Resources For Locating Family Members
Due to the ever-increasing privacy laws and regulations in many locations, we are limited in our searches to accessing only that which is publicly available on the internet and a few other places. For this reason, family members are often able to do the same searching that we are able to do. Below are some websites and suggestions that you might find helpful in locating information about your loved one:
Canada411.ca - telephone directory for Canada - this website does not include cell phones
Search Engines - Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. – these websites sometimes provide information about people who have an online presence. To search a specific area type eg. "John Smith AND Hamilton" This will result in a search for the name John Smith in the city of Hamilton. Be aware though that this will narrow the search sometimes too much. There may also be more than one city with the same name.
Social Media Searches – Facebook, Linked IN etc. – When people choose to have an online presence, they may have a profile on social media. These websites have a search function that may be helpful in locating a person but the searches often provide many people by the same name.
Ancestry.ca - Websites of this nature may provide some information about where a person came to Canada or when they were born or died. However, the website is geared towards people doing genealogies and not specifically for locating missing persons. There are generally fees associated with this kind of website but sometimes public libraries offer free access to these sites.
Special Interest Groups/ Associations – if you know that the person is a member of a club or group, you may be able to get a message to the member through the club. Due to privacy laws, they will likely not give you any information, but they might be willing to pass along a message for you.
Employers – similar to groups and associations, if you know the person’s employer or former employer, they may be willing to pass along a message for you.
Places of Worship - If you know that the person you are seeking is/was a member of a faith group, it might be that the local faith community may be able to provide some information about the person.
Other family members and friends of the missing person – These people are usually the best source of information and assistance in locating people.
Local Police Departments – sometimes the Police will search for people if there is concern about the safety and welfare of a person. Again for privacy reasons, they may not give you much information but they may choose to give you details that they have located the person and they are well.
Court Records - Some provinces make court records a matter of public record and have online searches available. These can give you information regarding the location of a person in a specific province.
In cases, where there is a possibility that the missing person may be deceased, the following may be of assistance in locating information about the person and their death.
Obituary Searches – many funeral homes now have online obituaries for the services that they conduct. The individual funeral homes differ as to the length of time that these remain on their website. But generally recent service details may still be there.
Local Newspaper Obituaries – Many local newspapers have online editions which include obituaries. Again the more recent the death, the more likely it will be to find information. This is not a guaranteed source of information as not all families choose to have an obituary to be listed in the newspapers.
Provincial Government Death Record Searches – All provinces and territories have a department that records births, marriages and deaths in their locale. The guidelines for searches differ within each jurisdiction and there are generally small fees associated with the searches. These searches must be done by next of kin or close family members. There is information as to how to conduct these searches available on the provincial government websites.
Find A Grave Website – The information on this website is primarily American but there are some Canadian entries
http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/ON/ - This website contains limited grave records for the province of Ontario. However, it is not updated regularly and is far from complete.