Most of us think about using the Internet to find ancestors, not living family. However, some of the most heartfelt family stories I’ve heard of involve the reuniting of living family members.
Families can lose track of one another through many circumstances. Sometimes death or divorce causes children to be scattered to different families. At other times, cousins who may have met in childhood lose track of one another over the years. Or you may see the name of someone who is researching your family and simply use the Internet to track them down.
How do you find living people online? The quickest and often the easiest way is to use one of the online “people” search engines like Switchboard.com. You can enter a person’s name and the city you think they may live in and the system will do a thorough search. The results will include an address, phone number, and in some cases an e-mail address.
I’ve used Switchboard.com successfully on many occasions. My greatest success was when I found an old query on a message board relating to my family. Unfortunately, the message was so old, the poster’s e-mail address was no longer valid. Using Switchboard.com, I was able to locate the person, send them a snail mail … and goodness! They offered to copy hundreds of pages of family group sheets and family history for me.
If you’re looking for living people, try these other sources:
• Internet Address Finder
• Who, Where?
• Yahoo People Search