AfriGeneas Saturday Night Chat Log - 11 Oct 2003

Saturday October 11 2003
9:PM Eastern Time
AfriGeneas Chat Center

Finding Relatives Using Private Investigator Methods
Larry P. Williams Presenting

lfm :Welcome Larry!!

lfm :Good evening everyone... glad you could make it for this special chat with Mr. Larry Williams

lwilliams :Thank you for the opportunity to discuss locating those long lost living relatives.

lfm :Larry, is there anything you would like to say before we open the floor for questions?

lwilliams :Yes, maybe send my short bio.

lwilliams :I find missing persons - people who have disappeared for a variety of reasons. Some times those persons have left their families many, many years ago. Sometimes the reason is family disputes. But most of the time my clients have learned that many years ago someone left to "pass" for white.

Doll :I'm trying to find a sister--I posted on several website boards

lwilliams :The first step is to do all the tasks one does to develop a family chart. Most quests are aided by visiting old court houses and finding old marriage records, obits, police and fire reports, etc. Once the relative that left the family long aog is identified, the problem is less one of genealogy but one of a missing persons inquiry. Census records, voting records, criss - cross directories and telephone books are the best sources to reconstruct the order of descendants.

lfm :Larry, does this same technique work for 'current' day relatives you've lost? Let's say within the last 30 years!

vicky :what if you dont have a social security number? like Doll, I am trying to find living persons I think. my x hubbys natural parents

lfm :This would be a 'missing person' - not one that you would find through a genealogical search, right?

lwilliams :Yes. However, the mission is to look in places where records of the living will be found such as obit. if I were looking for your living relatives and learned that your great grand parents died in the 40's, an obit would of course provide the names of there descendants living at the time of death. Succession or estate files, divorce records, will aid in identifying immediate descendants.

Doll :Mine is not necessarily a missing person. I never met this person.I do know, where she was born, approx dob, and her first name

lwilliams :Correct. However, as it relates to your ancestors, the person is missing

Doll :Yes, missing from my family lineage

lfm :So, are you saying that we would follow the same procedures to find living relatives as those for locating ancestors?

Doll :yes, i would like to

lwilliams :So, to complete your list of collateral relatives, you will need to find the descendants of the missing branch.

vicky :I found a few siblings in the 1930 census but from there nothing

Doll :I know she is my father's child, but I do not recall her mother's name

vicky :also have a bc of x that lists an old address but no links after 1943

lwilliams :Under those circumstances, I would check local obits and burial records. But my goal would be to ascertain who arranged the burial and paid for the obit. Because I am interested in the living not the dead.

vicky :same here larry but without a SS number how could one proceed?

lwilliams :Using the old address, locate it in a criss - cross directory such as Polk's. Make a list of all neighbors and trace them through the latest Polk's until you find someone related to the neighbors. Then interview the persons about your relatives who lives in their block or apartment. I locate SSN through accident reports, police reports, employment records and traffic tickets in you jurisdiction records SSNs on those documents.

Doll :Is there anyway to trace a lviing person based soley on a dob?

lwilliams :Yes. The best method is through the credit reporting agencies and employment records of deceased persons. It is easire to acquire records of a person if the person is deceased and therefore has no privact rights.

Doll :How would one contact the credit reporting agencies?

lwilliams :Locate the web address or use your local telephone book. have in you possession a certified death certificate and ask for the credit header not the full report. Also, a part of being and effective private investigator in having well placed sources. But, we've all heard of adoptees who locate natural relatives and vice versa, so one need not be a PI to locate lost persons. Sat Oct The important part is to start with obits, identify all person listed, look them up in a directory and work forward through successive directories. Voting records are public in Louisiana.

lfm :Larry, you mentioned several public records - are voting records public? As are property (tax) records... anything that can place a living person in a location at a point in time, right?

Doll :What if you are unsure if the person is dead or alive?

lwilliams :Establishing any address is crucial. Property sales, accident reports, divorce and litigation or law suit records will lead to such information as employment, relatives, childrens, persons who signed as witnesses, in -laws. As you continue your search, whether the person is living or dead, it will lead to person connected to the death. Persons or friends who arranged or attend the deceased's funeral. Funeral home records of pall bearers or person picked up by the limo to be driven to the funeral services. All my have been in touch with relatives of the deceased not listed in the obit. This method is very good for locating those persons appearing in census records then vanishing.

lfm :It is about time to wind down - one last question?

vkn :Just to comment on a thorough presentation.

lfm :Yes, I agree. Thank you Larry for some excellent tips on finding 'lost' relatives.

lwilliams :my e-mail address is, my fax is 504-244-3492, telephone 504-552-9244

vkn :clap clap clap

reneebb :Got here late, but got a great idea!! thank you thank you

Crystal :thank you larry

lfm :Thanks, Larry BRAVO bravo bravo clap clap clap

lwilliams :Thank you for the chat

vicky :I appreciate the advice larry thanks very much

vkn :Please chat with us again will you

lfm :Okay...

vicky :vkn dont forget to send me a copy of log

vkn :yes

vkn :will try and get it posted tomorrow

lfm :And larry is very good about responding to emails, etc.

vicky :I wanted to ask if he handled out of staters

lfm :I will ask him to return another time. Thanks all!

vkn :Good very good

vicky :Lfm thanks I was waiting on this one lol

lfm :You're welcome to sit and chat awhile longer...

vkn :Lynda do you think we could get him to respond to queries to the board? I mean specific to his area of expertise

lfm :I will see - it's worth a shot :)

vicky :would that be the main board vkn?

vkn :yes I think so vicky

lfm :I think it can be a win-win situation

vicky :me toolfm that would be great well gotta go ladies see ya soon

vkn :Well let us work up a proposal to him

lfm :Good... Okay vkn - let's do that We'll talk later - I think this has potential!

Crystal :good night

lynda :Doll, did you get answers?

Doll :Some what-- but not entirely I think he opened my eyes to some resources that I never thought about

lynda :Perhaps you can explain just a little more? You have a dob but no name?

Doll :like the credit reporting agency I have a first name--no last name and a dob

lynda :Do you have a location for the birth? state?

Doll :yes, Tuskegee, AL

lynda :Then... you should be able to use some of the tools Larry mentioned. I'm not sure about alabama, but the Texas State Archives has birth records by DATE in a book for all to browse - up to the 1990's

Doll :she was born in the late 40's, thus no census records available I don't recall her mother's name

lynda :Did she attend schools in the area? Tuskegee? Year books...

Doll :I beleive she graduated in Tuskegee--I remember seeing her grad picture

lynda :You can look at old yearbooks, Alumni associations - get surname Also look at to see if she registered - once you have the surname from the yearbook

Doll :Great advice Lynda! I will have to look into this!!

lynda :Good... Larry mentioned that to me (thanks, larry!)

Doll :I do have my information in

lynda :Keep us informed - I'm sure we can come up with some more ideas ...

Doll : this is a link to another missing relative -- can you provide any more research leads?

lynda : Let me take a look - can I get your addy? (email)

Doll :There is email link on page or

lynda : Great !! I'll look at it tonight and get back with you - I'm sure there are a few things I can come up with [but I know you've tried most of them!]

Doll :Thanks for your help and have a good one!

lynda : Never know though. Sometimes a new set of eyes can get you going again (from personal experience)

lynda :Good night -

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