The Gross-Steinberg Family Tree presents:

Skiptracing Dead Relatives

by James Gross

Hi there,
Are you trying to find that deceased relative and you are at a dead end? Get in line. Everyone else is baffled as well. Here are a few ideas that will possibly get you some results.

1) To start off you really have to limit the search to a few people. In the case of Morris Steinberg, I knew that he had come over to Phila in 1900 at age 3. How did I know this? I found the naturalization papers for his father at the national archives in Phila. OK. Lets be fair. YOU may not have any such records. If you have an uncommon surname you have a decent chance of narrowing things down. If you have some records it makes things that much easier.

Not to be morbid or anything, I usually try to search from the grave on backwards. If I can find a grave, I usually will have enough info to get a death certificate and possible get some c/o info out of the cemetary office. This c/o info depends on the weather. If its a stormy day forget about any help. How do I get to the grave?

2) A Very useful tool that I've been using for some time now is the LDS Mormon Ancestry Social Security database. (see link below)...






This allows you to search using various parameters. It isn't 100% accurate, as it only lists people who had survivor benefits paid, but its very helpful and useful. I use this database to give me a few choices for possible matches. i can then turn to the library and pull an obituary to see if the siblings or spouse match.

3) This research takes some time. It helps if you have access to old city directories and/ or phonebooks to try and narrow down your subject. Most major public libraries have various papers in hardcopy or microfilm. As most of my deaths are in the phila area, I know what my local library has in the way of the Phila Inquirer & Phila Daily Bulletin. I also know where to find older copies of these papers. It is helpful to make a decent reference list for yourself as you will be constantly driving on the same road.

4) Some other skiptracing tools:

555-1212: Skip Trace via the Web!

555-1212 Directory appears to be a very good search engine. You can search for people by phone number, name, and more. I was very surprised and impressed!

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