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How to Find Anyone Online

A Step by Step Guide to Finding Someone on the Web - Free!


Want to reconnect with someone? How about track down a long lost classmate, a friend you just lost contact with, or even look up your genealogy? You can do all this and more with free tools found online.

In order to get the most out of this guide, I suggest you do the following:

  • Have an open Word document or Notepad tab handy to keep track of your information.
  • Put together as much information as you have on the person you're looking for.
  • Use these search tools and sites in order; I've listed them so you should be able to find information better this way.

Ready? Let's get going!

1. Zabasearch

The first place you'll want to go when trying to find someone online is Zabasearch. Type the person's full name into the search field, and see what comes up.

You most likely will get a lot of information here, but do not pay for information. If you see something that asks you to pay, just disregard it. You'll be able to obtain a good amount of absolutely free information here on the person you are looking for - or at least enough to keep going.

Once you have your information, copy and paste it to a Word document or Notepad file for easy access, and keep on going to the next step in this list.

2. Google

In order to find someone on the Web, you're going to need all your sleuthing skills - very rarely does all the information you're looking for come to you in one search. That's where Google comes in. You can use this article on Google People Search for specific Google tips that will help you find who you're looking for with this popular search engine.

For instance, merely typing the person's full name in quotations - "John Smith" - into Google's search field can potentially yield quite a few favorable results. If you know where the person lives - "John Smith" Atlanta - you'll get even more results. How about where the person works? "John Smith" "coca-cola" Atlanta.

Once you've gone as far as you can go with Google People Search, copy and paste your information onto your research file, and go on to the next step.

3. Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest social networking sites on the Web - and there is a very good chance that the person you are looking for has a profile there.

If you have the full name of the person you're looking for, you can use that to find them on Facebook. You can also find someone on Facebook by using their email address, if you have it. Or, you can type in the name of the high school, college, or company that the person you're looking for is affiliated with.

4. Pipl

Pipl is a people-specific search engine that gives you information that's a bit different than what you'll find using Google or Yahoo, because it searches the invisible Web, otherwise known as the information that's not readily accessible in a cursory Web search.

Type in the person's name that you're looking for in the Pipl search box, and see what you come up with. Once you have the information you're looking for, add it to your Find Someone research file (which should be filling up quite nicely by now!) and go on to the next step.

5. Wink

Wink is a people search engine that focuses not only on traditional search engine results, but social community profiles as well. Type as much as you can into Wink's search boxes: full name, location, etc., and see what you can come up with.

6. Looking for an obituary

Obituaries can be relatively simple to track down, or they can require a lot of research both on the Web and off. It just depends on when and where they were published. However, you can use the Web to find many obituaries online for free, or, at least get started on your research.

7. Public Records

If you want to find someone online, one of these resources in the Top Ten Public Records Sources is sure to help you.

These are some of the best free public record search databases online, from obituaries to census records. Note: Depending on the state or country that you live in, you might not be able to access more personal public records, such as birth certificates, drivers' licenses, marriage certificates, etc., without A)showing physical proof of identification or B)paying a fee. Many of these resources give you a good starting point from which to begin your research.

8. ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo takes searching for people on the Web to a whole new level; by using a combination of various technologies to crawl the Web (Web sites, press releases, electronic news services, SEC filings, etc.), ZoomInfo organizes all the information about people into a readable, sensible format - profiles that can also be searched within ZoomInfo by corporate headhunters.

Type in who you're looking for into ZoomInfo and you'll potentially come back with a lot of information that leads to other information: i.e., links that show you where else that person is on the Web (that's IF they have a presence online. If the person you are looking for doesn't get on the Web much, this isn't going to do you much good.).

9. PeekYou

If the person you're looking for has done anything on the Web, PeekYou should be able to pick it up.

For example,Peekyou enables you to search for usernames across a variety of social networking communities. For instance: say you would like to learn more about the person who uses the handle "I-Love-Kittens"; you can use PeekYou to see what else they might be doing on the Web under that username (most people use the same username across many different Web services, so you could potentially hit some major paydirt here!).

10. YoName

If you know your person's email address, username at various forums, message boards, social communities, etc., first and last name or phone number, type this information into YoName's search box and see what comes up.

YoName will search across six different social communities (LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Yahoo 360, and Friendster) to find what you're looking for.

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