Let’s suppose you’re trying to find someone you haven’t seen in a while – maybe an old high school friend, someone you were stationed with in the military, or even a relative you’ve lost touch with. You know you can find everything on the internet, so the natural question is – how can I find someone online?
You’d be right in thinking the information is out there – just about everything is – but where do you start? Here are some tips on both free and paid online people search options.
A search engine is probably the first place you’d think to start. Chances are, you’ve searched your own name at some point just to see what information is out there. While there’s a lot of overlap between Google and Bing, it’s worth trying both since they each might present different information.
Unfortunately, the problem with Google and Bing is that they host so much information, you often have to be relatively specific with what you’re searching for. For example, if you’re trying to search for someone, you’re unlikely to hit right on them if you just search for them by name (i.e. “John Doe”). You really have to search by name, current city and current state or by name and profession to get any kind of useful results. However, there’s a good chance you may not have that information. In addition, there’s the possibility the person has a married name, which makes it even harder to make Google or Bing work for you.
Social Media/Networking – Facebook/LinkedIn
Facebook is probably the primary way people have reconnected to long-lost childhood and high school friends. Once you’ve created an account and started to add people you know to your “Friends” list, Facebook starts to suggest people who have a number of common mutual friends with you.
In addition, you can search for people right on Facebook and they will try to match you with people that are connected to your existing pool of friends, which tends to work a little better than a regular Google or Bing search. You’ll even often have the option to see a picture of the person to make sure you’ve found the right one. However, not everyone uses Facebook and – while there is an option to include maiden names in an account – not everyone does; many don’t even use their real names. So, while it’s a great place to start, it’s not always going to work.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site and many people use it for professional networking, job hunting, etc. People are much more likely to use their real names and include a proper profile picture with LinkedIn and their resumes can help confirm you’ve found the right person.
People Finder Service
The only surefire way to find people online is using a dedicated people finder website like USA Trace. With deep access to many sources, USA Trace is able to link all known information about a person (past addresses, maiden names, etc.) so that – even with a last known name and state of residence, you can find someone instantly.
You’ll receive a current address, phone number and a ton of other public records information – including marriage records, criminal records, etc. (which might help you determine if you want to try to reconnect!).
Unlike the other ways to find someone online, a full people finder service isn’t free (unlimited searches start at around $10), but you can get free preview information to ensure you’re going to get your money’s worth. You can even try it below:
Our suggestion is to give the free options a shot first, then – if you’re not having success – give our people finder search a chance. With billions of instantly searchable people records, your search will almost certainly be over!