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How to track down an old friend or relative

Posted in: Family Last updated: 29 Jun 2012

It’s an all-too common scenario: despite promising to stay in contact with a good friend, life rushes on by and before you know it, you’ve completely lost touch with one another.

It's not too late

There are all sorts of obstacles that stop us from making time to keep in contact with the people we care about. Whether it’s conflicting schedules, long distance, work or family commitments. But it’s never too late to reignite a friendship or find an old relative you’ve not spoken to in years. If you have a niggling urge to get in touch but are missing essential details such as their address or phone number, there are a number of things you can to do fill in the gaps.

First things first, rack your brain for all the things you know about the person you’re trying to track down. Scribble down the basics, such as their full name, age, date of birth, last known address or phone number, names of family members etc.

Google it!

It’ll probably come as no surprise but your first port of call should be Google. A simple trick is to type the name in quotation marks. This will tell the search engine to search for the exact phrase – so for example, “Sarah Clark”.

Google will probably return a stack of results, so to refine your search, key in other criteria such as their middle name, occupation or location. If you’re looking to be a little more specific, make use of their advanced search feature, and double check you’ve found the right person using Google image search.

Search tools

There are also a handful of people search tools which may come in useful. Pipl is the most widely known one and 192.com lets you scroll through electoral roll data, but you’ll need to register and buy credits for more information. If you happen to be looking for someone you worked with in the military, Military.com provides a free ‘buddy service’ finder and has a database of over 20 million records. Don’t forget to check through phone directories either – BT’s online phone book will do all the hard work for you.

Specialist websites

It’s always worth checking out specialist websites. You’ve probably heard of Friends Reunited, but there are other sites such as My Old Mate which have thousands of people wanting to get in contact with old friends or relatives.

Blogs

As a last resort, you could scour the blogosphere. Blogging is such a popular pastime these days that you never know, your friend might just happen to have one. Many people post their thoughts to their blog under their real name, so they’re usually pretty easy to locate. Google’s dedicated blog search page is one of the best tools for the job.

Re-connecting and keeping in touch

Once you’ve obtained the details of the friend or relative you want to get in touch with, the next step is to find the right method to re-connect with them. Our article on how to re-connect with friends or family might help.

Whilst pondering over ways to stay in touch with friends or family members, you might want to spare a few moments to think about how you or a loved one can track down lost funds. It’s very common for money and estates to go unclaimed, so if this has happened to you or you want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to your loved ones, then check out our Keep it Will it Flag it post.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.