Thinking Outside the Box

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Often searching requires creativity.

When searching for a person on Facebook, try searching for all the possible relatives listed on various lookup sites as well. You may find family pictures or other information that you can use. In fact, unless it is a really popular surname, try searching on just the surname and go grazing for information.

I am doing an mixed ethnicity search at the moment and the family pictures are very important as we investigate one possible person after another.

Do the same thing when getting the possible relatives on one of the many lookup sites like Look up every possible relative. Some times you may happen on to a gem of information. Do thorough searches on everyone listed.

When searching on, think of all the ways you can stretch the information. If you find someone in public records, refine your search and search using just the address that person lived. You may find out who else lived there.

Sometimes you need to go up a generation and come back to the generation you are interested in. Be sure to check the obituaries that has on line. While you are it, use the family tree, photos and other tabs that come up with your hits. Although the family trees will not typically show living people, sometimes they indicate "Living" and then the last name of descendants.

Check Classmates and check their new yearbook section. You never know!

If you are not finding someone under a birthdate that you have, try  just the year and month.

If your search is for a woman who married, look in also for the maiden name. Legal records and old addresses may still be accessible.

Speaking of legal records. Many of the states have online searchable court record databases. Google "search New Mexico court records" for example. In some states this includes divorces and or marriages that took place with a judge.

Much of what you are looking for is in free sources. However, there are a number of useful sites. No one can subscribe to all of them so join a group like theregistry on There you can ask for people to look things up for you. There are many such online groups.

Here are some of the paid subscription sites I use. I am sure I will leave some off by accident. Some to these sites may also be available through your public library free if you have a library card.
Http:// (if you are looking for a number of people)

I hope this will help someone. I also want to post the names of some of the best volunteer search angels I know. These are women with high principals, networking in place and excellent skills.
Patty Drabing
Priscilla Sharp
Michelle Gross
Diana Iwanski

There are many more I will try to name some more over time.


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