
BRB Publications: More than 275 state, county, city and federal (court) Web site links where you can access public record information free. For example, the San Bernardino County, Calif., recorder has an index to official records back to 1981 that includes deeds, liens, judgments, powers of attorney and affidavits of death. The types of online record searches vary by county and state and can include tax assessor, civil and criminal court, probate and marriage indexes.
National VETS Archives: Database of more than 12,000 veterans reunions, as well as a search service to help locate military buddies.
Rootsweb: The oldest and largest free genealogy community, Rootsweb hosts almost 5,000 Web sites, and all searches are free. Cousins find cousins at this site, and volunteers continually add new searchable data to help in any type of genealogical research.
USGenWeb: This volunteer project combines sites for genealogical research in every US county and state. Besides a wealth of information and links to pre-20th century records, you'll also find items helpful in your search to find a living person, such as marriage indexes, queries and WWI draft registrations. The Alabama state page, for example, has a list of Alabama Families on the Internet that links to 99 family pages. Family Web sites or genealogies such as these often bring the family forward into the 20th century and can be useful in your quest to locate someone.
Ancestry.com : Most of this massive site requires a subscription fee. Ancestry.com is strong in obituary collections, 20th-century vital-record indexes and biographical sketches.
Genealogy.com: Genealogy.com covers Internet home pages, message boards, classified and commercial genealogy CDs. Their World Family Tree CDs are helpful in 20th century research as they sometimes identify siblings or parents of an individual you're trying to locate.
Family Tree Magazine Surname SuperSearch: Lets you perform a combined search on any or all of a dozen databases, including Rootsweb, Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com (Family Tree Maker), above, totaling more than a billion entries. You can also search the Social Security Death Index right from here.
To learn about using directories and records to locate lost family and friends, see the April 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine