If your bestie used to mean the world to you, only now you don't know where in the world she is, don't worry. There are plenty of tools at your disposal for tracking down friends from childhood. From Facebook and free people search directories to public records and school alumni associations, all it takes is a few mouse clicks to reunite you with your past. Plus, most resources are completely free.
Start With Facebook
If you're lucky, you can simply plug in a name and find a match on Facebook. But if your search comes back empty, then either your friend doesn't have a profile or he hasn't made it available for the public to see. Luckily, you can search a few friends removed. Type the name of your old school, camp or community group into Facebook's search bar and see if you can find other friends from childhood that you both knew. Now you can search their friends for positive matches, or ping out a message asking whether they know of your friend's whereabouts.
Search Free People Directories
Websites such as Whitepages, Zaba Search and Pipl can turn up a person's up-to-date contact information. Just type a name into the search field. Pipl is especially helpful; it displays images, so you can verify that you've found your friend from her mostly unchanged face. All the people-search directories offer free and paid services. For the most part, you can turn up an address and landline telephone number for free. If you want further information about your friend, you'll probably have to take out a paid subscription.
Contact Your Old School
If you went to school together, or you know where your friend went to school, search online to see if it has an alumni association. Not all schools do, but you can find out quickly by typing the name of the school and the city into any search engine. Dig around for the telephone number of the alumni coordinator, who may have information for you.
Public Records Check
State public records can be a rich source of information, particularly if there's a chance that your friend has married and changed her name. They can be tough to access, however. SearchSystems.net is an aggregator of public records databases that can make the process much easier. Select a state from the drop-down list to access the online public directories for that state, such as court records, property records and birth, marriage and divorce records. You can also search by record type and ZIP code.
A former corporate real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and personal finance, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.