There are moments in life when you need to find a specific person and contact them. They may be an old friend or a past love. They can be anyone that signifies a meaningful relationship that has grown apart and needs to be rekindled. Fortunately there are a wide range of tools available to the masses to find people that are not only free to use, but easily accessible on a wide range of devices or in person.
The local library is a great resource for those who want a free and physical option to work with to find contact information for someone in your local area. Most libraries will have directories available such as local phone books, yellow pages, white pages and other options that you may not have available to you in your own home. Some local libraries even carry phone books for nearby cities or many from the state. Most libraries will provide free internet service and options to copy or print information you find either free or for a small fee.
Pros and Cons of Using a Local Library
Generally free resources such as a library have little cons but there are a few that need to be addressed. For one, you are restricted to the set hours of operation in order to use the facility to access the materials they provide. Some libraries will require membership to access internet and other resources. This could be a problem for those who cannot provide a document or requisite to become a member.
On the other hand, accessibility is high for most local libraries. Asking a librarian or other worker for help can reduce the time to find any directories or materials you are looking for. Some libraries have digital versions of materials which can be accessed on the web or through their on-site computers. Libraries have materials available in an organized environment that is welcoming and quiet so a majority of people will be relaxed and approachable. Hours of operation are usually generous and many materials can be checked out for use at home if necessary.
Taking advantage of a local library certainly is an option, especially if the contact information for the person is local and recent. It is excellent for those who have limited access to the internet or need physical help accessing materials.
Going to a local courthouse to access information available to the public is commonplace. To access any of the information you will need as much information you can possibly gather on the person you are trying to get information on. The following is usually required:
With that information it is possible to find items such as arrest, birth, death, divorce, marriage, warrant or other data requests. This is a great deal of information simply available to those who are interested and willing to fill out the proper request forms. This is really helpful for those who have limited access to the internet and would like specific information on a person.
Pros and Cons of Accessing a Local Courthouse and Public Records
Pros of using the local courthouse will be great. Many courthouse employees are eager to help and will provide you with help or give you information simply from your request. The more information you have on the person you are requesting a public record from, the more accurate your results will be. Filling out forms for your requests can allow you to access vast amounts of information. Some courthouses will have local county resources available online.
Some of the cons of using a local courthouse will be having a legitimate reason to access the information and providing your own information to the courthouse to have your request processed. For those who are looking for contact information and do not want a paper trail of their activity, filing paperwork may not be in their interest. Most requests for information will not be made out of malicious intent but the small percentage of those that are make it more difficult to access information without a valid reason. Online queries for information when available cannot be certified unlike requesting in person.
Facebook can be an invaluable resource to find people and their contact information. Anyone can create an account with a short signup process and verification using email and or phone number. Once access to Facebook is possible, the website provides some tools which could make it easy to find someone’s contact information if they are on the worldwide social media giant of a website.
Pros and Cons of Facebook
Facebook is generally the service used by most everyone when it comes to social media. Chances are that someone will be on Facebook if they have access to a Smartphone, computer or other device which can connect to the internet. This increases the chances that a specific person you may be looking for will be searchable on the website. Simply searching someone’s name will pull up all publicly available pages for people who share that name. Choosing anyone on the list of names that gets pulled up can provide open access to their contact information if it is available under the “about” tab on their page. It may provide their phone number, email address or other useful information to get in contact with them.
Unfortunately, not every single person is on Facebook. They may not have internet access or are not on social media. Another possibility is that there are too many people that share a common name with the person being searched. Some people use false names or may have changed their name due to marriage or simply have their information set to private so they may not be found. This can make Facebook unusable to search specific individuals who have circumstances which make it less likely for them to be found using the search.
Using the Search Functionality in Facebook
Facebook has a very powerful search bar that can be used to find specific people or even a group of people to contact. Say friends that went to the same high school as you that use Facebook are searchable online. Simply typing in “people that went to X School name in X year” can pull up people you know and lost contact with. Or using a search like “Single females aged X in X city” may pull up old love interests or friends that may have slipped off your radar. Facebook is an extremely useful tool in this sense.
LinkedIn is a website that is designed to help many people get the contacts they need in order to land a job or hire people for their company. It is a powerful tool to help people stay in contact with friends and colleagues as well. When signing up for LinkedIn, you will go through a process of importing contacts you already have in email. This makes it possible to see anyone that already is using the LinkedIn service as well as making it easy to invite those in your contacts that are not yet on the service with a simple click of a button.
Pros and Cons of Using LinkedIn Services
LinkedIn is a useful option for those who are business professionals or are trying to get themselves out there to find an occupation opportunity. A large amount of people use these professional services and can make it easy to find them by providing so much information about themselves such as their work history, location and what they are interested in.
The fact that the service is mostly used by students and professionals makes it difficult to find people who are not interested in finding an occupation or pursuing higher education to gain employment. People who are active on the site are most commonly those you will be able to find any deeper contact information on.
Functionality of the LinkedIn Network
Clicking on the “Network” tab in your LinkedIn dashboard will pull up a page where you can search for people using filters. Typing a name into the search will bring up any professionals or students that use LinkedIn to connect with people they know or potential work opportunities. There is also a “people you may know” portion of the network page that will try to match you up with contacts that either live in your area, work for the same company or in the same field, are not imported from your contacts yet and many other sources. This has potential to provide you with a connection to someone that you may be trying to get in contact with.
A simple search website to use for finding contact information of a person is Whitepages.com. The website can be used to search any real person’s name and their location to determine basic publicly available information on that person. A people search on this website may provide the following information when available:
The Whitepages.com website can also provide information from reverse phone number search and reverse address search when necessary. Land line phone numbers when searched will tend to provide the name and address of the person who owns that phone number. A reverse address search can show who currently lives at a certain address as well as the surrounding neighbors of that location.
Pros and Cons of using the Whitepages.com website
Free searching on the website can provide a great deal of information on an individual when you know their last general area in which they live. A people search is simple and straightforward and takes only a few seconds to complete. Options for information are made simple to access and the free information is categorized separately.
Some of the cons about the Whitepages.com website are that the information they have on file may not always be up to date. A search for someone in a certain location may only bring up information that was once true in public records. Searching an address may provide a long list of tenants if the property is rented. A reverse phone search may only provide very basic information and may not even be a real phone number! In addition, a person can request that their information be removed from this and similar services.
As a directory service, the Whitepages.com website is fairly accurate and provides a great range of details which may be helpful for someone trying to get contact information from someone they knew and knew a recent location where they lived.
Finding contact information of relatives or people that are connected to a family through marriage or other means is possible through familysearch.org. The main purpose for this type of genealogy service is to connect people who are related in some manner. It can be fairly straightforward when finding people on the search. The required pieces of information to perform a search are minimal such as a name and gender. Any main life events such as a marriage, birth or death can be found with this through a search.
Pros and Cons of using the Familysearch.org service
The definite pros of using the Familysearch.org are simple to use search system which allows you to search any name, living or deceased in the database. This is useful for finding immediate family members or those extended through marriage and more. A wide range of information such as Census records, marriage documents and death certificates are searchable as well.
Some of the cons of people searches through Familysearch.org can be a limitation of what information may be available. Not everyone is entered into the database and that means a large number of searches will come up empty. Finding unusual names may also be difficult but they do make up for it by providing similar spelling for names when a search comes back with little results. Overall, unless a living person puts their information on the website, it would be unsearchable to get any form of contact data.
Building up a contact list of known and unknown relatives using Familysearch.org is useful for family reunions and other important functions. It is not unfeasible to use the site to get contact info for unrelated persons as well. Genealogy websites make the best efforts to provide information that is useful while remaining low cost or free to access.
The most powerful search engine is useful for retrieving contact information for anyone that has any sort of online presence whether it is through direct consent from the person or through an offshoot source that they agreed to at some point. Google makes it easy to find just about anything you want as long as you are able to compose your search query to return the information you need.
The process is simple when visiting Google.com or using one of their apps or built in searches on a device. One only has to provide the name of the person, along with the city or state information to pull up a myriad of information about someone. So a search query of “X name X City X State” will pull up information about the person and the associated location. Anything that Google returns may be contact information that you may be interested in.
Some of the information which may be available through Google search results:
Pros and Cons of using Google to Search Contact Information
The benefits of using Google searches to find contact information are great. Relevant search results using the name and other information about a person will most likely pull up the correct individual. Google is a free service which can be used by anyone to try their hand at locating a person online.
Some cons about Google are the way that ads are selected when you do a search on the site. This can become confusing when people search results are shown mixed with sponsored content. Some of the links will only be able to provide information using alternative services which may or may not charge for access.
The Incredible Power of People Search Tools
The fact that you can get in contact with someone that you may not have seen in a long time or been in contact with ever makes using a people search tool worth the time invested in it to work out. A vast amount of people do not know that these tools are available and can make a difference in their lives to find people they want to interact with. To find someone that matters to them literally takes a few keystrokes and some time to make a search on one of the many platforms available. These tools can also be very useful in helping friends and family to contact their lost friends and family and bridge the gap between these connections.