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How can I trace my living relatives?

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Loyal Member
Staff member
Nottingham, England.
How can I trace my living relatives?

Findmypast has records of births marriages and deaths to 1983 though you will have to pay. Living Relatives search includes the latest electoral roll information, telephone data which is updated monthly as well as historical directory information.

It is sometimes helpful to place an advertisement in the personal column of local newspapers in the area where relatives or friends were last known to be living.

Addresses of local newspapers in the UK can be obtained from:

Willings Press Guide, published annually and available from:
Chess House
34 Germain Street

Tel: 0870 736 0010
Fax: 0870 736 0011
Email: enquiries@willingspress.com
Website: Willings Press

Telephone directories and electoral registers
Visitors to the UK can trace relatives and friends through telephone directories, or local electoral registers, which contain the names and addresses of everyone over the age of 18 living in particular area.

Current telephone directories and electoral registers for the whole country can be viewed at most libraries.

Telephone directories dating from the end of the 19th century to the recent past may be viewed at:

British Telecom Group Archives
3rd Floor
Holborn Telephone Exchange
268-270 High Holborn

Helpdesk: +44 (0) 20 7440 4220
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7242 1967
Email: archives@bt.com
Website: BT Group Archives

An appointment is essential to ensure access to the building, and to reserve a study desk.

Tracing services
The following registered charities offer a tracing service in urgent cases for immediate family members only:

Salvation Army Family Tracing Service
101 Newington Causeway

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7367 4747
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7367 4728
Email: thq@salvationarmy.org.uk
Website: Salvation Army
International website: Salvation Army International

Family Tracing
Tracing Birth Parents

People living outside the United Kingdom should initially contact the Salvation Army in their own country.

International Social Service of the UK
Cranmer House
39 Brixton Road

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7735 8941
Email: info@issik.org.uk
Website:International Social Service of the UK

The National Insurance Contributions Office (formerly the Contributions Agency) may be able to assist in tracing missing relatives, but only in the event of a family crisis such as a death or sudden illness.

NI Contributions Office
Benton Park View
NE98 1ZZ

Tel: +44 (0) 845 302 1479
Website: NI Contributions Office

Professional researchers and detective agencies
If you want to ask the help of professional researchers or detective agencies in the UK consult the following organisations for advice and a list of members:

Association of British Investigators
27 Old Gloucester Street

Tel: +44 (0) 207 262 9586
Fax:+44 (0) 207 262 9586
Email: info@theabi.org.uk
Website: Association of British Investigators

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives
29 Badgers Close
West Sussex
RH12 5RU

Email agra@agra.org.uk
Website: Association of Genealogists and Researchers

Institute of Professional Investigators
Bank House
81 St Jude's Road
Englefield Green
Egham, Surrey
TW20 0DF

Tel: 0870 330 8622
Fax: 0870 330 8612
Email: admin@ipi.org.uk
Website: Institute of Professional Investigators
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