On Tuesday 1st July 2008 Tracesmart, the web based people search engine, officially launched their 'Success Stories' section, which showcases reunification stories that were facilitated with the aid of their people tracing website. It is hoped that the stories will raise awareness of the services that are available to people looking to find relatives and friends they have lost contact with, and just how simple this process can be.
Stories within the section are derived from the Tracesmart Missing Person campaign. The project, which is part of the Tracesmart initiative to raise awareness of tracing amongst the general public, offers people who are looking for a lost loved one the services of a professional tracer in return for their sharing their story with the media. The lead Media Trace Researcher at Tracesmart, Louise Hewlett, commented on the success of the exercise to date, "Response to this campaign has been hugely positive, resulting in some very heart-warming and touching stories. By posting resulting reunions on our site and explaining exactly how individuals were located, we hope to demonstrate to the public how easy it is to be reunited with lost friends and relatives."
As Hewlett noted, in addition to informing readers of the outcome, the story also includes a detailed analysis of the how the missing individual was located. This explanation tackles one of the biggest hurdles people can face when attempting to trace an individual – knowing where to start. "Our trace research team have many tools at their disposal; the site is driven by a huge amount of data, such as electoral roll records, and a wide variety of tools such as our friend finder and address search. The success stories examine exactly what tools and methods were employed to locate the individual in question, so if someone does want to attempt to trace a missing person, they have a firm foundation to start on." Hewlett concluded.
Success Stories will also showcase the work of Gill Whitley, founder of Searching for a Memory and co-producer of weekly Daily Mail column, Missing & Found. Whitley is also keen to raise the profile of tracing, "I started Searching for a Memory in memorial of my late mother-in-law, who had been estranged from my husband for 34 years. I located her 11 months before she died, and thought as a tribute to her I would continue tracing to help other people find their loved ones. Over the years I would like to think I have had a great deal of success. I have used various resources during this time, and through a recommendation from a friend, began to use Tracesmart. The system has helped no end and I am pleased to share my successful reunion stories with Tracesmart, especially as it will highlight to people that there are ways to get back in contact with lost loved ones."
Founded in 1999, Tracesmart Ltd has, since the launch of its website in 2004, established itself as one of the UK’s leading people tracing resources available on-line today. Since its inception the site has been instrumental in reuniting thousands of long lost family members and friends.
Louise Hewlett - Louise is the head media tracer on the Missing Person project. As well as locating and reuniting those involved, she provides the detailed analysis of how the trace subjects were located. Recently, Louise made an appearance on the BBC programme ‘Missing Live’, where she explained how she reunited a father and daughter after 36 years.
Gill Whitley – Gill is an experienced tracer and has successfully reunited a multitude of individuals through her Searching for a Memory project. Her weekly Missing & Found column is published each Saturday in the Daily Mail.