our everyday life

The Best Way to Find People

by Mel Frank

The best way to find people is typically by using an online search. From people searches to email searches to social networking sites, nearly everyone has a form of contact accessible online. If you know how and where to access these features, you will be able to find the person you're looking for in a matter of minutes.

Phone Number & Address Search

DexKnows.com, WhitePages.com and ZabaSearch.com are three of the best ways to find people. Simply type in the person's last name, and optionally, first name. You can also add city, state and zip code if you know this information, and check off "include surrounding areas" if you know the general area in which the person lives. White Pages also allows you to do an advanced search, by including only the first few letters of a last name (and optional first name). This is a great option when you are not sure how to spell a person's name. All three services are free to use, and do not require a membership. Intellius.com is another option that returns very accurate results. While this service required membership, and a small fee for matching results (typically $15 - $25 ), this is a more reliable way to find a person if the free search options are not successful.

Email Search

Nearly everyone has an email address and uses it as a primary form of communication with friends and family. Yahoo People Search offers a fantastic email search feature that is very accurate and totally free to use. Visit their website, http://people.yahoo.com/, and choose the "Email Search" option to the right of the page. Results will display the most accurate matches.

Social Networking Sites

Millions of people use social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The odds are in your favor that the person you are trying to find most likely has an account with one of these companies. Both sites offer an option titled "Find Friends."Type in the name of the person for whom you are looking (even maiden names for women who have since been married), and a list of matching results will be displayed on your screen in seconds. You can contact the person directly through the MySpace or Facebook system, but you will need to be a member (both sites are free to join).

Ask Old Friends or Relatives

Contacting old friends and relatives are a great way to find people. If you are not able to find the person you are looking for through any of the above mentioned options, try to search for old friends or relatives of the person. Many times they will be more than happy to put you in contact with the person you are looking for.

Hire a Private Eye

Hiring a private eye can be costly, but it can be a great option to consider when nothing else seems to work. Private eyes have access to more databases than the common person, and also have connections to some courthouses and other government facilities that the average person can not obtain. If none of the free or low-cost options work, ask your local private investigator what the charge would be to find a person.