Since the end of the 19th century, huge migration movements changed the face of the World. Young people who didn’t find work at home – or just hoped for adventure and a better future in a New World – embarked to cross the oceans to the Americas, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other regions. New migrations waves followed during the World Wars, and many more people hoped to escape periods of economic depression.
Many families were torn apart at a time when the means of communication were still sparse, and the parents lost contact with their emigrated children, and brothers and sisters with their siblings. This situation changed with the spread of the World Wide Web. On the Web, it is easier than ever to search for lost relatives, for your first love, for formers study colleagues, for a friend you didn’t hear from for a long time…
If you know the name and possibly the last location of your lost relatives and friends, a good place to start searching for them is by entering their name and supposed location on the respective country directory on http://www.infobel.com/en/world/. There you will find the phone directories, white and yellow pages and other directories of any country on the Planet. If you know their phone number, you may also do a “reverse search”. But these directories are mainly based on land phones, so it may be difficult to obtain a result. You could also search the widely used Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn directories, or just type their name and location into a web search engine with the hope they are registered with social media or a company, but if their name is common it will be difficult to find the right person.
The easiest place to find people may be the United States of America. There you can easily find a person, his or her phone number and her address. Beside the White Pages, you can access http://www.instantcheckmate.com/ where you will find the age and possible relatives of the searched person. If you continue the search, you will access even more information about the searched for person – including a wider range of relatives and public offence reports. If you agree to use the information only for personal purposes, you will have to pay a 1 month subscription for of US$22.86 (to retrieve your report). You could also try http://free.discoverancestry.com/ , which also accesses U.S. archive sites.
However, your lost relatives or friends may live in another part of the World. That makes the search somehow more difficult, but not impossible.
A site including search in the US, Canada and Australia is called http://people-search-free.com/international/ . There are also paying national sites. A site giving more options and countries is . There is an organization called http://www.lostfriends.org/ ; there you can enter several data, like when you had the last contact with the searched for person. The enetered data will appear publicly on their website, with the hope the desired person will find it. On http://www.ehonissa.com/ , you can also access a face search, but you have to sign up first. If all these attempts brought no results, you may try a site matching the dna data, for a fee of US$ 99; http://familylinks.icrc.org/en/Pages/online-tracing.aspx .
The ICRC established a free website allowing you to locate a loved one in a crisis location, be it in a region hit by a natural disaster or war. This website allowed numberless families to reunite or at least obtain information about their endangered relatives.
Now, if you found the lost relatives or friends, try to contact them through social media, e-mail or by SMS or phone, identifying yourself and reminding them of your family relationship or place you shared as friends.
After the first contacts you may decide to meet in person. You might opt for a stop at their place while you are traveling. Or possibly the searched person is traveling often; this will be the easiest way to meet. Just let him or her stop or meet you at a UK airport while they are on their way to another destination. You can drive to the airport before their expected arrival, let a professional driver from Meet & Greet collect your car and park it in safety, and enjoy meeting the lost family member or friend – or their descendants – with all the emotion and excitement such a meeting involves.