Finding lost relatives who are abroad - whats best a professional company or online searches?

Hello ,
I am in the process of trying to track down some long lost relatives . I have used a  few online resources ( findmypassed.com etc) I have only have limited success or far . The trail has gone a bit cold . I believe that they may have gone to Africa  as these is a record of this but no record of their return. 
Currently I am weighing up the options of either continuing my online search with various resources or getting a professional company to do the searching for me.

The way I see the situation currently is that I could continue signing up to various sites and other bodies and searching this way. But as I have no experience doing this i`m not convinced this is a good use of time and money as you can very quickly end up signing up to lots of companies and other resources and the cost will spiral.

I`m thinking a company who who specialise in this kind of thing would be a better bet as they would have access to all the correct resource and know how and where to look. It will cost money but I would think that I am lightly to get better results.

What are peoples experiences with this ?

Thank you 

Comments

  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,462
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    Has your "Findmypast" search included familysearch? I found several lots who emigrated to southern Africa. Might only be a death record, but South African ones include the names of children (including married names if appropriate). Another record covered police service in colonial Africa.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • aalleexx
    aalleexx Posts: 20
    First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    Thanks , I did have a look at the family search and I didnt get any results

  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,230
    First Post Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary
    Forumite
    If you need to find them for legal reasons (eg intestate estate) then I suspect you need either success finding these people or documentation of professionals failing to trace them.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • Runner_Duck
    Runner_Duck Posts: 22
    First Post
    Forumite
    How long ago did you 'lose' these relatives?
    If they went to South Africa you might mind a marriage or death in this database GenDatabase.com - South African Genealogy & Research. It's free to search; to view the results you have to pay but you can pay for a day, week, month etc.
    Newspapers can be a good source of information - it helps if the family name is not a really common one.  Assume you've tried Google, if the name appears in a tree that someone has posted on line then you should get a hit and that could give you a starting point
  • MobileSaver
    MobileSaver Posts: 4,150
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    aalleexx said:
    you can very quickly end up signing up to lots of companies and other resources and the cost will spiral. ... It will cost money but I would think that I am lightly to get better results.

    What are peoples experiences with this ?
    I think a pertinent question is why are you trying to track down these relatives? 
    As @theoretica hinted at, the answer to that question may well point to alternative solutions and suggestions for your predicament.
    Every generation blames the one before...
    Mike + The Mechanics - The Living Years
  • aalleexx
    aalleexx Posts: 20
    First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    Hello , thank you for your comments so far.To give a little bit more history .My mother was adopted in 1944 during the war . She had two older sisters born in 1940-42 . The father of her two older sister died and her mother from what I can tell remarried quickly and my mother was adopted off at birth.I can t find much information about them after this . I`m guessing that there was a seperation with the new husband as  I did see some thing on "find my passed" that the three of them boarded ship to africa in 1950 , but nothing on their return or any other information sine then. 
    Im not looking at this for financial reasons it is purely to track down relatives. 

    hope this helps !



  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,821
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    I was trying to see if there were any helplines attached to 'Born from the Same Stranger' on ITV, but wasn't obvious. And this isn't that situation, but have you registered your DNA anywhere? That's throwing up all kinds of connections. for good or ill! 

    I did find https://relativeconnections.co.uk/ who say they've worked with Family Finders on BBC, and there will be other organisations out there. I think you'll have to balance your time and effort and what it's costing against the cost of using professionals: your DNA might immediately find cousins etc, or it might not. That ITV programme did use a professional company, don't remember name, I think they said it was a genetic genealogist who was able to identify relatives. 

    If you ENJOY the tracing, then that's an argument for carrying on alone, but I'd recommend the DNA. If you're just frustrated by the lack of results, then paying a professional would be worthwhile. 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,462
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    I was also going to suggest DNA testing. The largest Caucasian database is on Ancestry and they don't allow transfers in, but many of the other sites allow uploads of Ancestry files. Cost £60 ish if you get it during one of the better discount offers.

    They split the results into maternal and paternal, which reduces the number of matches you need to pursue. It can work very well and it can be problematic. The core issue is that if you have a family which had very few children in each generation and many didn't have grandchildren, there may only be a few people world wide who might match you. So a lot depends if they've tested and tested with the same provider. 

    My own experience is that two branches are well represented, in another a 4th cousin is the closest match but there was a known genetic bottleneck and even that's proved useful. Of the three brick walls, two were solved, but another appeared when matches didn't support the wide spread documented tree. 

    So you might be lucky, and you might not.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • aalleexx
    aalleexx Posts: 20
    First Post First Anniversary
    Forumite
    Hi All Than you for your comments , they do give me more to think about
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards