Monday, June 18, 2007

Finding live people

Challenges of skip tracing for ancestors

From: Bill Read
I just spent a while trying to find out how to try and find a family member in Ontario, who may still be alive. I today got a last known address, but no luck online. She is Mrs. Maureen Riley (nee Read) who I am told married in Canada, probably Saskatchewan, in the 1940s. The address I have is 1213 Clayford Road, Clarkstown, Ontario, as known in 1993-94. She is the daughter of my grandfather's brother, and one of a very few links I have to family. I looked for directories online, but no luck, can you help please? I am a hopeful family researcher, and thank you in anticipation.

Though genealogists usually spend their time looking for deceased individuals, there are occasionally situations where one must look for a distant cousin once removed, with hope that side of the family may have inherited the family bible. By the way, neither Google Maps nor MapQuest could locate 1213 Clayford Road, Clarkstown, Ontario.

However, the Family History Library Catalog at did specify: Ontario, Carleton, Clarkstown; but advised me to see: Ontario, Carleton, Vanier, because: Clarkstown rattach√©e √† Eastview en 1909. Eastview est devenue Vanier, 1 janv. 1969.” This means Clarkstown attached to Eastview in 1909. Eastview became Vanier, 1 January 1969, thanks to the translation services of Babel Fish at:

MapQuest did locate a Crawford (not Clayford) Road in Vanier, ON K0A, CA, which appears to be a suburb 20 miles SW of Ottowa. But the information you have just seems too different from this line of research.

The Family History Library Catalog reports the following regional records which may prove useful. Unfortunately most of them pre-date the 1993-4 time period you specify.

The use of online telephone directories requires the following:
-- the person has a listed telephone number
-- the phone is listed in the name you specify
Your search is compounded by the fact that the person you seek is female. She may have remarried after the death of or divorce from her spouse. Canadian online directories of note include:

The use of skip-tracing methods might prove useful. There is a reasonable set of suggestions found at INFOGUYS: . Ol’ Myrt would most certainly obtain a report from the Better Business Bureau before proceeding to hire anyone for skip-tracing. See:

You'll note I have included two books on the topic, that I have reviewed in the local public library. Among others on the shelf, these two seemed the most forthright and useful:

  • You can find anybody! by Joseph Culligan
  • How to find almost anyone, anywhere by Norma Tillman

This website has research suggestions which may help to orient you to the type of records available in Ontario. See in particular:

Perhaps your best bet is to make a 1 or 2 paragraph posting at message boards under both her maiden name and her married name. If she does an internet search for her name, the posting will likely come up in a Google Search. Be sure to include your relationship to the common ancestors, so she won’t think you are a kooky bill collector.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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