The new series of Long Lost Family started on ITV last night, so I thought now would be a good time to look at how we go about tracing long lost family members for members for the public.

This article has been written by David Oates, one of the UK’s leading experts at finding long lost family members.

I love sitting down to watch Long Lost Family, if Julie doesn’t insist on making me watch Glee!  I watch it from both a professional point of view but also a personal one, it’s just a great TV show. I love telling people what I do for a living, they used to say ‘like Heir Hunters’ but now they say ‘like Long Lost Family’

long lost family 3 - tv series

It’s really interesting that we always see an influx of requests that directly mention the TV show around this time. Personally I think this is because of the emotion that it so evident to see when watching the program. This must stir so many emotions in so many people who are watching and this motivates people to find a service that can help them find family members that are missing from their own life.

There are many companies that do what we do here at People Tracing Experts but just not as well, they just grab money and don’t really give much thought for the people involved and that makes me sad. When I work a case I feel an enormous sense of responsibility, knowing that I can help people get back in touch with their long lost family. It’s a privilege to help but not something that should be taken lightly, as you can see from the TV show this can be a very emotional time and if someone is willing to let us trace that person then that trust cannot be broken.

The moment that they meet on the TV is the same as when I phone people and tell them that I have found their missing family, I really recognise these emotions of happiness.

I think a lot of people want to track down a family member but many people live in the belief that it is not possible to trace the person they have lost touch with, then they see Long Lost Family the TV show, at that stage it becomes possible in their minds and thats why we see such an influx of work coming in.

Hopefully, people choose us once they have seen long lost family as we do exactly the same work, just not on TV…yet!

Just like the TV show, we use systems and databases to locate people before phoning them to confirm that we have the correct person, at that time, we report our findings back to our customer and then phone them to give them the news. Finding missing family members is all about us getting the right data, that’s why we have our team on hand to go through the details of each case, asking the correct questions to give is the highest chance of success.  Our success rate with the correct information is now over 90% and this is down to the hard work of our team of committed people trying desperately hard to track down every single person we are asked to trace.

On a good day we can trace up to 20 missing family members so a large proportion of my role here at People Tracing Experts is speaking to customers to give them the news of their search. As you can imagine after watching the TV show this is emotional time and more than once I have been left feeling incredibly humble to be passing on this news and reuniting families. I feel privileged when people trust us enough to track down one of their long lost family and its critical for us to provide the best possible service and support to help every single person.

It’s wonderful to be able to help people realise a life time dream which can be difficult for some people to do as they naturally put obstacles in their own way. The fear of rejection can be overwhelming and some of the people we work for have thought about tracing a family member for years before actually plucking up the courage to do so.

Ours is a personal service and we try our best to find every single person as we appreciate how much it matters to the person that has requested the search.

Using us is easy, we get many requests and each one is treated with the same dignity and discretion. We can often find people who we are looking for within a matter of days.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading an insight into a professional researcher’s point of view regarding finding long lost family members.