What we do

What we do to help trace family

Before we are able to become involved in searching for a relative, we ask that an application form is submitted. You can download and print the application form, or request this by post by contacting us by telephone or email. 

Our caseworkers need certain basic information about the person being sought:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth or exact age
  • Last known address or location

With this essential information, we can begin the initial process of locating and contacting your relative. We use the latest search techniques as well as those developed over our many years of family tracing experience. Much of our work is on the phone, writing letters and emails, and researching on the internet. We also draw on support from The Salvation Army churches and social centres in the UK and around the world.

Our first contact with the person sought is often made by letter with an assurance that personal information will not be disclosed to any other party unless permission is granted. They will be told the identity of the person seeking contact with them, and they will be given options for contact. If there is hesitation about having direct contact in the first instance, relatives may correspond via the Family Tracing Service until trust is established. Whatever the decision of the person sought, this will be fully respected. 

Every case is different and searches can take anything from a few days to a number of years to complete. We cannot guarantee that we will be successful in finding your relative, but will of course let you know as soon as there is news to report, whatever the outcome. 

Because of data protection legislation and the confidential nature of our work, we are unable to provide details of our tracing procedures, and will not disclose the whereabouts or other personal details of people we locate without first obtaining their consent. 

Reuniting families every day


How to apply

If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or live in a country where there is no Salvation Army representation, details of your request can be sent to this office.

If you live outside the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, contact should be made with The Salvation Army in your own country of residence (details can be found on The Salvation Army International website). This procedure applies even if the person sought is thought to be living in the United Kingdom.

If you wish us to make enquiries on your behalf please download and print our application form. Once you have filled in the details and signed the data protection statement, return it for our consideration at the address given on the form. Please do make sure you have read the guidance notes, and enclosed the relevant documents and registration fee. 

Alternatively, you may call or write to our office to request that an application form is sent by post. 

We request a registration fee of £45.00 for each person sought. For those whose only income is state pension or other state support (evidence should be supplied), the fee is £25.00. The registration fee helps towards the initial set up costs and verification checks which are sometimes necessary. It is not a service charge, and does not guarantee a positive outcome. Please include the registration fee when submitting your completed application form. 

Once your application has been assessed you will receive a letter indicating the next steps. If your case is accepted, your registration fee will be processed and a caseworker will write to you with an individual reference number and their own contact details. If for any reason we are unable to commence a search on your behalf, you will be informed in writing and your fee will not be processed. 

How to apply

All the details you need to trace a family member

Finding people

Relatives looking for me. What if I'm the sought after person?

Family tracing contact

Our details to get in touch and reconnect with family

Family tracing

We help to reconcile family members who have lost contact and help rebuild these relationships