If your relative served as a commissioned officer (the Army’s equivalent of a minister) in the Salvation Army, you can request a copy of his or her record. The record will likely contain birth date and place and death date and place, a short biography, and may contain info on spouse (also likely to be a Salvation Army officer, as they have to marry fellow officers or leave the service), children, and funeral of that officer. They have records for commissioned officers only, so don’t bother asking for personnel records for civilian employees, volunteers, or clients. Send your e-mail request to Susan Mitchem, National SA Archivist. An answer via e-mail won’t cost you a dime-- if paper copies are necessary, you’ll be expected to pay for those (was 25 cents per copy).
You can also ask the Salvation Army to help find a long lost relative anywhere in the world. The service won’t cost you a dime, since it’s considered part of the Army’s ministry (although in the event of a successful search, a properly grateful person would certainly make a generous donation). To get help, contact the Salvation Army branch nearest you (no matter where you live or where you suspect the missing person might be living). They’ll give you a form to fill out that provides basic info on the missing person- they will then forward copies of that info to other relevant Army branch offices. BTW-- if they find your missing person, they’ll tell you if he or she has died-- but if that person is alive and wants to stay “missing,” they won’t tell you his or her whereabouts.
Want more on this subject? There’s a very helpful article by Donna Murray in the Sept/Oct 2007 issue of Family Chronicle.