Finding People in the United States

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Included below are resources for finding U.S. citizens: tracing ancestors, the National Archives and Records Administration, Military Publications, Active Duty Military Personnel, Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Telephone Directories. When writing to any agency or organization listed below, provide as much information as possible about the person you seek. As a minimum, the full name, date and place of birth should be given. For military personnel, the grade, serial number or social security number and branch of service should be specified. To access birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates write to the Bureau of Vital Records of the appropriate state. However, access may be limited depending upon the regulations in each state. Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy cannot assist any further with individual searches.

Important Notice: It is not possible to trace the whereabouts of persons through U.S. Immigration channels. Records of the U.S. immigration authorities are protected by the Privacy Act and cannot be divulged to third parties.

Please note that inclusion of an organization or product in the following text does not denote that they carry an Embassy endorsement.

Tracing Ancestors

“The House of  Emigrants (Utvandrarnas Hus)” in Växjö has a library, a database and church record inventories that can be studied. A research fee is charged. The address is the House of Emigrants, Vilhelm Mobergs gata 4 , 352 34 Växjö, Sweden.
Phone: +46-470-201 20, Fax: +46-470-394 16.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

NARA is an independent Federal agency and serves as America’s national record keeper and keep both military and civilian records on file. For further information please visit their website.

The efforts to trace former military personnel may be hindered by the fact that a large fire occurred at the Military Personnel Center in 1973, destroying many records. In addition, addresses on file are often out of date since they were furnished by the service member at the time of discharge. The Embassy maintains no records on active or former members of the United States Armed Forces. All Official Military Personnel Files of discharged and deceased veterans are kept in the United States at the National Records Personnel Center in Missouri, USA.

Please note that the United States Privacy Act prevents unauthorized disclosure of information in U.S. government files unless merited by exceptional circumstances.

Military Publications

U.S. citizens wishing to re-establish contact with, or find information about, former service friends mainly use military publications and the magazines of veterans’ organizations. A brief notice placed therein reaches a wide audience and may well come to the attention of the individuals themselves or a former member of the same unit. As well as individual veterans’ associations’ publications, letters are published in the following large-circulation newspapers and magazines:

Military Publication
Army/Navy/Air Force Times
‘Locator Service’
6883 Commercial Drive
Springfield, VA 22159-0160
Air Force Magazine
‘Bulletin Board’
1501 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22209-1198
American Legion Magazine
700 N Pennsylvania Street
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206
The Retired Officer Magazine
201 N Washington Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314-2539

Letters written to the above publications should be brief and preferably typed. Do not send documents or photographs, and please ensure that your name and return address, including country, is clearly indicated.

Active Duty Military Personnel

Request for assistance in locating active duty military personnel may be sent to the appropriate office listed below. Please note that the United States Privacy Act prevents unauthorized disclosure of information in U.S. government files unless merited by exceptional circumstances.

Written requests for assistance in locating information on military personnel currently serving may be sent to the appropriate office listed below:

Active Military Personnel
Air Force Worldwide Locator
550 C Street W
Suite 50
Randolph Air Force Base
TX 78150-4752
Army Worldwide Locator
8899 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301
Navy Worldwide Locator
Bureau of Naval PersonnelFor family members: BUPRS Pers
2 Navy Annex
Washington, DC 20370-3240For non-family:
BUPRS 02116
2 Navy Annex
Washington, DC 20370-0216
Marine Corps Worldwide Locator
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Washington, DC 20380-1775Coast Guard Locator
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 2nd Street SW
Washington, DC 20593

The above offices may be able to provide a current address, and in some instances will attempt to forward correspondence to the individual’s military base/unit. Correspondence for the missing service member can be enclosed, together with a brief letter of explanation, to the appropriate service locator. The letter to be forwarded should contain nothing of value and be in a plain, unsealed, unstamped envelope bearing only the individual’s grade, full name, and, if possible, military serial number. Please ensure that your name and return address, including country, is clearly indicated on the top left hand corner of the envelopes, as required by the U.S. Postal Service. Please note that a nominal fee may be charged for this service.

If the original address of the individual you are seeking is known, you can pursue local sources of information. Among the many possible avenues are: county Office of Vital Records for either birth or marriage records of the individual; high school reunion organizers and college alumni associations; Adjutant General’s Office in the person’s home state for data on state personnel who served in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam; county and state Veteran’s Administration Offices for information in case the individual applied for Veteran’s benefits or hospitalization; local posts of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans of World War II for information on local veterans who survived Korea and Vietnam; county Probate Office for a will or Letters of Administration for the person if he or she possessed property in the county and is now deceased; local newspapers, for articles, obituaries, death notices, etc; the state Office of Vital Statistics for death records of service personnel who died while on active duty. Please note that the Embassy does not keep addresses for the above offices.

Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs

The Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs will attempt to forward correspondence to missing persons, but only when a considerable monetary or strong humanitarian consideration is involved. You should send a letter intended for the missing person, along with a brief letter of explanation to the appropriate agency. The letter to be forwarded should contain nothing of value and be in a plain, unsealed, unstamped envelope bearing only the person’s name and social security/military serial number. If this number is not known, you should include any other identifying information, such as full name, date and place of birth and parents’ names.

The addresses are:

Social Security Administration
300 North Green Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

In the case of the Social Security Administration, a $3.00 fee applies in cases involving a monetary purpose. An International Money Order in dollars should be enclosed and made payable to the Social Security Administration. The SSA will be unable to report whether or not the letter is actually delivered.

Telephone Directories

The quickest and cheapest way of establishing contact with an individual is often by telephone. Many main reference libraries have collections of American telephone directories available for consultation. You may wish to call the Swedish international telephone operator (Nummerupplysning Utland, tel. 118 119) to find out if there is a telephone number listed for the individual you are looking for.

The website listed below may be helpful in finding a phone number, address or name:

In addition, you can consult the International Genealogical Index (I.G.I) and the Ancestral File, available at this website.

The I.G.I. is a worldwide index of approximately 187 million names of deceased persons. This index does not contain records of living persons. The Ancestral File contains genealogical data on millions of individuals from many countries, including information on names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Please note that most of the information on the File concerns deceased persons. The File also contains names and addresses of persons who have submitted information, and this information is updated periodically.