How To Search For People For Free – Online Research Made Easy!

Are you looking to find someone and have limited funds? Have you started or are you wanting to start doing genealogy research on your ancestors? If you are you have come to the right place. I have been researching my family history for the last fifteen years and I will share you with some tips on how to search for people for free.

Totally Free Genealogy Sites

I recently wrote a post on totally free genealogy sites which you can read all about here. I will not go into a lot of detail here, but there are many sites online which can be utilized to search for people totally free. I will say my favorite option, which is completely free, would have to be either the LDS website Family Search or WikiTree. Either of these are good options and could be used to create a family tree for free.

Libraries Are A Great Way To Complete Research For Free

Public libraries are a great place to begin research, especially if you live locally to the area your family lived in. Looking over the microfilm is a great way to find information on your ancestors in the old newspaper articles from the area. Also most libraries have genealogy sections with records for ancestry research.

Getting a library card is usually free and researching within a library is free. If you have a library card then you are all set!

Local Records Departments

Another great place to get some information on your family is at churches in the area or civil buildings where records are stored. Churches usually have records on patrons and could be very helpful for your research and records departments can give you certified copies of records for use in your research.

Cemeteries Hold A Wealth Of Information

Visiting cemeteries, in the area your family members would be buried in, is a great way to get information about your ancestors. Recently I was visiting my dad where he is buried in Michigan and, while I have been there several times, I discovered a grave close to his of a family member I did not even know was buried in that cemetery. The headstone gave me quite a bit of information I did not have. I was able to obtain the correct full name of the relative, their date of death and birth, the military status and more!

As I walk through cemeteries, I take my phone out and take pictures of each headstone of my relatives and sometimes a few to make sure I can see everything in the photo. Then, when I am completing my research at home, I enlarge the photos on my computer and can enter all the information from the stones into my family tree profile.

Many headstone list birth and death dates, anniversaries and even children and grandchildrens’ names. I have also found that family members are often buried close to other family members and found relatives in this way. As I walk through the cemeteries, I will also take photos of headstones which share the same surname as the names I am researching. i then see if I can find a family connection.

Social Media Is a Great Free Option For Genealogy Research

The best way I have personally found, on how to search for people for free, is to utilize social media. Everyone has a smartphone these days and that very cellphone opens a whole new method for genealogy research online. You have at your fingertips, a totally free way of finding your relatives.

When I first started out with my genealogy research, I made lists of my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, their kids, my siblings and their kids, and everyone else I could think of. I then asked my parents and compiled all the information into a free genealogy site.

I have since taken this information and I use social media to find my relatives I do not know or haven’t seen in many years. It is fairly simple because I have found most people do not have their profiles as private. scary in this day in age, but true. I take the names of people I know in my family tree that I am connected to on say Facebook and then search through their profiles. I look in the About page for relatives added, schools they attended, locations they lived in, their birthday, and whatever else I can find.

I then add the information into my family tree profile and it gives me so many more clues to search for and the ability to find additional ancestors! Each and every clue is a step closer to finding and filling your family tree and Facebook is free!

Free Resources Are Out There!

There are a lot of ways for how to search for people for free if you are willing to devote some time to the task. Paid sites are easier to maneuver and easier to search, but free methods are available. Searching via social media can be a daunting task, but it gives so much information and also you can have a picture to put to the name!

Having a picture of each relative in my family tree profile helps me keep the people separate in my mind. This is especially helpful when two people, like a father and son, share the same name. having a picture helps me keep them straight. It also adds a very real element to the person, that personal touch.

Other ways of searching for free are libraries, civil records departments, churches, free genealogy sites, and cemeteries. If you have found any other methods for researching your family tree for free, I would love to hear all about it below! I have compiled a list of some free genealogy sites, but if there are others you have tried and liked, please let me know! I will gladly check them out and write about them as well!

I hope you have found this information helpful. Please let me know below if you have any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you!

Chas Guevara

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14 thoughts on “How To Search For People For Free – Online Research Made Easy!

  1. Hi Chas. Thanks for the tips. I think I will follow through with searching through social media to begin with. And then that may lead to some of the other free search options that you have mentioned.
    Kind regards
    Andrew

  2. Hi, Chas!

    I thought that you only could do a very basic search for ancestors for free but your post showed me wrong : )

    My old father did a little research but was suggested by a friend to buy some sort of membership to a very expensive genealogy site but he thought it was too much. Do you think he should pay for a tool or go with the free ones or maybe there are some that don’t cost you a fortune?

    Anyway, thanks for a good post!

    Regards, Jan (from Sweden)

    1. Hi Jan,

      I really think the answer is whatever he is comfortable with. For me personally, I have a paid subscription and I pay for 6 months at a time. It comes down to how much time he has to research and how much he is able to spend on the search. I work full-time and I am actually a supervisor so I work crazy long hours. I also go to school full-time and I blog on the side! I am a very busy girl! I choose the paid subscription method because it fits into my lifestyle better.

      If I were a stay at home person, or only worked part-time and didn’t go to school I would absolutely choose a free site over a paid site because I would have the extra time to spend doing my research. There are many avenues to use for searching for free and some that are not very much cost wise.

      I wish him the best with his research and I am always here to help if I can!

  3. Hi Chas,

    Thank you so much. I have often tried to look for old school friends but it seems the names I do recall are not on Facebook. It can be very disappointing. Your article here on how to search for people for free online really has made my research easy and I have renewed hope to begin again.

    I will pop back in if I encounter any difficulties, but with your suggestions here, I am feeling confident. Thank you Chas.

    ~Philip

  4. Thank you such an amazing resource! I’ve been trying to find more about my great, great grandfather because I hear he’s a very knowledgeable and wise man and want to find out what made him so great but I’ve had no such luck. Your tips here seem like the next best option since I haven’t tried social media yet, that is what I’m going to try. Thanks a lot!

    1. You’re welcome Brandon! I hope it helps for you. I very recently came across a whole line of my family that split many years ago when my dad was a boy. his dad moved away from Ky when he was very young leaving his brothers (my dad’s uncles) and other family behind. They moved to Michigan and that side of the family was long lost until we found them on Facebook. It is odd, but interesting that I have this whole other part of my family I never knew existed before. They actually spell their last name differently than my grandfather and father did. I now have a relationship with some of them on Facebook.

      Best of luck with your research! I am here to help in any way I can!

  5. Wow, I never thought about how many free resources there are.. now I am going to see how far I can trace my family back! Who knows maybe I am related to some historic icon!

    1. Hi Zack,

      There are so many resources out there it would take forever to talk about them all and many are free. It is very interesting looking into your family tree and seeing what you can find out. I have gone back to about 5 generations on my dad’s side and I think 4 on my mom’s side. I also research my husband’s which is a whole new level!

      Best of luck with your research! I am always to help if there is anything I can do, please let me know.

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