“person search”, “people records”, or “people search” are general terms which usually describes the goal of locating any and all information about an individual. In the UK, there is a large amount of public records information available, and you just need to know where to look. The easiest way to locate a person in the UK is online through public and private databases. Our sponsors have a simple search box on the right hand side of this page that can be used to begin a search through their private database.
Most public records are those records that are first compiled by government agencies. In most cases, the records are initially recorded and stored by a local agency, and then the information moves up towards the UK central government records. If your person search of private databases is unsuccessful then the next best option is to search the local public records office. Depending on what you already know about the person you are searching for, this may be an easy task. If you know the local area, then go to our UK public records offices map on our home page, and choose an area. When you locate the contact information of the local public records office, simply follow the directions to enter your query. If you don’t know a local area, then you will want to make a more broad search through UK government websites.
England Person Search
There are a wide variety of publicly accessible records available to anyone seeking to locate a living person in England. The England person search options available to you will also vary, depending on the circumstances of the search. For instance, an adopted person looking to track down blood relatives may have additional search tools at their disposal as there are several public and private agencies dedicated to reuniting siblings and other family members separated by adoption. Here are some of the tactics you can legally employ when searching for a person in England:
Electoral roll search – The British library keeps a record of the full electoral register for England. Access to records less than ten years old may be restricted. Searching the electoral register will let you find names and addresses of registered voters within a specific constituency.
Online phone directories – Phone directories such as BT, White Pages, and Infobel can be useful in finding a person’s phone number and address. You will need a full name at least. Town or county information may also be useful.
Births, deaths, and marriages – In England, these records are considered public. This means that any person can order a copy of a certificate providing they know the details of the certificate in question. This can be useful in finding the names of a parent or spouse of the person named on the certificate.
Wales Person Search
The public and private search options that would allow you to locate a person in Wales are largely the same as they are in England. In some cases, you may find that newer records can only be accessed under specific circumstances. Fortunately, there are still a wealth of other options available to assist you in your Wales person search. Here are a few of the main avenues to consider:
Electoral roll search – As in England, the names and addresses of the person registered to vote in Wales can be found by searching the electoral roll for a specific constituency. The British Library holds the full electoral register and may be able to grant you access to records. Smaller, local libraries and council offices may also hold useful electorate information.
Online phone directories – You may be able to find the telephone number and address of a person currently living in Wales, by searching the BT online directory. Unfortunately, this will only work if the person in question has opted in to being included in the directory. Furthermore, searching Welsh phone records is usually only viable if you have a full name.
Births, deaths, and marriages – You can order a copy of a birth, death, or marriage certificate by contacting the General Register Office (this is the same for England). These records date back to 1837. This may help you with acquiring names of close family members of the person named on the certificate.
Scotland Person Search
Despite being part of the United Kingdom, Scotland uses some record-keeping practices and entities that differ from England and Wales. However, some records (phone number records, for instance) are publically accessible via the same search facilities as England and Wales. Here are some options to help you get started on your Scotland person search:
Scottish post office directories – Searching the Scottish post office directories can help you find a person’s address and occupation, dating back as far as 1773. These records are only available up to 1911, but can be useful in tracking down distant relatives currently living in Scotland.
Electoral roll search – You may be able to find a person’s address by searching the Scottish electoral roll. Some records are held at the National Archives of Scotland and smaller, local libraries. A full electoral register can also be accessed at the British Library, providing the records are more than ten years old.
Online phone directories – As with England and Wales, you may be able to find the telephone number and postal address of a person currently living in Scotland, by searching the BT online directory.
Births, deaths, and marriages – Most birth, death, and marriage records are kept by the Registrar General at the New Register House in Edinburgh. Any person can request copies of these certificates, providing they have enough information to locate the certificate in question.
Northern Ireland Person Search
Northern Irish laws regarding public records differ somewhat to those of Scotland, England, and Wales. Unfortunately, some of the traditional avenues used to track down a person in the rest of the United Kingdom may not be available to you if the person you are hoping to find lives in Northern Ireland. Though, there are a few different search routes you may wish to try. Here is the information you need to conduct a Northern Ireland person search:
Electoral roll search – Unfortunately, it is a criminal offence to disclose Northern Irish electoral roll records to members of the public. These records may be accessed by elected representatives, holders of elected offices, and law enforcement bodies.
Births, deaths, and marriages – As is the case with England, Wales, and Scotland, records of births, deaths, marriages, and adoptions are held by the General Register Office for Northern Ireland. Copies of all these certificates are publically available and can be ordered online. You will have more success finding the information you need, if you know the name of the person on the certificate and an approximate date for the event in question.
Online phone directories – If you know the full name and approximate whereabouts of a person living in Northern Ireland, you may be able to find their current postal address by conducting an online search. BT and Whitepages are two of the best search facilities available.