All our Does are missing people

If you have a missing family member, friend or loved one, our hearts go out to you.

According to  NamUs, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. But for families who are missing a loved one, their person is the one that matters. 

The DNA Doe Project works exclusively on cases of unidentified remains in partnership with law enforcement, so we never work directly on missing persons cases. However, all of our Does are missing people, and our work has shown us that many of them have family and friends who have been looking for them, sometimes for decades.

If you’re here, reading this, you’re likely considering the terrible possibility that your loved one is deceased and may be unidentified. There are some important steps below that you can take to make information about your missing person available to our researchers and everyone working to resolve cases of unidentified remains.

Report your loved one as missing
File a Missing Person Report with the local law enforcement agency in the area where your loved one last resided. If you aren’t sure where they were living, file with your local police or sheriff.
Provide DNA
Provide a DNA sample either from the Missing Person or an immediate family member. If possible, a DNA sample from the Missing Person is preferred. This could be a hairbrush, toothbrush or biological sample. A DNA sample from an immediate family member is also known as a Family Reference Sample (FRS). If a Family Reference Sample is taken, it will usually be done at the time the report is made, or shortly thereafter. If you are not invited to give a Family Reference Sample, inquire with the agency. Family members who provide a Family Reference Sample or DNA sample will need to complete paperwork. Filing a Missing Person Report and providing a DNA sample may prove to be daunting at first, but be persistent!
Provide dental records
Dental records can be especially useful to compare to unidentified remains, and this type of comparison is cheaper and faster than using DNA. If you don’t already have access to your loved one’s dental records, you may need to work with the courts to obtain them.
Submission to NamUS
Make sure there is an active record for your missing person in The family can coordinate with a NamUs regional program director who can assist them. When you register as a public user on the site, you will also be able to see the list of comparisons officials have made to the MP record. Check the NamUs record periodically because records get purged and new comparisons can be added.
Provide more DNA

Anyone who is related can help by taking a direct-to-consumer DNA test like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or MyHeritage, and then uploading their results to the opt-in-matching databases at, and

Uploading your results to DNAJustice, GEDmatch and FTDNA is the only way that DNA Doe Project and other investigative genetic genealogists can match your DNA profile to that of unidentified remains.

Leave breadcrumbs for researchers
Researchers use all sorts of public data, including social media, websites, and family research sites.

Build a free online family tree with as much information as possible at, which is preferable, or, and make it public. won’t display information about living people, so mark your missing relative “deceased” and add “Missing” in the Death date field.

If you are comfortable doing so, post the story and pictures of your missing loved one to your social media and make sure they are shared publicly, or create a page dedicated to your missing person.

When publishing family obituaries, make sure to include your missing family member’s name, ideally with the addition of (missing) to the text. Investigative genetic genealogists are often working with distant genetic matches to build family trees so they’re more likely to come across records for grandparents or great-grandparents whose obituary records provide important clues.