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Finding People For Free With Help From The U.S. Post Office

Finding People Free Post Office Search

Some of our more experienced investigators at OmniTrace (we mean our old guys!  :D ) were finding people and lost birth family members long before the Internet was around.  They used some great, free people finding resources that are now, unfortunately, very much overlooked and underused.

The United States Post Office is one of the best resources for finding people for free.  In many instances, when beginning your people search, you will have an old address of the person you are trying to find.  This old address might be:

  • The old address of your best friend’s parents when you were in high school together.
  • The old address of a friend you used to keep in touch with by regular mail.
  •  The old address where your birth mother resided when you were given up for adoption.
  • The old address of the adopting parents before your child was given up for adoption.
  • The address of a debtor from where they once made scheduled payments.
  • The address that a prospective date gave you while out at a club.
  • The address provided to you by an old military buddy when your military service was completed.

Are we overdoing our examples?  Are you catching our drift here?  Okay we are moving on now!  ;)

When you send a letter to an old address and it comes back undeliverable, that’s where your people finding adventure really begins.  So, make sure you take the important step of sending a letter to any old address you have on the subject before you move on to other people finding methods–no matter how old the address might be!

[Please note:  One reason we instruct you to send a letter, no matter how old the address might be, is that your letter may be received by someone currently at the address who knows the subject (e.g., the current resident may have purchased the property from the subject or they may have been a former neighbor or they might be a relative).]

Before sending your letter, make sure you write “Address Service Requested” on the outside of the envelope.  That way, the post office will forward your letter if a forwarding address exists.   The post office will also send you the new address.

(You should place the “Address Service Requested” directly underneath your return address or to the left of the postage stamp or underneath the postage stamp.)  So many choices!  :)

If your letter is returned by the post office, there might not have been a forwarding address or the forwarding address was simply too old and no longer on record.

The post office will typically let you know the reason your letter wasn’t forwarded (you’ll find this on the outside of the returned envelope).   Some undeliverable messages you might receive are:  “Attempted, Not Known” or “Moved, Left No Address.”  These simply mean that no forwarding address was left by the subject.

You might receive a message such as:  “Refused.” This just means that your letter was refused by the current resident.

You might receive a messages such as:  “Insufficient Address, or “No Such Street,” or “No Such Street Number.”  In these instances, try calling directory assistance (please read our post: Find People With Directory Assistance) and ask for an address verification.  Or, call the post office in the town where you sent your letter and ask for assistance.  Perhaps a street has been renamed or a number for a particular address has changed.   Also, a postal carrier may know the current and prior residents of a particular address and provide you valuable people finding information (such as when the subject moved or employement information on the subject).

Finally, if the address where you are mailing is a Post Office Box, the postmaster will provide you with the physical address of the renter of the box if it is used for business purposes.

We hope this post gives you some insight on how the United States Post Office can be a great resource for finding people for free.

Please write us if you have any questions!

Find Your Birth Family

There are 63 Comments

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  1. Mary Bryant says:

    Hi! i’m new on here and i have been trying to find my half brother. Joe Lee Bryantjr. he was 10 years old when he was adopted .he was born on April 9th but do not know the year.he has black hair eyes are brown . his dads name is also joe lee bryant.was told by one of my cusins david or paul rowden that he had whent to ucla. that is as far as i know about him our mom her name is carolyn s. griffith at the time her last name was bryant told me she was told he had died on a motor bike. but i would like to find out if he is still a live and if he would like to see his birth family. i am his baby sister half any way he was also born in st. johns hospital. here in Springfield,mo. and if any one had gone to ucla and that would have known him or remember him talking about being adopted if he was told that he was i belive family is verry important.

  2. Heidi says:

    Hi,
    Do you have any suggestions as to how I can locate someone having only their first name and their 16yr. Old address? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Bill H says:

      Hi, I am looking for a long lost friend, Deb Cobb, whose last (1983)address known to me was 103-D Church Street, Charleston, SC

  3. Nina S says:

    Hi,

    I am looking for a long lost friend, his name is Calvin, Filipino, 30-35 yrs old and last known
    address 5599 Langport Ave #6 LongBeach, CA 90805. The address is about 10-15 yrs, old. Please help me find him?

    Thank You

  4. Marcie says:

    I am looking for my child born June 12 1969 in a hospital in Greer, SC.

  5. CHRIS BENNETT says:

    Hi i am on here trying to find my father DONALD EVENS ive not seem him for 21 yrs his last known place was knowle west bristol but he comes from wales he was or is a shop fitter and would be around late 60s early 70s he used to drive a swilver ford but that is all i no about him plz if yr him or no him plz help

  6. Renita says:

    Hi my name is Renita hill maiden name Chaney. I recently found out that the woman I have known as my mother for 35 years is not my biological mother. The only info I have is she lived on penn ave in the same apartment complex in Pittsburgh pa. I was born on September 11,1967. My father’s name is Jerome Anthony Chaney. If anyone knows of any information regarding my mother I would appreciate the help in my search. Thank you

  7. mary jane thompsom says:

    i am looking for my brother richard wayne cooper..my name is mary jane thompson…he got adopted out to a cop in jefferson couty w.v by the name sherriff guardeNian..and then redopted by another family…he is 44 years old born july 25 1969!i been searching for years…but got money problem..he came and found his bilogical parents when he was 18 but i was up for adoptions then and didnt get to see him..i am very ill and my wish is to keep looking to find him…thats all i want for christmas…i was told i dont have to many years left…god please bring my angle to me…been waiting for it…someone please helpthank you ..god bless

  8. May says:

    6 years ago, my family had an exchange student. I’ve been trying to contact her, it’s about something important. I’ve tried every google site but no luck. I have her name, old address, 2 cancelled phone numbers and her old email. She lives in Germany. I have no clue how to find her. Please help!

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