Family is an incredibly important part of most people’s lives. A healthy familial relationship is fulfilling. And many people find comfort in their family long after they’ve struck out on their own. However, that’s not always the case.
Whether due to personal differences, neglect, or just a lack of communication, some people become estranged from their family and don’t continue that relationship. Not only is that probably hard on the estranged relative, but it can also be hard on everyone else in your family.
If someone in your family has become estranged–and you have reason to believe that they would be interested in reconnecting–you may want to reach out. Here are some ways to find them and get in touch.
Determine Your Chances of Reconnecting
The first thing you should try to find out before you start searching is why your relative is estranged in the first place. Was he or she was the victim of abuse or neglect by someone in your family? In that case, that person will likely be much more resistant to reconnecting than if it was just a small personal quarrel that got out of hand.
On the other hand, maybe your family simply shunned this relative. Then he or she may be willing to connect with anyone willing to reach out. Plenty of factors could be at play, and you’ll have to evaluate the evidence to come to a conclusion.
While doing this research, remember that your family may be biased in the recollection of events. Always try to think about how else stories could be perceived. They may insist that the estranged relative was being unreasonable. If so, see if you can uncover the initial source of the conflict. Different family members may present wildly differing explanations. See if there’s a common thread that ties them all together.
No matter what the reasoning was, trying to get to the bottom of things could at least make it easier to handle if you don’t get the response you want.
Ask Anyone Who Knows Your Estranged Relative
Your first questions should be directed toward the people that the estranged relative knew best. Hopefully these are people that you also know well, as they’d likely be more accepting of your attempts to reconnect. If they have any information about the estranged family member, they could be willing to tell you about it, especially if they can tell that you mean well.
Remember to keep a record of everything you’re being told. True, the jackpot would be finding out that someone has actually kept in touch with your estranged relative. But you can’t count on things being as easy as that.
Instead, you may have to piece together things from your various family members’ recollection of events. Someone may be able to give you pseudonyms that the person used to use. And another person may tell you about a state the family member was planning to move to. It’s up to you to put all these pieces together and come up with a solution.
Use a People Search Engine
Once you have all the facts, you’ll want to consolidate them all. Build a profile of the estranged relative that you’re looking for. What name might he or she be using? Where could the person have gone to live? Could the family member be living with someone you know?
These are all important questions that you should try to answer when creating a profile. Then, you can use a people search site to put that profile into action in an attempt to find current contact information. You can perform a search with just a first name, last name, city, and state. Try a number of combinations based on the profile you’ve built; you may be able to find the person under a different name.
Will it Be Worth It?
It can be very saddening to have an estranged relative in your family tree, whether you knew the person as you were growing up or not. If you try to reconnect, it’s likely to involve a number of steps and a lot of legwork. But doing so could be just the thing your relative and entire family needs to end any rift and finally heal.
Of course, your hard work may not necessarily result in a happy reunion. The estrangement may just be too deep and have gone on too long to salvage that relationship. But maybe that’s okay. By taking the time to do your research, you can at least rest easier in the knowledge that your estranged relative is doing okay on their own.
Photo credit: Halfpoint – www.shutterstock.com