How To Trace A Person
If you are trying to trace a person you have lost touch with the team at the People Location Tracing Agency have put together a “DO IT YOURSELF” guide to people tracing

This guide will give you some ideas on how to trace people who you know some details about such as, a full or partial name, or you can find out these details from publicly available methods.

If you’re looking for someone who is adopted, some chap you saw on the bus yesterday who listens to punk rock and likes pink socks, or that pretty blonde from the pub last week that you got chatting to and never got her name, think again. This probably won’t help with that! Without a good footing to start from, such as a name, and age, family details, or anything tangible that can say, this is the right person because of X, Y, or Z reasons.

Without something specific to work with you will end up with hundreds of possible matches that you simply can't rule in or out.

So, you will need some basic details. This can be a name, a partial name, and an Idea of their age, or who their family may be, mother, father, or siblings. These can often be factors that give you a highly probable candidate from which to base your search.

If you think you have enough to start then read our DIY guide on people tracing for the novice.

If all else fails speak to our team of experts on 0208 390 1703

How To Trace A Person With Expert Help

How to trace a person
Learn How To Trace A Person With Expert Help


If you feel that you are a bit of a closet detective, then you may be thinking of undertaking your person trace yourself. There are many pros and cons to undertaking your own search. The main pros are costs, its much cheaper than hiring a professional, or many may think so! The main con is, its time consuming and you may end up spending money chasing the wrong person or, the worst case ends up in you contacting the wrong person altogether! And if you don’t reach the end goal it can be deflating, to say the least! Money time and effort down the drain! You may end up having to start again or turn to a people tracing service or tracing agent take over. We have seen this plenty of times. Plenty of new client’s say to us “I should do your job I’m great a bit of a sleuth with an eye for detail, look what I have found already”

Client data that has been supplied to us from DIY people tracing has a wide range of accuracy and we’re glad to say that most of them do a great job to get the details they have. However, we do get the odd ones who have put 2 and 2 together and ended up with 5! What I mean is, sometimes the lack of experience, the lack of tools and the lack of expertise ends up with miss-matching details which can send them off in the wrong direction completely. When this does happen, it usually doesn’t take us too long to see where they are going wrong but, that said, there have been one or two that have me stumped. “how did they make that assumption” sort of thing!

So, if it’s a relatively low-level search you may well be able to take on the task. When I say low-level I mean, you have a good level of detail to work with. The name of the person you are searching for is not too common. You have some leads already. And you have plenty of time.

Some of the issues that you may face are

Lack of current name data

If you are trying to trace a person who has undergone a name change for whatever reason don’t think you will be able to link that name to a current name easily. This can be costly on voters checks or 192 searches. If the name change is through marriage, then certificate searches can cost £100’s as you won’t know if it’s right person until you check the details on the certificate.

Lack of a full birthdate or exact age

Many online searches that are credit paid only give an age bracket, such as 45-60 or 25-30. And even if you do manage to locate the exact birthdate by ordering the certificate or checking paperwork matching that up to your person won’t always be simple.

Lack of resources

You may be able to use online, credit paid searches to undergo many of the address sweeps but cross-checking them to ensure it’s the right person and not simply someone who is about the same age with the same name is difficult. You may need to reach out to them one at a time to find out if it’s the right person you are trying to trace or not.

Lack of expertise

As with all things in life when you don’t have the training doing the task yourself can be somewhat of a minefield. At the People Location Tracing Agency, our team is fully trained with decades of on the job experience and the right tools at hand to do the job for you. What may take you weeks or months to do yourself may take a team member a few hours or days to complete. So you may want to keep this in mind.

Lack of budget

I know I know, you want to save money not lose it! That’s why you’re trying to find out how to a person trace yourself. But we have to tell you that these searches can rank up the costs if you don’t have the tools. You may need to pay for birth, death or marriage certificates, electoral roll searches, title deeds or use online credit paid searches that seem cheap at first, until you need to spend more and more and…., well you get the idea.

Right, that’s enough of the doom and gloom about do it yourself people tracing, let’s get down to business!

