I was curious to know how a missing person might have been looked for in the 19th century or early 20th century - 1890s-1930s - as they didn’t have things like news broadcasts and such. Any ideas?

  • 1
    By the 1930s radio was widespread in many countries. – Jon Custer Mar 3 '19 at 17:03
  • 3
    Which part of the world? The situation in Europe and North America would be different to Africa, Asia and South America. – Steve Bird Mar 3 '19 at 17:23
  • 3
    Since you've tagged this 'crime', the familiar "Wanted" posters in the US spring to mind. But adverts in newspapers were also widely used to locate missing people in the UK and in the US. – sempaiscuba Mar 3 '19 at 20:50
  • 2
    Example ad to illustrate what @sempaiscuba wrote: blog.genealogybank.com/… – Denis de Bernardy Mar 4 '19 at 7:52
  • In 1923 the BBC started broadcasting SOS messages, which were appeals to find missing people or for people to get in touch bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35815747 – Dave Gremlin Mar 4 '19 at 10:54

Until tech evolved enough, there were 3 basic methods:

  • community word spreading (like talking about it in public locations like bars, etc)

  • local newspaper articles (missing announcement posted there)

  • local posters (posters on building walls and specially where many people were present, like markets)

  • Good answer. Here are some interesting examples of newspaper ads placed by or for formerly enslaved people separated from their families. – Brian Z Mar 4 '19 at 13:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.