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Help! Sites to search lost people on the net?
Old 12-29-2007, 05:49 AM   #1
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Help! Sites to search lost people on the net?

Does anyone know how you can look up old flames/family/friends on the internet? Are there any really good search sites except for the yellow pages/white pages on the net, which don't seem to help much?:confused:
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:02 AM   #2
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I have done lots of searching and never used a paid service. It helps if the person has an unusual name (not John Smith). You have to try the name in many different forms as well (J Smith, John Smith, JD Smith, etc). it also helps if you at least know the state(s) they have lived, schools attended, etc. Then you google and dig. (J Smith, Yale, etc). Knowing the school helps a lot for women, since they may be in alumni magazines with their married name. There are lots of red herrings, but I find that rephrasing the search, or repeating the same search on different days will give you different results.

Once you know the state and/or city, you can use state and county sites to find property owned and taxes, etc.
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Old 12-29-2007, 07:39 AM   #3
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Free People Search by ZabaSearch!

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Old 12-29-2007, 11:13 AM   #4
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zabasearch is free and seems to have almost everybody - - even a lot of local politicians and celebrities. So, I would try it first.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:32 AM   #5
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I've had good luck with whitepages.com

If you know something about a person's profession, then linkedin may help, but they have way fewer people than some of the other sites. Also google searches have been useful for people with unusual names.
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Old 12-29-2007, 06:01 PM   #6
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It may be worthwhile to contact a local private investigator and pay a small fee (~$25-$50) if you feel it's worth it. Depends on what your time is worth to you - pay that much or spend the entire day on web sites. They subscribe to a number of databases - at least the good ones do - so if one doesn't have the information you're looking for another might. For example, magazine subscription databases often go back 20 years or more and with data mining a skilled investigator could follow the trail just from old addresses.

I'd be a bit wary of web sites that promise the moon and might be just one guy with a PC in Taiwan.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Does anyone know how you can look up old flames/family/friends on the internet? Are there any really good search sites except for the yellow pages/white pages on the net, which don't seem to help much?:confused:
Google is usually my first try. Just put their name in quotes and add the state they live(d) in.

I often use Zaba search, but you have to look carefully at its results. I think Zaba's database is automatically updated based on public records, such as the county recorder's office.** If a person has moved several times, they may show up several times under Zaba at different outdated addresses. But the good thing about Zaba is that it often lists DOB, which can help if you're dealing with a common name.

If the person you're looking for is young, you could try Myspace and Facebook. Many people under 30 (and most people under 25) have profiles.

**Actually, does anyone know exactly how Zaba gets all of its data? I show up under a Zaba search at my parent's OLD address from when I was in high school, 10 years ago . . . Maybe DMV records?
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:05 AM   #8
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I just put my name into Zaba search and out it showed several references to me at my present and my former addresses .This is spooky .
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:13 AM   #9
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I just put my name into Zaba search and out it showed several references to me at my present and my former addresses .This is spooky .
I just tried my name. I found three entries at placed I used to live. The first was my parent's old house when I was in high school. The second was my appartment during my third year of college. The third was my brother's old rental house, where I stayed for a few weeks one summer during college.:confused:

If anyone was looking for me and they sent letters to those addresses, they would never find me.

Interestingly, the entry for my parent's old house says "Recorded: 9/01/2005.' I know that my parents moved out of there well before 9/1/05, and I can't imagine what document would have been recorded at that time that would list that as my address.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Does anyone know how you can look up old flames/family/friends on the internet? Are there any really good search sites except for the yellow pages/white pages on the net, which don't seem to help much?:confused:
By any chance are you looking for old flames ? I always thought it would be a good idea to film reunions .That way for $19.95 you get to watch it in the privacy of your home without getting dressed and making small talk with people you haven't seen or care to see in years .
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:01 AM   #11
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I found the most people using Classmates.com. A surprising number of people put something about themselves on there and you can email them. This does require that you know where they went to high school. Its also going to work better with people under 60.

The other one I use is switchboard.com for their family name in their old home town. If I dont get a hit in the area, I use the intellius free search at the bottom of the switchboard page with just the family name and look for relatives. The free intellius results gives names, ages, and allegedly related family members. Once you've found a relative, you can look up their phone number and address and snag them, get the number of the person you're looking for from them.

I said "allegedly" above, because my intellius record shows me as being related to a handful of people I've never heard of.

Linked-in and zoominfo also turn up some surprisingly good results at times.

Ancestry.com has a number of search tools that can be helpful. As morbid as it sounds, I remembered the names of some peoples elderly parents and found them (and their last known address) in the social security death records.

Using these tools, I've found pretty much everyone I ever looked for. Most of them have free trials and if you look around, promotional deals for a month or a year at pretty low cost. Just make sure you cancel three times before they autobill your credit card.

Most of my success came from finding one person and then networking with who they've kept in touch with. Linked-in is ridiculously good at this. I hooked up with a half dozen key people and their links and links to links to links produced all sorts of people.

I found one of my old high school girlfriends, and it turns out that one of her friends married one of my old friends, and he'd kept in touch with about 20 people I used to hang out with. I found another buddy that had gone to work with another old friend I'd been looking for, and he'd kept in touch with a handful of other people I'd always wondered about.

Now for the downside. I found a lot of people who ended up dead or sitting by themselves in some crappy apartment in a bad part of town. I found an old co-worker who became a financial advisor that was harder to shake off my leg than an amorous schnauzer. I also found a lot of immensely intelligent and talented people did absolutely nothing with their lives.

On the other hand, there were also some great outcomes.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:07 AM   #12
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Classmates.com for $9.95 for one year. Be advised if you go for their free trial period, they'll claim that a handful of people have signed your guestbook but you cant see who until you pay. You'll then see the guestbook signers and not only will they not be anyone you know, they're bogus people. Yep, they're lying to get you to sign up! :

https://secure.classmates.com/cmo/us...sp?dsource=pub
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