We have listed below the best methods to trace person using basic tools that are available to everyone.


How to Trace A Person ( A DIY GUIDE )

1, Know your data

Get as much data about your person you are trying to trace as you can. Write them down or even better type them up on your PC, Mac or laptop. We wouldn’t recommend using a small screen mobile as you will probably need to back and forth quite a bit. I suggest you create a file and keep it all in there.

List out their name, if they have any nicknames or married names.

Do you know their date of birth? Do you know their age?

Do you know any old addresses or areas they lived in?

Do you know if they are married and who they are married to?

Do they have any children, especially children who are over 18 years old?

Do you know what line of business they were or are in?

Do you know any phone numbers or email addresses for them?

Do you know who they may know or any of their family details?

Anything else you think may be relevant, did they win a judo championship or play for the local football team? These are things that can help confirming you are on the right track later.

2, Internet searches Google, Bing

Great, you now have your file set up and are ready to start searching. Pop the names of the person you are trying to trace into google and see what results are returned. Do any of the results mention any of the other relevant data you have?

Example, (JOHN SMITH, JUDO CHAMPION 2009-2011.) This article may well be you person does it mention a place where he trained? Does it have a contact phone number?

Example, (JOHN SMITH ROOFING AND CHIMNEY REPAIRS SCUNTHORPE) Is this him? Does it mention phone numbers or tracing addresses?

I’m sure you get the idea. Cross check the results of the search with what you know.

You may also want to narrow down search results by being specific with some of the details

Example (“JOHN SMITH” “SCUNTHORPE” “ROOF REPAIR”) putting specifics in “speech marks” will let Google know you are specifying these words.

You will also need to variate the names


3, Social Media

It’s a bit of a simple one but an effective one. The Google searches may throw up social media and you may be able to ID them through their profile image.

Check their friends and family if they don’t pop up on social media you may be able to find someone else they know on their so look for their spouse, their company or their other family on there. You may the person you are tracing on a friends list or you may simply be able to message them and ask them to pass on a message.

Don’t forget to look under nicknames, alias names, and name variants.

4, Electoral roll

Checking the electoral roll is free via the local borough. If not, there are many online credit paid searches that offer electoral roll searches. Again, cross check your data, see who they live with and if the people connected to your person appear. Remember the electoral roll has two versions, the full version, which is only available to the government, and the edited version. That’s the one you and I see. So just because a person is not on the electoral roll it doesn’t mean they can’t vote or they have left the UK. They may have opted out of the public version.

5, Certificate trawls and index searches

It may be a bit tricky for the novice, if the person you are looking for may have married you may need to check the GRO index. You may also need to get a copy of the certificate to confirm it is the right person. Depending on what you know about the person you are trying to trace, the certificate can unlock data you didn’t know before. It can help in progressing your search to an end. Be prepared you may stumble across a record of death. Again, you will need the certificates to know if it is the person you are trying to trace.

6, Probate & Wills

If you are trying to trace a person who may have passed away Probate & Wills  may help in confirming the death. But, if you think a close relative has died it may be worth looking for them too. Wills may hold up to date addresses of beneficiaries You will need to send off for a copy of the will to see if the person you tracing is mentioned.

7, Companies House

It’s a box worth ticking. If you think the person has a ltd company or may have been involved with one its worth checking the register of directors. Company house filings do hold addresses for their appointees and it may well be a current home address. It may show an accountant or registered office. If you write to the address a letter may well be passed on if they have the ability to do so.

8, Look for people they know

You may find it easier to trace a person they know and ask them to put you in touch. So, if they have a brother or sister it may well be worth going through the same motions to see if you can locate them. Again, if they have the ability, and are willing, they can pass on a message or letter for you.

Happy Hunting. We know that if you reach that end goal it can give you a real feeling of achievement. You never know maybe you’re in the wrong business! We wish you the very best of luck with your searches and we hope our pointers were helpful

If all this fails and you still want to get in touch it may well be worth calling one of our team here. We will be happy to help in any way we can.

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Why Not Ask one of our team to trace your person?

Fill in our online form or call us on 0208 390 1703