Here's Where to Start Looking for Long-Lost Loved Ones

ABC News' "20/20? is working with renowned genealogist Pam Slaton to help a few subjects of an upcoming "20/20? story find loved ones they lost connection with decades ago.

Genealogist Pam Slaton works with people to research their past and find long-lost family members. Credit: Courtesy Pam Slaton

Slaton offered these tips for people who want to research their past, figure out their true identities, or find long-lost family members.

1. Collect Necessary Documents: Gather any documents that you have; do not rely on recollections of other family members.

So often my clients have information in their possession that they do not realize can be invaluable in their search. Memory tends to dim over time so it's important to look for all of your documents and try to replace any that are missing.

2. Keep Track of Search Attempts: Keep a log of things that you have done to find that person whom you are looking for. Organization is key so that you do not spend unnecessary time and money repeating steps.

3. Pay Attention to Leads: Trust your instincts, and treat all your conversations as possible leads. When I am searching, I am almost always drawn to a piece of information that helps me to solve a search. We all have an inner voice. Listen to yours.

4. Be Persistent: If you do not first succeed, try and try again. Persistence is key. Information may be overlooked. Names can be spelled wrong.

5. Sign Up for Online Registries: There are a ton of online reunion registries available for free. The first place you should register is the International Soundex Reunion Registry, which is safe and secure. They will notify you if they have found a match. Place your information on every registry that you can find. You never know who is looking for you.

6. Have a Support System: Ask your family to help. Let them know that your search is important to you and ask them for their support and love.

Read more information on Pam Slaton's blog HERE: