Be Your Own Detective

Copyright 2013

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Recently my friend's sister got curious about what had happened to her first husband after they split. That marriage had ended badly  and they hadn't been in contact for nearly thirty years. She tried searching for her ex-husband's name on Google and Yahoo but didn't get any hits. Knowing I do research online, she asked if I could find out anything.

I recommended she try one of the people search database services. Even the better ones cost so little, they're practically free. Most offer a trial period. I gave her the name of one to try.  In just minutes, she'd found out all kinds of information about her ex. It turned out that he'd done something of a turnaround after they'd broken up. Their divorce resulted from fights over his serious drinking problem. After they broke up, though, he'd eventually gone back to med school, gotten his MD and become an orthopedic surgeon. He'd even been instrumental in developing some sort of device used by other surgeons in his field.

Unfortunately, the poor fellow had passed, but at least my wife's friend found comfort in knowing that things had worked out for him after all. She remarked that even though their relationship ended in the worst imaginable way, it had started from a good point. She said she hadn't really wanted to contact him. She just wanted to know what had happened to him.

Sometimes all we want is just to satisfy our curiosity about what happened to someone we've lost track of. Most of us have an old friend or acquaintance we still wonder about.

A Better Way to Find People

As many as half a million times a month, someone searches on Google alone, looking for a way to find a lost person. Whether it's someone from the past with whom we've lost touch, or someone we met last weekend and yearn to see again, were always searching for others.  Unfortunately, most general searches fail. Just like Googling failed for my wife's friend. The information is out there, somewhere. But being forced to sift through so many unrelated results makes it nearly impossible.

That's why I recommended she use a people search service - sometimes they're called Internet Detective services. They pull all the information spread across thousands of servers and combine it into people-specific search databases. Then when you drop in a name or an address or a phone number, whatever bit of information you have, you get instant gratification. Up pops the latest scoop about your person.

It's exciting when you do a person search on a dedicated database. You find what you're looking for in seconds. Plus, you not only get current information, often you get historical data too. You find not only where the person is now but also where they lived or worked before that and before that and before that.  You can sort of see your old friend's life laid bare. Sometimes you find a person's life didn't turn out the way you'd have thought. That's when the Criminal Check part of the service can help you find out what prison they ended up in!

When You Choose a Personal Search Service, Here's What to Look For

1. Speed   You want a service that responds quickly. Make sure you try it out. A fun test is to do a search on yourself. You get to check speed and accuracy!

2. Proprietary Database  If a service compiles their own database, they must be fairly successful. It's costly to build and maintain. Such well-funded providers are much more likely to stay around. From a usability standpoint, it's better too. You get a single interface that you can quickly learn.

4. Training and Support  Be sure you can easily learn to use any service you choose. Actually, you'll find the better services are intuitive - how to search will make sense as soon as you look at it. Don't ignore support. Sooner or later you'll have questions or there will be something you need help to get resolved. It's best if they offer free, live support.

Final Word

Join the millions using the web to track down old friends and new friends. But make it easier on yourself by using a People Search service rather than a general search engine. Have fun finding out exactly what did become of your old friend (or even your old, not-so-friendly ex)

If You Lost Track - can you Find Someone?