I am working on an individual about whom very little is known. His daughter knows his name and is able to estimate his age. Our information doesn't really help us identify him well.

  • He was born in Queensland (Australia)
  • He is estimated to be about 50 years old
  • We have not found a military record
  • He did not divorce

Because of his age, we believe he is still alive. Without information or records that might better identify him, how do I progress this?

  • Welcome to the site, Ash. I tried to edit your question, but it still needs a little work. Perhaps construct a bulleted list of the things you "know"--name, estimated birth date, birth location as Queensland, Australia; no military record; did not divorce. Then close with the question asking how to proceed.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 19, 2012 at 3:43
  • I gave the further edit a shot. Let me know if it still reads as you intended. Thanks.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 19, 2012 at 18:32
  • Made a small correction to GeneJ's edit :)
    – efgen
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:06

3 Answers 3


Have the daughter enquired at Births, Deaths and Marriages at the Queensland Government for a Birth Certificate. She would meet the eligibility for request.

  • The daughter does not have birth date, so has not yet approached BDM Queensland.
    – Ash
    Oct 23, 2012 at 22:59

The information sources employed in classic genealogical practice and relevant to the period post-1960 are not available to you (because of restrictions imposed on privacy grounds) .

In cases such as this, it may be helpful to think about what other type of expertise could be relevant to locating a person who has "disappeared".

Perhaps you need to think like a debt collector or someone arranging a class reunion.

Have you considered Electoral Rolls, Phone Books and newspaper libraries as sources? Can you locate a social media guru who will help you to mine Twitter archives or Facebook posts?

As a worst case scenario, have you looked into lists of missing persons maintained by the police?

And something I should have thought of before

All Queensland State Schools keep an Admissions Register of details of every pupil enrolled. Microfilm copies in the Queensland State Archives contain name, date of birth, religion, and the name, address and occupation of parents. While there is no "official" index for these records, the Queensland Family History Society has produced a 5 CD set that enables you to match a name and approximate age to possible school enrolments. At least one of the subscription sites (fmp) searches on that QFHS derivative.

When (if) you identify some possible schools, you can check the availability of relevant registers online but after that is necessary to view the undigitised films in the old way.

  • I have a similar scenario, where a spouse took a train one day and has not been seen by the family since. I know her maiden name and married name. I have also identified a death record that contains no details other than death and birth dates. The funeral director will not provide any details.
    – Those Legs
    Oct 19, 2012 at 6:52
  • Me too, a great aunt (divorced) who put her daughter on a train to her father in about 1950 and has not been seen or heard of by the family since. No candidate death records have been found but I have not yet tried police records.
    – PolyGeo
    Oct 19, 2012 at 7:31
  • @Fortiter, I agree with the sources you mention, although availability post-1960 is going to be location-dependent. I would add military records (which the poster has already tried) and social networking if the person could be alive still. I have used this to great effect myself in tracking down a complete family who were separated in 1947 and fostered and/or adopted.
    – ACProctor
    Oct 19, 2012 at 13:16
  • 1
    @Fortiter - Sorry, what site is fmp?
    – Ash
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:11
  • Oops I sometimes jot "fmp" in my notes to indicate I found something on FindMyPast. I should not do it here. @Ash
    – Fortiter
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:26

This site was suggested to me by a relative in Australia - National Library of Australia You have to join, but it's free. The newspaper archive only goes up to 1954, but Australian Women's Weekly goes to 1982 and there are many more Australian resources there

  • 3
    Trove is the major public face of National Library of Australia and is much broader than the (extremely valuable) newspaper archive at trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper?q=. Signing up for an account lets you save searches and apply tags (such as an ancestor's name) to documents. The total newspaper holding is very extensive and still growing. Availability of particular years varies for different mastheads; but you can search globally, by region or in one or more titles.
    – Fortiter
    Oct 19, 2012 at 9:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.