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Family tracing


The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service endeavours to locate family members whose current whereabouts are unknown and who are being sought for the purpose of re-uniting the family.

This service involves:

  • finding the relative  
  • reconciling any past differences and reuniting the family

We do not help with the following:

  • Locating friends
  • Post-adoption situations
  • Search for fathers without proof of paternity
  • Inquiries for or by young persons under age 18
  • Former husbands or wives unless for reconciliation
  • Spouses for divorce purposes
  • Legal matters
  • Genealogy / family tree research

How to get started

If you DO NOT live in AUSTRALIA:

If you live in Australia:

If we believe we can help, we will send a detailed application form so you can provide all the information we need. After reviewing the application, if we find there are no legal issues to prevent us from doing the search, we will assign a registration number and the search will begin. We will coordinate the search with our staff around the world and advise you of our findings.

Searches can take a few days or a few years so the service is not able to guarantee a time frame.


Searches can take a few days or a few years so the service is not able to guarantee a time frame. The service is not geared to look for people who have only recently left home. However, on occasions the service has helped with urgent requests. Crisis cases do occur when family members are being sought because of terminal illness, accident or death.

Reconciliation or reunion often brings out intense feelings of completeness and renewal. The service also plays an advocacy role when the people concerned may not know each other or the relationship is strained.

The service boasts of a current success rate of more than 75%.


All avenues of investigation are strictly confidential and no information will be revealed without the consent of the person being traced.

Early Beginnings

The Family Tracing Service, or as it was known in England for many years, Mrs Booth's Investigations Department, commenced in England in 1885. Poverty was rife in agricultural areas of England and families lived at bare subsistence level. At the same time, London and other cities, with their increasing number of affluent families, offered positions of employment for country girls. As they had never been outside their home town, they became easy prey to undesirables of the day.

And so it was within twenty years of the Army's inception, William Booth, the founder, began to receive letters from anxious parents requesting The Salvation Army to assist in tracing the whereabouts of their missing daughters.

A department was set up to try and rescue these girls and to re-unite them with their families. In those days, paragraphs were placed in the War Cry asking if anyone know the whereabouts of these girls and other missing people and so commenced many years of special ministry in this area.

From that humble beginning, the service now has officers/staff in most western countries where The Salvation Army is established, conducting enquiries regarding missing family members.

Contact us

The Director
Family Tracing Service
The Salvation Army
PO Box 479, Blackburn, VIC 3130
(03) 8878 4795, (03) 8878 4796,(03) 8878 4797.

PO Box 4049, Casuarina NT 0811
(08) 8927 6499

PO Box 50 New Town TAS 7008
(03) 6228 8404

PO Box 300, Fullarton SA 5063
(08) 8408 6950

PO Box 8498, Perth Business Centre WA 6849
(08) 9260 9536

P O BOX A435, Sydney South NSW 1232
(02) 9211 0277 - managed by Eastern Territory

GPO Box 2210, Brisbane QLD 4001
(07) 3222 6661 - managed by Eastern Territory

Missing Persons

Missing person

Missing Persons  

Not knowing what has happened to someone you love, where they are and whether they are safe is like living in darkness. This is how it feels for the many families and friends who are left behind when someone disappears.