Old letters might provide clues.

How to Find Siblings of a Deceased Parent

by Debra Pachucki

Siblings of a deceased person can be more difficult to find than other relatives. This is because oftentimes, there are no official records that legally recognize or certify a sibling relationship between two or more people. This is not to say, however, that siblings are impossible to find. Expand your search in multiple directions to acquire as much information as you can.

1. Write to Relatives

The people closest to your parents make the best sources for personal information. If your deceased parent has any known surviving siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins, get in touch and ask if they have any information on your aunts' or uncles' current location or last known whereabouts. The more relatives you ask, the better. If you can piece enough information together, you might solve the mystery.

2. People Searches

One of the benefits of today's technology is the capability to put people from around the world in close contact. Many websites, online services and software packages help you piece together your family tree. Other websites allow users to complete people searches and background checks that might locate your aunts or uncles. Even a simple search-engine inquiry has the potential to yield clues or information that can bring you one step closer to finding your parent's siblings. Start by typing in your parent's name with specific keywords such as sibling names (if known), "family tree," "brothers and sisters" or "surviving relatives."

3. Search Records

Public and private records are a useful, reliable source for obtaining information about next of kin and other relatives. Inspect your parent's birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, loan applications or other records to obtain names or pictures of any siblings mentioned or relatives that might have information about them. Census records are another fruitful resource. They let you see where your parents' or grandparents' family lived, how your grandfather's occupation was described, how many children lived in the household and other snapshots of family history that can provide important clues about your genealogy. Archived newspaper articles, obituaries and announcements, as well as public records from the Department of Vital Statistics, might also yield names of your parent's siblings. Don't forget to search family adoption records, if possible. They might include identifying information about birth relatives, including siblings. A simple Internet search might help you connect a face or name with a location or contact information.

4. Examine Keepsakes

Go through scrapbooks, photo albums, treasured letters and other personal keepsakes. These relics provide a meaningful way to reconnect with and honor the deceased. They might also hold important clues about other family members. Perhaps there is an obscure family photo from your mother's childhood worth studying, or an old postcard that reveals the name of your long lost aunt or uncle.

About the Author

Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.

Photo Credits

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