Lost Classmates, Lost Family Members, or Lost Lovers - Tips and Tricks
By Herb Halling
There are dozens of ways
to find lost classmates/ Some of them are old techniques and some
are using cutting edge technology. in the early years we would find
a classmate that was a police officer and he would check police records
for classmates, however that tended to locate trouble makers that had been
arrested and the technique was not in compliance with Police Department
policy for use of police records. I personally missed 1 reunion
because I was never arrested and did not have a police record.
Another method is if you have a property appraiser in your reunion
committee with access to public property records. However here again
you are limiting yourself to property owners. Today with computers
and online search programs, you can find almost anybody you want.
The only drawback is if they have a common name like John Smith, there are
just too may candidates.
There are free search web
sites like WhitePages.com but in recent years they are limiting the
amount of detail information on the classmate and encouraging you to
subscribe to a more detailed service. I tend to use them to confirm
who is living a a particular address which is a free service but no phone
numbers are given. You can also enter a phone number and find the
name and address. If you enter a name, it will give you possibly 1/2
dozen people with the same name, their address, but to view the details on
this person you need to purchase a report.
Next is ZabaSearch
which is similar to white pages. If you enter a phone number it
tells you if it is a landline or cellular, but the name and address are
available for a fee. If you enter a name of a classmate that is not
too common, it gives you the DOB, some new and old addresses, and possibly
a phone number with an obsolete area code. There is a link to
purchase a more detailed report on the classmate. Personally I only
use Zaba to learn who s living at a specific address, and it tends to be
relatively current information.
At the other end of the
spectrum are full service web sites such as PeopleFinders where you
pay a monthly fee of about $39 and get access to hundreds of classmates by
entering their name, city, state, age, and birthdates if known. They
will tell you everyone with that name or a similar name, their age, some
email addresses, business associates, possible relatives , and possible roommates.
There are phone numbers but most of them have been disconnected and
replaced with cell phone numbers. I find PeopleFinders one of the
best web sites to start your search. Then I may use AzbaSearch or
WhitePages to confirm who is living at a particular address or registered
to a phone number. PeopleFinders can provide criminal records,
marriage, birth and death records and sometime a photo off the person.
another good subscription service very similar to PeopleFinders in what
they offer. In addition to the above listed for PeopleFinders,
PrivateEye also lists property records and bankruptcies and liens.
One nice feature is it lists social profiles, classmates, Images, Videos,
Blogs, News, Wikipedia, and Amazon for any mention of the classmates.
In recent years social
media web sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin and others
have become good sources to search for classmates. Just type in a
classmates name and see what pops up. Frequently you will get an
email address or a method of sending them a message to your classmate or
one of their siblings.
Death records are an
important source of information.. Using Legacy.com they
search over 800 national and international newspapers plus the US Social
Security Death Index to provide the most timely obituary information
originally established to search family trees and identify
relatives. But recently it has become an invaluable source of
information of locating classmates. It includes the Social Security
Death Index, Historical Newspapers, birth, marriage and death announcements
1851 to 2003 and many English sources of information.
An old source that may
have outlived its usefulness is Classmates.com. They list all
the high schools and all the classmates that have ever registered
with classmates. The problem is they were charging too much and few
people renewed and the contact information became old. If the
classmate does not chek for current messages, the web site is useless.
I am sure that if I
searched for more resources they would be plentiful, however they all boil
down to one important point. They are there to sell information and
most of the time it is full of errors or out of date.