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SamIAm's avatar

How to find a long lost family member?

Asked by SamIAm (8690points) June 7th, 2010

Crazy (abridged) story… my father’s brother was killed in Vietnam and when my sister was researching the war tonight, she came across the virtual Wall Memorial. Upon finding my Uncle’s name, she also came across a comment left by their half brother, Bruce. There isn’t much information but it reveals that he has “sons” and also gives his last name. The comment was left in 2001.

I have cousins! And my father may have a half of a family that he didn’t know existed (he lost touch with Bruce many years ago)!!! I am so excited for him to get in touch with the only (hopefully) living members of his family but I am having a very hard time finding any information. I have typed in his name in Google along with ‘California’ (the last state my father knows he lived in). This revealed an address and phone number, but when my father called, he said the message didn’t sound like Bruce’s voice.

How can I find more about him? I really want to do this for my father, it would mean the world to him. Any help?? Thank you!!!

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12 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know. I wish I did. About ten years ago I learned that my Grandfather, my Dad’s father, had a son after he and my Grandmother separated. I have a whole side of the family I know nothing about. I have often thought about how I would go about tracking them down but it is really hard without detailed information. I don’t even have is name, I just assume he would have the same last name as my Grandfather and Father. I wish I could help you. But I would really appreciate it if you would let me know, if eventually, down the line, you find any way to track someone like this down, with such limited information.

SamIAm's avatar

Sure will! I always knew his name and that he was last in California (about 40 years ago) and the company he worked for, but never his last name or any real details. It’s so exciting!! My father’s whole family passed when he was so young and he was left on his own – this would be such great information. I will totally share my findings with you – keep following this question and keep me posted!!!

lillycoyote's avatar

Same with my Dad’s side of the family. They’re pretty much gone except for this half-brother of his and whatever family has come from that.

marinelife's avatar

I would start by talking to the family that you located in California. it might be a relative.

MissA's avatar

Don’t dismiss the contact you have just because his voice is different! That was forty years ago!!

I located my mother 45 years after she left, when I was a few months old. She had died five years earlier, which broke my heart. She was not using the name I had been looking for all my life. So, it’s possible folks. It was the wildest experience! Good luck to you. All searches surely are different. I have a half brother out there somewhere, but, don’t have a name, birthdate or anything. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Good luck.

tedibear's avatar

As others have said, do try that contact again. It may be a good lead.

Another place to search is . It is another web search. While it will also pull up places that offer search services that must be paid for, it can also yield free information.

If you have a Facebook account, have you tried searching for him there? Or for other people with that last name in the same region?

I did find someone via several years ago. I don’t know what they charge now.

Best of luck to you and let us know what happens!

RareDenver's avatar

The Salvation Army traced my uncle after we had lost touch for many years, I’ve linked to the UK site but I’m sure they offer a similar service in the USA. Best of Luck !!

srmorgan's avatar

You have received some excellent advice here.

You might try which will cross-reference family members with Bruce ****. There is a fee to get more data but it is nominal with respect what you are trying to achieve.

If Bruce has passed on, try This is the social security death index. You can enter a first and last name and see if the person has passed away. If you are using a common last name like Jones or Williams, this is not going to be of much use to you but if it is a relatively uncommon name, try advanced search which allows you to enter the state where the social security card was originally issued. So if you father grew up in South Dakota but his brother lived in California, that is one way to find out where he lived.

Just because a voice on a tape does not sound “right” maybe one of your cousins made the recording. \\

Just another thing, did the uncle attend a college, try the alumni association.

I have had a lot of luck finding people, contact me personally.

Good luck


SamIAm's avatar

@tedibear : thank you! both of those require payments but I will speak to my father and see if he is interested, i just want to make sure that (especially) if we’re paying money, the source is legit.

@srmorgan : thank you, no one with his name has been listed on the death index, tried with his middle name and without, so i guess that’s good news so far!!! the other link you sent me, is just as @tedibear,‘s a pay for site… which again, i don’t mind doing if it’s legit.

srmorgan's avatar

Let me jump in here again. is not a pay site. IT may refer you to pay sites but it does not require a credit card.
One of the sites that references is which will do a search by name and then give you alternatives. It would look for Bruce Bluestone in California, give you names and addresses and perhaps dates of birth and then give you a list of B. Bluestones. It is FREE.

When I was doing HR work I used This requires a fee but it is extremely reliable.

Some of these sites give you a 24 hour pass for a small fee. It is worth the money if you are serious about this.

All of these sites, knowx, interlius, ussearch are legitimate sites. They use public databases and may have access to the mega-databases like the credit reporting services like Trans Union, Equifax, etc.

Again, if you are looking for Bruce Jones or Bruce Brown, this won’t be easy. Bruce Lutsky is going to be a whole lot easier.

As I said, send me a private message here on Fluther and I can try to get you going.


Aster's avatar

I have located and am now corresponding with a niece and nephews and high school friends I found on Facebook and on Good Luck.

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