The best way to begin a search is by searching for the persons name in some of the major search engines. It is amazing some of the information that is available with a simple search such as this. For any given individual, various obscure information such as articles in local, regional, or national publications, obituaries, marriage announcements, clubs and affiliations, awards, race results, and more may exists on the web. Sometimes a search for a particular person by name will result in a resume complete with current contact information and job history.
This information can reveal important details about an individual such as city and state of residence, age, occupation, phone number and more. This information will prove to be very useful as we begin a more focused search further into the process. Any one piece of information can be critical as we expand our search.
A single piece of information can be the key to unlock a wealth of free background information. For instance, finding a business affiliation can be used to determine a the individuals city and state of residence. Having the city and state information we can perform more specific searches for criminal records, white pages listings, cell phone, obituary, marriage, and other public record searches. You may already have some key information... great! If not, don't worry, we are about to begin collecting some!
The first step when looking for information about a person online is to do a basic search on the best search engines. The first step is very basic and may seem obvious, but it is important that we do not overlook it! Results can be overwhelming for some individuals ("john smith"), and works best for names that are not as common. The purpose of this step is to gather any (and as many) keys we can find. We can then use these keys later on to help us as we try to unlock specific information doorways.
There are a few things that you can do to help limit your results set in the major search engines when searching for very common names. When entering you search terms, remember that you can use the '+' and '-' to refine your results. For example john + smith + arizona - phoenix will return results with john smith and arizona, but not phoenix (in most search engines). This can help when searching for very common names.
Do not be discouraged if no information is discovered during this step. This step serves to aid in more specific searches later in our process. It shortens the duration of the time and effort required later for successful results. Without it, more energy and persistence will be required. You can use the 'search engines' link in the tools menu to access the search engines at any time from this site. Start Step 1 now by using the People Search Engines link here or in the 'Tools' menu on the left hand side of this page to do a basic search.
Tip: Did you know that you can use search engines to search indexes of messages people have posted on usenet bulletin boards? This is where many people go to post questions and have discussions about specific tops. Millions of people post to this forums and usually leave their name and email address in the postings. This is a very effective way to search for names and/or email addresses of the people you are looking for. We recommend that you include this as part of this step. Many of the major search engines have this feature. You can start by trying http://groups.google.com by clicking it here.
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