The Internet has made many things in life easier, including providing a powerful tool for those looking to find lost family, friends and other loved ones. Previously, conducting a search for missing relatives and friends meant a lot of time, leg work, travel and expense regardless of whether you undertook the hunt yourself or hired an investigator. Now all you need is a computer and an internet connection!Tip #1:Gather together as much information about your lost loved ones as you can. Write it all down and keep this information together for use whenever you are conducting a search. Depending on how long it has been since you were in contact with this person or how well you knew them to begin with this may or may not be difficult. Don’t be disheartened if you do not have a lot to go on though, as often even the most basic of information can yield great results. A tip to keep in mind is that it is usually easier to track down males as they are less likely to have changed their name over the years so if you are looking for a number of related people or a couple, try searching for the males first. Furthermore it may be easier to search for relatives or close friends of your missing loved one; you may have come to a dead-end searching for information on your elementary school best friend but you remember her older brother’s name, check him out too as he could be the link that leads you to her.Tip #2:Don’t overlook the obvious! Use one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN and type in your loved ones known names in italics i.e ‘Joe Bloggs’ and see what information that can provide. This can be a good way of generating leads, especially if they have an unusual or uncommon name. Follow up with searches including any of the other information you have collated.Tip #3:Fortunately for those of us searching for missing loved ones, in this day and age everyone creates a paper trail of information about themselves as they travel through life. This information is documented in the public records system, and can be found through searches of birth, marriage and death records, real estate records, newspaper obituaries, business ownership information, genealogical information, government and military records, passenger records, census data, phone numbers, cemetery records, etc. There are some fantastic online databases which compile all this information and let users search a large number of records from the comfort and privacy of their own home. This is 100% legal as the information is open to the public, the benefit of these sites is that instead of having to manually hunt out each set of records they are all there ready to be searched from one site. Using these services also allows those looking for lost friends and family to keep their searches confidential. There is usually a fee for access to the databases but if you are going to spend any money on your search this would be the option most likely to deliver results. The top sites are all relatively similar in price so go for the one which you feel offers what you need. For a list of the Top Public Records Databases available on the internet follow the link at the end of the article.Tip #4:Utilize networks. There are many user net newsgroups, forums and websites on the internet where you can post the information you collated and you never know your luck, someone may just be able to provide the vital links you need!Tip #5Follow up on any new information you have discovered, don’t be left wondering ‘what if?’ Be proactive and enjoy reconnecting with those loved ones you’ve been missing.Good Luck Everyone!