How to find someone in the United Kingdom


Where’s Wally hiding in the UK? need some help?

Are you trying to find someone in the United Kingdom?  Maybe a missing person, old friend, high school sweetheart, family member or even someone who owes you money?

Typically we as investigators hear these reasons the most. So what can you do if you need to locate someone?

We at Online Investigations Pty Ltd have put together a simple and straightforward list which can assist you should you need to locate someone in the United Kingdom. (If you are trying to find someone in Australia, head over to our previous blog here).

1. Make a list

Like most things in life – preparation increases your best chance of success. What information do you already know about the person? When attempting to locate someone take the time to sit down and compile a list of everything you know about that person. For example:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Last known addresses/telephone numbers/email/social networking accounts
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Spouse name/Children’s names/Other family members

This information will provide you the beginning parameters of your search. For each piece of information you have, this not only offers you additional avenues to follow up – but it also verifies that the information you have obtained is for the correct individual! There is no point trying to locate a “John Smith” in “United Kingdom” – this will only result in millions of matching results. Ideally you will also know his middle name, date of birth and at least a City or Suburb to search in!

Furthermore, creating a list can also uncover a wealth of additional information which you may previously have thought had no bearing on locating the individual. Having knowledge that the individual you are trying to locate is a keen rower for example, may help you locate him at a local rowing club or event. Do not discount any information you know about the individual. As investigators we have located thousands of individuals on the most obscure piece of information which our client originally thought wasn’t initially worth passing on. If you choose to engage a professional service to locate someone, a great investigator will take the time to ask you questions about the individual and identify information which you may not have previously thought important.

Now that you have your list this can also be useful to an investigator if you choose to engage one further down the track. As most investigators charge on an hourly basis, any information you can provide about the searches you have already done will ensure your investigator is well briefed prior to beginning of their inquiries and also prevent them from doubling up on searches.

2. Identify mutual friends

Do you know anyone who may know where this person is? The best advantage you have over a professional service and/or databases are mutual friends who are willing to help you.

In the majority of cases, people are more than happy to pass on information about someone if they know who they are giving it to. This gives you a distinct advantage over an investigation company who may have to spend time gaining an individuals trust before they will release information to them, or in some cases even use pretexting to obtain the desired result.

3. Use online resources

By now the list you have made should be complete with as much information as you and your associates can possibly recall about the individual. Based on this information you can now utilise free online resources to further unravel the mystery of where the individual may be. Below we have compiled a list of free online resources that we recommend utilising in your search for a missing Brit. These are the same resources that investigators and inquiry agents will begin their searches at, so you know by using these you are on the right track.

Historical records:

Historic Births, Deaths and Marriages (Searchable database)

The National Archives

World War 1 records

Deceased records – UK burials and Cremations

The Genealogist

The Sandhurst Collection

Historic Electoral Roll search

Telephone and Address checks:

UK Phone Book

Criminal Checks:

Paedophile and Sex Offender Database (Public list – not complete)

Land and Business Checks:

Companies House

Land Information and Titles

Domain and Trademark Search:

.UK Domain search


Trademark Search

Various Professional registers

Architects Registry

Doctors Registry

Environmental Agency

Teachers Registry – Scotland

Teachers Register – Ireland

Certified Builder search

Licensed Builder Practitioner Registry

Veterinarian Registry

Various Professions (including Physiotherapist and Social Worker)

Lawyer search register

Chiropractor Search

Electrical Workers registry

Register of exercise professionals


For further sites personally recommended by Online Investigations, make sure you check out the PItoolbox!

4. Use for access to historic records

If you have limited information or the individual you are trying to locate is over the age of 55 then a fantastic database you should be looking at is  Containing electoral rolls up till the year 1980, this searchable database allows you to identify possible middle names, other family members, possible burials, family trees, marriage records and/or immigration records.  This is a database we as investigators use on a regular basis and has allowed us to achieve fantastic results without having to scour through microfiche at our local library.

Through the following link we offer the opportunity for a free trial of their database (which is a fantastic offer given a yearly fee is over $400!).  Use the following link: Ancestry Free Trial

5. Use to access their DNA Database

If you are trying to locate an unknown family member (particularly in regards to birth parents / siblings) then consideration should be given towards adding yourself to a DNA Database.  Sometimes you may not know the full name of a family member (eg child resulting from a one night stand) or you may know little about your family history (eg adoption).  By adding yourself to a DNA database, you will be notified of any common links between your DNA and other individuals who are also joined.  This is a fantastic tool when it comes to connecting with extended family members.  When you join, you join under an anonymous profile and if you match to other individuals on the database, you have the opportunity to connect with them through their messenger service on the website.  Your details will only be exchanged between both parties if consent is given and the opportunity also exists to share family trees and further establish the ancestral links between you both.

To join the DNA Database and find out more information use our link here: AncestryDNA®

6. Engage a professional and licensed private investigator

Despite your extensive efforts, if you are still unable to locate the individual then it is time to consider engaging a professional skip tracing and location agency.

It is important to remember that despite the fact you may have conducted extensive efforts with no success, private investigators have an extensive knowledge base in locating individuals. Although they are not the Police and don’t have access to the same databases as them, the advantage for using a private investigator is that they have subscriptions to a number of databases which members of the public don’t. The majority of these databases charge an annual fee which is simply too expensive and uneconomical for members of the public to pay for a one-off search. Use of these databases, together with their expertise in interviewing, making discreet inquiries and speaking with their network of contacts will ensure the highest rate of success of finding your missing person.

Online Investigations Pty Ltd are private investigators in Melbourne who have extensive experiencing in locating individuals, witnesses, debtors and Defendants. Their expertise has helped locate individuals which other investigation companies have previously failed at. All location inquiries are conducted using a range of offline and online investigation methods – simply put, we get results.

To enquire about our range of location methods and obtain a free consultation please contact us or alternatively call us anytime on 1300 884 596.

Online Investigations Pty Ltd are a private investigation company based in Melbourne, Australia. Experienced private investigators and detectives in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and Worldwide. Servicing Canberra, Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and International (including New Zealand!).

Are you trying to locate someone in the United Kingdom? Let others know you’re looking below!

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