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The Salvation Army Missing Persons program is a unique international social service. Its purpose is to help facilitate successful reunions between family members who have lost contact with each other.
Searches are conducted utilizing a variety of methods, including government offices, credit institutions, social service agencies and law-enforcement personnel. The Salvation Army is instrumental in re-uniting thousands of families each year. The Missing Persons office receives an average of 2,000 inquiries; opens approximately 600 new cases and locates an average of 350 people annually.
The Family Tracing Service was officially established in 1885, when it was designated as 'Mrs. Booth's Enquiry Bureau'. In the 1880’s, many young people were leaving their families in the provinces to seek employment in the city. Families were becoming fragmented as a result of social and economic pressures; consequently, they lost track of loved ones. In 1885, an Inquiry Department was set up in London, England to receive requests from anxious family members. By the end of that year there were offices in many overseas countries where The Salvation Army was present. It has developed to become one of The Salvation Army's most distinctive international services in many territories where it has been in operation for more than a century.