Searching for your long lost family?

You may have been looking for your loved ones for some time, or this could be the first time that you have started your search. Either way Findmypast can help you. We’ll provide you with useful tools that will not only help your search but allow you to document it all in one place. There’s a lot to take in, and we suggest talking this through with a friend or partner who can support you along the way.

Before you begin

It's important to remember that in order to make contact with your birth relative of someone who was adopted, you need to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register.

To be put in touch with each other, both parties need be registered, and you must both be over 18.

If one party has not yet registered, or has said they don’t want to be contacted, you won’t be able to contact them.

You can also contact the register to say that you don’t want to be contacted.

If you’re looking for an adopted person

You can apply to make contact with an adopted person through an approved intermediary agency. They will make the initial contact and support you through the next steps.

If you were adopted - finding birth relatives


You can add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register if you’re 18 or over and your birth or adoption was registered with the General Register Office. Here’s what you’ll need:

•Your given name – the full name on your birth certificate
•Your date of birth
•The full name(s) of your birth mother (and birth father if you know it)

If you were adopted but don’t have your birth records

You can apply to get your birth records, which will show you your birth parents’ information, although it’s possible that there will be no information about your father.

If you were adopted before 1975 you’ll need to attend a consultation session with an approved adoption advisor first. You can organise this through your local council, an adoption agency or through the General Register Office.

They will be able to access your adoption records through the agency that arranged your adoption, or the court that approved your adoption.

If you were adopted outside England or Wales

You need to contact the equivalent of the General Register Office (GRO) in the country where you were adopted.

What else you can do right now:

Step 1: Search for someone

Use our quick, intelligent search to look for any family members you have lost touch with. Simply enter the name of the person you are looking for, and we will search all of our more recent records including Electoral Rolls and Birth and Marriage records. View the search results for free and register to get access to the records themselves.

Step 2: Birth records

Try looking for your own birth record, or the details of the person you’re looking for. You don’t need the exact details to search – even a partial name or place will help you start narrowing down the results. The information found in a birth record will help you get the original birth certificate.

Step 3: The findmypast community

Post your question to our busy social media community on Facebook / Twitter and see whether one of our friendly members can help you track down the answer or inspire you with their own story.

Step 4: Contact these helpful organisations

PAC - Pre-Adoption, Post-Adoption Permanency Advice and Counselling

Barnado’s - this children’s charity has a huge archive of information about Barnado’s children

Adoption UK – a national charity run by and for adopters