Finding Living People

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Getting Started


St. Joseph County Links

Indiana Links

National Links


Finding Living People

By Sara Allen

Are you searching for a long-lost cousin, an elementary school classmate, a former neighbor, your birth family, a missing heir, a first love, or anyone else you'd like to find? All hope is not lost. Check out the links on this page for a multitude of excellent online and print sources that may provide you with the clues you need to find your missing person. St. Joseph County Public Library's Local & Family History Services, located at the Main Library in downtown South Bend, stands by ready to assist you in your search. (If you are engaged in adoption research, please go to our page on Finding Birth Families.)

You may want to start with a how-to manual. Then, determine if the person is living somewhere in St. Joseph County or in another known or unknown location. Come on into Local & Family History Services for library resources, which are useful both for finding local people and finding people worldwide. Contact libraries and organizations all over the United States by phone, mail or email for assistance in finding missing persons in other localities. Use internet websites from the library or from home to round out your research. Some internet websites do charge a fee for information. Use national websites and search engines to find people in unknown locations.

Resources at SJCPL

How-to manuals are available for checkout at SJCPL.

findinglostfamily.gif findanyonefast.gif nakedincyberspace.gif lostandfound.gif

1) Locating Lost Family Members & Friends by Kathleen W. Hinckley.

2) Find Anyone Fast by Richard S. Johnson.

3) Naked in Cyberspace by Carole A. Lane.

4) Lost and Found: the Guide to Finding Family, Friends, and Loved Ones by Troy Dunn.

City directories are a great resource to use to track an individual year by year. Local & Family History Services has Mishawaka and South Bend city directories from 1867 to 2007 available for in-library use. From 1945-2007 they are available in book format, while the earlier directories are on microfilm. All directories are searchable by the name of the head of household; spouses and other employed adults in the household are also listed. Beginning in 1900, city directories are also searchable by street and house number, which is useful if you only know the address, because it will give the name of the family who lived in a particular house. SJCPL's Reference Department has recent years of city directories for some cities in our region, while Local & Family History Services has some older years of city directories for various nearby cities.

Yearbooks - Local & Family History Services has South Bend high school yearbooks for all high schools for most years available for in-library use. We also have many Mishawaka and some other St. Joseph County high school yearbooks for some years. Online, you can find a PDF list of all the yearbooks available in Local & Family History. Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library's Heritage Room has most Mishawaka high school yearbooks and Bethel College yearbooks. Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, IUSB, Bethel, and other local colleges and universities have their own collegiate yearbook collections, usually found in their campus library or archives. Yearbooks can help you determine the approximate age of the person you seek, point to potential siblings, friends, interests, and more that may help you find the person today.

Ancestry Library Edition
From any branch of SJCPL, you can search Ancestry's databases of vital statistics, public records, directories, and more. Click on the "Search" tab, at the top of the page to go to the subsections listed on the right-hand side of the webpage. "Birth, Marriage & Death" and "Directories & Member Lists" are good choices to search for recent information on the person you seek. Available only in branches of the St. Joseph County Public Library.

Obituary Index
This free online database is an index to obituaries that appeared in the South Bend Tribune for people with ties to St. Joseph County from 1913 to the present. Once you find a citation to an obituary in the index, you may look up the full-text obituary on our microfilmed copies of the South Bend Tribune available at Local & Family History Services. You can use this database to search for obituaries of relatives of the person you seek and often gain the city of residence for living descendants.

Service Notes Index
Search an index to the Service Notes that were printed in the South Bend Tribune during the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras. Once you find a citation to a Service Notes entry in the index, you may look up the full-text Service Notes on our microfilmed copies of the South Bend Tribune. Service Notes often mentioned spouses, parents, and in-laws and their names and addresses.

Resources Available at Other Libraries

Locate the library in the last known location of the missing person. Search for the name, contact information and web address for the public library in that town on the Libweb directory. If you are unable to find the library you seek in the Libweb directory, call or visit your local library to use the print resource, American Library Directory, which lists all U.S. libraries.

Contact the library. Start by searching the library website; also be prepared to contact the library or visit in person to research local obituaries, city directories, marriage indexes, yearbooks and other sources that could provide a clue to the missing person's current whereabouts. When you ask the library a question, provide them with as much information as you have, and don't expect them to do your research for you. Ask for specific records for specific years. If they don't have the record you seek, they may be able to point you in the right direction. They may charge you a photocopying or research fee.

St. Joseph County Websites

Michiana Area Council of Governments GIS System
Research particular houses and neighborhoods using this free public source of current homeowner information for St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties, Indiana. If the person you seek is a homeowner, you may find them on this website.

