Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.  Who must register to use the Unidentified Persons System?
  Medical examiners and coroners who will be entering case information in the UP system will be required to register as a UP user. A registered medical examiner or coroner may delegate data entry responsibilities to another official using the username and password assigned to the medical examiner or coroner. Medical examiners or coroners who are not members of the National Association for Medical Examiners (NAME) or the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME) must provide the name of a sponsor who belongs to NAME or IACME. Members of NAME or IACME do not need a sponsor.

Law enforcement officers must register for full data viewing privileges. When registering, law enforcement personnel must provide the name of the chief medical examiner or coroner serving their jurisdiction.

Missing Persons clearinghouse directors have been pre-registered and assigned a username and password. They need not register to use the UP system. If you work for such a clearinghouse and need access to the UP, contact your clearinghouse director for authorization and the relevant username and password.
2.  How do I register?
  To begin the registration process, click Register in the Member Login section at the top left of the Home page. The Welcome to NamUs Registration page appears. Click Continue and the New User Registration page appears. Provide the requested information and click Continue to go to the Terms of Use page. After reading this page, click Agree to indicate that you accept the terms of use. The Success page appears, giving you further information about your registration.
3.  How long does it take to register?
  It takes just a couple of minutes to provide the registration information. However, it may take several days for credentials to be verified and to be authorized and activated as a UP user. Because of the wide variety of people who use the system, verification of a registrant's credentials may require personal contact with a registrant's sponsor or other party, and this may take time if the sponsor is not readily available. The UP system tries to activate registrants within two business days if credentials can be verified.
4.  How can I speed up my registration?
  If a sponsor is required for you to register, make sure in advance that your sponsor knows you are registering and to expect inquiries about your registration. If you don't receive UP activation within two business days, contact your sponsor to request a follow-up on any requests received from NamUs UP about your registration.
5.  Who do I contact if I have questions or encounter problems?
  The UP system has links within the Help section to which you can e-mail questions or describe problems you have encountered with the UP. Such e-mails will be processed and forwarded to the appropriate person for resolution.
6.  Who can enter unidentified person information in the UP system?
  Only registered and authorized medical examiners and coroners, or an official agent acting on their behalf, may enter case information in the UP system.
7.  Who can search the UP system?
  Anyone can search the UP, but the level of access to information will vary. Medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officers and missing persons clearinghouse professionals have access to all case information. The public has access to basic case information and limited access to identification photographs.
8.  How is a search conducted?
  Any member of the public can conduct a search by selecting search criteria from the drop-down list boxes in the Quick Search area of the UP Home page. The drop-down boxes allow you to select a missing person's race, sex, ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino), date last known to be alive, age when last known to be alive, and state in which the person was last known to be alive. These can be searched in any combination and the quick search is designed to display a relatively large group of cases that could be possible matches.

To conduct a search using more criteria, click on the Search link on the UP Home page. The Advanced Search screen appears, which has an extended list of check boxes that allow you to further customize your search. The advanced search allows any combination of search criteria, including clothing, dental characteristics, tattoos, scars and many other potential identifying features.

Registered UP users, after signing in, can conduct the same types of searches. The only difference from a public search is that registered users have access to more case information than the general public, and registered users can view all photographs associated with the case.

Further information is contained in the Search Tips and Dental Search Tips Help files on the UP site.
9.  To which information do I have access?
  Each case in the UP system contains information in several categories, and the menu bar contains a link to each category.
The general public has access to:
  • Case information (case number, date found, etc.)
  • Demographics (age, race, etc.)
  • Circumstances
  • Physical and medical details (hair, eyes, tattoos, scars, etc.)
  • Fingerprints, if available
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Dental information
  • DNA information, if available
  • Case identification photograph or image, if provided
  • Reports (ability to print out a summary of one or more cases)
  • Contact information
Registered law enforcement officers, medical examiners and coroners have access to information listed above, as well as the following additional information:
  • Police contact information
  • Exclusions (missing persons who fit the case details but have been eliminated as a possible match)
  • Possible Missing Persons matches
  • Case follow-up information
  • NCIC module (under development)
10.  What type of on-line help is available?
  The UP Home page contains a Help link in the banner at the top of the page. The sub menu under the Help link contains four choices:
  • Help
  • FAQ
  • About
  • Contacts
Click Help to view a Help Documents page appears with the following items:
  • User Guide
  • DNA Protocol for Collection
  • User Quick Tips
  • Search Tips
  • Dental Tips
  • 5 Star Identification Potential
  • Fingerprint Information
  • NamUs-UP Worksheet
  • State Missing Person Clearinghouses List
11.  How do I change my password or user information?
  Registered UP users who are logged into the system may change their username, password and other registration information by clicking the Edit Profile link below the banner at the top of the Home page. For agencies in which multiple people may be sharing a username and password, it is important that all users are aware of changes to the user profile information.
12.  How much does it cost to use the UP system?
  There is no fee for using UP. The cost of the system is supported through donations of professional time and supportive federal funding.
13.  What computer equipment do I need to use UP?
  The computer requirements are:
  • Internet access
  • One of the following browsers
    • Internet Explorer 6
    • Internet Explorer 7
    • FireFox
    • Safari
    • Other browsers are not supported but may work
  • JavaScript and Cookies must be enabled
14.  What if I need UP registration but don't fit into any of the registrant categories described above?
  There will probably be some circumstances in which UP registration is appropriate but, for some reason a required sponsor is not available. If this is the case, go to the Help link on the UP Home page and select Contacts. Send an e-mail to the appropriate point of contact using the e-mail links provided. Explain your situation, job role and reasons for needing UP registration. Your e-mail will be reviewed, and you will be contacted for further details. A response may require several days.
15.  Who developed and operates the UP?
  The UP was developed in 2005-2006 as a public service project by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), Occupational Research and Assessment, Inc. (ORAINC) and the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME). As of June 2007, funding for further system development and management is provided by the National Institute of Justice. The UP is currently operated and managed in the ORAINC office in Big Rapids, Michigan, under the aegis of the National Institute of Justice's NamUs program and its Web site.