How to Find a Specific Person

by Jayne Thompson

Perhaps you’ve lost touch with a former colleague, or you're wondering what happened to the neighbor you used to play with as a child. The good news is that it's never been easier to reconnect with a specific person ‒ from the comfort of your computer. Almost everyone has a digital footprint these days, so there’s a high probability that the person you’re looking for has some of her personal information online.

Tips

  • Plug the name into a people-related website to get an up-to-date address and telephone number, or sleuth on Google to find the person's social media accounts.

Search Online White Pages

Type the person's name into the online Whitepages. If the person is listed, you'll get instant access to his current address and telephone number. You can specify the location to narrow down your results, or leave that field blank and get results from all across the country, which is useful if you're not sure where the person lives. If you have an old address or telephone number for your friend, then you can also run a reverse search against those details. This is a good way to check that you're looking at the right person's profile if your search returns multiple matches.

Search a Specialist People-Finding Site

ZabaSearch, Intelius and Spokeo are among the better-known people-finding websites. If your friend is mentioned anywhere in the public records, then these sites should be able to find him. Just type in a name and city or state to get instant results. All the sites offer both free and paid services – you might turn up an address with a free search, but you'll get considerably more information if you pay. Spokeo, for example, will find addresses, cellphone numbers, email addresses, public social media profiles, and even public profiles on dating sites if you subscribe to a monthly subscription.

Run a Traditional Google Search

It sounds obvious, but typing the person's name into Google – preferably enclosed in quotation marks – can potentially reveal favorable results. To focus your search, add all the vital information you know about a person such as his age, location, schools he attended, places of work, and even hobbies or teams he enjoys. For example, you might search "Lee Jones surfer" or "Lee Jones Dallas Texas." If you know of a particular website your friend might be associated with, for example, the website of his alma mater, you can ask Google to search within that site. Use a search string such as "site: txstate.edu Lee Jones" to focus on those results.

Search Public Records

If your friend is a woman who might have gotten married and changed her name, try finding her marriage certificate. Locating a friend is much easier when you know her married name. Visit the vital health records section of the Centers for Disease Control's website and click the link for your state. This page will tell you how to access public marriage records for your location. Usually, you'll apply online through Vitalchek or write to the state Department of Vital Statistics. SearchSystems.net can also link you to the marriage records directory for your state.

About the Author

A former real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and corporate communications, 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.