Obituary Index
See description above.

St. Joseph County Bar Association
If the person you seek is an attorney, search the membership directory of the St. Joseph County Bar Association.

Service Notes Index
See description above.

Indiana Websites

Indiana Sheriff's Sex Offender Registry
You may freely search by name, address, city, zip code and more. You can limit your search by town, address or zipcode.

Indiana Marriages, 1993-2002
Search by the name of either the bride or the groom to access statewide marriage records for the years 1993-2002. This marriage record abstract gives ages, birth state, number of marriages, and date of marriage; so if you've lost someone in Indiana around that time period, check out this index for new leads.

National Websites

Public Records Websites

Ancestry Library Edition
See description above.

BRB Publications, Inc.
BRB's Free Resource Center has a comprehensive directory of free public record sites, reference material, and public record vendors available. Locate resources for civil records, criminal records, driving records, real estate records, licensing boards, public record vendors, record retrievers, legislation and much more. Click on the link to "Free Resources" from the homepage and explore the free options available on this site. This site also has a fee-based component.

Type in a person's name and view publicly accessible information about their criminal history; includes non-criminal records also such as civil filings, traffic tickets, and more.

The Doe Network
Search records at the Doe Network to find information about unidentified and missing persons in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Europe. Public Records Directory
Use this website to search a directory of online record sources or websites for localities in the United States and worldwide. This site charges a fee to retrieve the records. However, we've found that if you note the exact name of the record source listed on this site, and do a Google search for the exact same source name, you may find links to access the same information for free. So we advise you to use this site as an index, and then search for and find listed websites for free using Google.

Social Security Death Index
Investigate whether the person you seek has died by searching the Social Security Death Index. This index will provide you with death information for persons who had a Social Security number and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Bear in mind that many people do not fall into that category, so the absence of a name from this index does not prove that the person is still living.

Name/Address Websites

Ancestry Library Edition
See description above.
Site that allows you to enter a person's name and approximate age and find out their birthdate.

Finding Birthdays
This search engine, written by genealogy and computer guru Stephen Morse, searches several different name/address websites and compiles results for you. The search engine is specifically looking for birthdates available on the internet. I found my exact birthdate through this search engine. See what you can do! See Steve Morse's website for more One-Step search engines he wrote that will search all different kinds of websites for you.

This free name/address site lists previous cities/states associated with a particular person, along with potential relatives who have been linked to this person in public records. The site charges a fee for more detailed searches and information.

Search "the deep web" including information from databases such as personal profiles, court records, scientific publications, member directories, and genealogical information.

Like Intelius, this free site notes other residences and people associated with a person, then charges a fee to provide more detailed information such as contact information, age, and more.

Rootsweb Genealogy Message Boards
Search these message boards for postings regarding a family name, a locality, or a topic, such as adoption. Post a message on the appropriate board with information about the person you seek. Someone may answer your post with a clue or even contact information.

Search this database, which includes not only publicly available information from the same sources as Intelius and Radaris, but also information from social networking sites. You may find someone's current address, phone number, age, marital status, occupation, hobbies, and even whether they have children.

Use this site to do a preliminary search for free listings by name, age, and city. More detailed information is available for a fee.
This free site will allow you to search for names beginning with a certain letter or combination of letters, find neighbors, reverse search on an address or telephone number, and search an entire metropolitan area, rather than one city at a time.

Yahoo Name and Address Directory
This directory on lists a variety of other websites that provide search engines to search by name, address, telephone, and email address.

Like USSearch, use this site to turn up very basic listings of individuals with addresses and phone numbers. This site differs from USSearch in including some birth dates, which can prove useful in differentiating between people with the same name.

Other National Websites
At, sign up and create a free profile about yourself. Add photos, create a blog, search for other registrants, join a forum for graduates of your high school, and more for free. This site also offers advanced information searches for a fee.

ZoomInfo is a business information search engine, with profiles on more than 35 million people and 3.8 million companies. ZoomInfo collects and organizes information from the internet. Use this search engine to search for people engaged in business or linked to a particular job or occupation. You may search by name, job title, occupation, state or region, keyword, and company name.

Government Websites

Federal Government Locators
This site details how to find someone through the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Military, Department of State and the Salvation Army. Be sure to read the site's guidelines, which detail the types of missing persons they will assist you in searching for.

Thanks to Dr. Michael Lacopo for giving us permission to use some of his ideas and sources on this page.

Back to the Genealogy page

Contact and find out more about Local & Family History Services
Created by: Sara Allen, June 2007
Last updated by: Libby Feil, August 24, 2010

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