Family History: Do You Know Where You Came From?

Family HistoryThanks to modern technology and the plethora of family research sites and databases, the average person is able to explore where they came from and delve into their family history. Many people are finding their way back to their first ancestors that stepped foot in the United States and others are even going beyond that, back to the country from which their ancestors came.

In the past, this research was done by book or long hours of searching public records at county and city buildings. Today, the same records are being accessed, but can be done without ever leaving your home. Database searches can be done on birth records, death records, a ship’s passenger list, census records that have been made public, marriage records, immigration records, and military records. All of the records provided are complements of the contributions by individuals, companies, and governments. There are, of course, many other criteria that can be searched as well.

With all of the sites available online, a person can get overwhelmed with choosing the right one. One tip is that there are many free sites available, so it is not necessary to pay for the information. If you are not finding what you are looking for on one site, try another. You might even ask friends or family what sites they’ve used.

You will be amazed at the information that can be found. I’ve personally heard stories about people finding out a great, great grandparent was a totally different race than what they were led to believe or what they family thought their nationality was, someone that found out that an older sibling wasn’t from the same father, and someone that found out the person they thought was their father actually wasn’t. Many people that were adopted have also been able to track down their biological parents or siblings through searches.

This information and these sites are not just useful to a person searching where they came from, but it is also a great tool for historians and genealogists. Historians and genealogists use the information they find for studies and also to write books on historic figures.

Free Informational Sites:

  1. This link for will provide census information from 1790-1940. There are also government sites that can provide census information for specific years.:–Ci7oCFQZyQgodyRQAAQ&o_xid=21837&o_lid=21837&o_sch=Search
  2. The World Connect Project will not only provided the user with information, but also allows them to share useful information that they have on the family tree through modifying, linking, and uploading information for future researchers:
  3. HeritageQuest is a free database; however, searching cannot be done with free reign. A person must get access to free online searching by getting a membership card from a local library. The site includes digital images of the federal census for the years 1790-1930, Revolutionary War pension files, a variety of family history books, and many articles from periodicals, as well as genealogical journals:
  4. The Bureau of Land Management, a branch of the U.S. Department of Interior, provides free database searches on Federal land records. As well as providing the information, a user might be able to capture an image of a land title record, depending on the state being searched. A search will also turn up the actual land patent record; the user can then request a certified copy to be sent to them.  (With the recent government shutdowns, this page is currently unavailable, but will return to a working status when operations continue.)
  5. WordGenWeb provides databases from around the world. A user searches by a country, province, region, or state and a page will return queries that link to free online searches for that particular area.

Through genealogy searches, people have uncovered many interesting facts about their family history. Some good, some surprising, and some shocking, but nonetheless, the information is there to be had. Another interesting site that exhibits the work of what people have uncovered is: This site contains genealogy biographies from people that have done their research and are sharing their stories. The site allows the user to search by a surname, name, or location to find a biography. The authors of the biographies often leave their contact information along with their story in hopes that they will discover other family members.

There are shows airing on television that track the family roots of celebrities, there are talk shows that have reunited long lost family members, and compelling books that have been written revealing both heartfelt and shocking stories. There are so many ways to discover where you came from. The data that is available at our fingertips is limitless.


I have the SSN for someone can you find them?

I have the SSN for someone can you find them?

Q. I have the SSN for someone can you find them?

A. This is a question we get all the time. We usually request a little more information because the Private investigators that provide their services to have several different searches that would answer this question. We will discuss some of the differences below.


  • A Basic People Search By name, address or SSN:
    A good basic and inexpensive search and is conducted manually (unlike our automated instant people search that lets you connect to several proprietary database systems and search using name).

When the investigator conducts this search your report includes records from up to six (6) different sources compiled into one easy to read report. It includes any names & any aliases found associated to your subject’s SSN.

It also includes the most currently reported address first, then all associated address history (included all previous addresses found, some going back as far as 1980’s).

Why this search:
I recommend this search if you are looking for an old friend or researching family history (if you only have a name this search works well too). This search is a great “jumping off” place to see what information is out there and associated with the name and/or SSN you have.

Unfortunately, the last reported address found is not always going to be the current residence of your subject. However, if you are not sure what state someone lives in or has been in for the last 10 – 20 years, or if you think they are not the kind of person to move around a lot, this would be the most cost effective search for your purposes and includes a lot of info.

This search can often lead to more successful searches on your own given the amount of information it will reveal about your subject if you don’t have much to start with.

Often times, you can send mail to the addresses provided and request forwarding information from the post office or write a note on the outside of the envelope for current residents to open and ask if they know of your subject’s whereabouts and leave your address or phone number where they can reach you to help in your pursuit.

  • Find Phone Number & Address:
    A better intermediate level search.
    This search is considered the next best search after a basic search above, as it costs a bit more due to the amount of time, effort and additional expense the investigators have to go through.This search has two options:
    a. Search with your subject’s SSN. I recommend this for people in a hurry to locate someone such as if there was a death in the family and you can’t find accurate or current information elsewhere about relatives and you need to contact them to make them aware of arrangements. Also, if you have used the basic search and the address was not current, this search is the logical next step. This search is often used by children looking for biological parents, family members & friends looking to reconnect. We’ve even had several gentlemen use it to find their significant others father to request her hand in marriage.
    b. Search without your subject’s SSN is designed so that your assigned investigator will locate an SSN if one has not been provided. With either search your assigned investigator will check to see if there are any public utilities located in your subjects name. This is not the same as the guaranteed address search that is verified, however, generally speaking if someone has electricity or other utilities in their name at a specific address they more than likely live there, are the landlord of the address, or someone residing at the address knows the person paying the bills. This search does take longer than the basic search (about 7 business days to complete).
  • Guaranteed Current Address Search:
    Our Best People Search. This search is unlike any search on the Internet today. This is our most comprehensive search and our competitors know it. Often copied never duplicated. This search provides verbal verification by your assigned investigator that your subject lives at the address given in your final report. This search takes 18-22 business days to complete due the comprehensive nature of this search and the verification process. Once an address is located for your subject it is then personally verified by your assigned private investigator. It is an intensive and extensive search. This search is most frequently used by Process Servers, attorneys, and individuals seeking to locate an address for other legal purposes where a current address is a must.

    Because it is such an intensive search and it does take longer to complete, the results are guaranteed correct on the date of the report.

    This is the most costly of the people search searches due to the work required by your assigned investigator. The investigators have assisted many people in reuniting with family & friends as well as to serve individuals with legal paperwork, locating debtors to collect on judgments and for many other matters. We have a lot of repeat law firms that rely on this search for their everyday needs.


We hope this blog helps you understand some of the different ways to locate someone using a name or Social Security Number. Best People Search has a search for every situation & budget. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re frustrated by all the online scams and phony “people search consumer-review sites” and have wasted money with other sites that don’t even post a customer service phone number or contact address we welcome you t
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is President and CEO of Intelligent eCommerce, Inc. and the founder of Bestpeoplesearch is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.