Searching for Missing People

My high school class is planning a reunion and we are trying to find about 250 of our classmates.

Can anyone recommend one people search website over another? Is the data in any one of them more current or accurate than any other?

Thank you for your suggestion(s).

They are all rather repulsive with unreliable data. In a similar search for alums, I relied on class members who if they had not kept in touch, often knew a family member. I used a newsletter with a list of a few people in each issue, a website, and a Facebook group (I know, but people are there), LinkedIn and repeated Google searches.

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Lisa is right, they’re all terrible. Word of mouth (well, word of email) was the most successful for our (all male) school reunion, people extending the net by being asked to. We were a big rugby school and that tended to stick as the years went on, people kept in touch, as sons joined teams etc.

Shockingly the reunion consisted of a room filled with balding overweight men. :grinning:


Lisa and Tommy are right; web sites for finding people are untrustworthy. Try searching for yourself and unless your name is extremely unusual and you’ve lived in the same place for decades, you’ll get all kinds of mistakes. One service had me and a couple of other family members living in Arkansas, a place we have never been, with a person with memorably unusual given name who came from Arkansas and had once roomed with one of my kids in a different state.

Facebook is absolutely the best place. I no longer use it, but I’d probably set up an account that was extremely limited in order to set up a reunion group.

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Have you tried

Our class used this as a starting point for many people.

Yes, we already have a site set up there.

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Please excuse mentioning the obvious but “our” 50th is this coming September and almost every one (800-ish) is accounted for by the school-sponsored and quite active alumni association. Then again we’re probably a bit different than some other high schools with grads such as Robert Ryan, Bill Murray, Chris O’Donnell, Conor Dwyer, Jim Irsay.

LinkedIn? Otherwise FB is likely your best bet.

Hope you have a blast!

@glennf @jeff1 @tommy @medievalist

Yes, I start with the usual suspects like Facebook and LinkedIn and I often find people there. If those profiles have not been abandoned then the person often accepts my request to become friends with them. And then they usually provide the requested contact information.

However, many such website profiles have been abandoned and do not have contact information posted there that is publicly available.

Yes, I:

  1. Coordinated with other alumni;
  2. Reached out to the school for records (which are usually unavailable or no longer current because we graduated so long ago); and
  3. Searched obituaries (and often find one for either them, their parents, or sibling(s)).

Still, out of a class of about 725 we have about 250 classmates who remain missing. And, some of the contact information that was current for our last reunion is no longer valid.

At this point, people search sites are my only alternative. Unlike you all, I’ve found that, when combined with what I know about the person from other sources, I can distinguish between contact information that is likely true vs. likely not.

Unfortunately, things like email addresses and phone numbers usually are not available for free on such sites. So, I’m thinking that I’ll have to subscribe to at least one of them, distasteful as this may be.

So far, I’ve had good luck with nuwber, which provides full details on the first five searches each day. And then there’s always the voter rolls, which are apparently public for most states.

I just tried a search with nuwber, and it was the same as any of the other people search sites I’ve tried–endless screens of repeating non info until finally the payoff screen, which is literal: I had to commit to at least a $13 weekly fee (auto recurring weekly) before I got ANY information. I saw nothing anywhere about “full details on the first five searches each day.”

I tried a search twice, just to make sure I didn’t miss any buttons to get “full details” on even one report, let alone five.

People are correct in being very cautious in dealing with these sites, or even dealing with them at all.

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Here is what I suggest.

Out of hundreds of alumni, you probably have a bunch of attorneys. Ask if any of them subscribe to a skip-tracing Web-based service. These services are only available to licensed attorneys, and they are expensive. So you can’t and/or don’t want to subscribe to one on your own. But they are a very effective source of information to find people.

I’ve previously subscribed to such a service, and I was impressed. But I didn’t have the frequent need to use it to justify the cost, so I didn’t renew. Otherwise I’d be happy to help you out.


I would add that there there are titillating messages (there may be shocking data, graphic photographs, blah blah blah) as one waits (I suspect needlessly, but I have no evidence) for the “report” to be compiled.

One thing that surprised me slightly was that there was a link to another web site to get a (different) report, and that other web site had the same salacious messages.

Since they consolidate access to various public records databases, and you know the birth year (+/- 1 yr), genealogy websites like can be helpful. It can be worthwhile if you have a particular interest in finding a specific person, though it might be a little too much work for more than a handful of people.

Yes, though I don’t think that geneology sites usually have contact information, e.g., email/postal address or phone numbers, do they (even with a paid membership)?

That’s mostly correct, but genealogy sites can be helpful for tracking down current/recent cities of residence, which can greatly simplify searching through other resources, especially if the person’s name is relatively common. I was able to find a few members of my boyhood Scout troop for an alumni camping trip that way.

It’s too much work to do for a hundred people, but for a couple of people, it’s reasonable.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Thus far, given the age of our classmates, obituaries for parents are also helpful in finding the current residence of a classmate.

I’ve tried 4 or 5 of the sites over the last few years, and the sites all are very similar (endless chains, warnings that I’ll be “shocked” at what I find out, near bait and switch tactics, long periods of time “searching” and compiling the report, etc)–its almost like there’s a standard program out there somewhere for sale that all the sites use, with surface/cosmetic changes only to superficially distinguish the sites from each other.

I’ve gotten one or two reports when single reports were offered for sale for 5 or 6 bucks, but no recurring renewals. There were some solid hits on locations but the majority of the report was problematic enough that I probably won’t use one of the sites again. I tried this last time only because of the claim of “full details on the first five searches each day.”

Actually, they do. For paid memberships, look for hints in US Public Records Index hints. They will give a date of residence and a mailing address. For example, for my own profile it shows my current mailing address.

It was a bit of a shock to realise from Facebook that I went to school with a lot of old men. Can’t help that much, but I’m definitely working on getting the weight down.

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I’ve used one called “been verified” several times to track down old friends. Like all of these services, there’s lots of wrong data, especially phone numbers and emails. But they also report on relatives, and that has been a productive path for me. Also, they let you cancel or suspend your membership without a hassle.

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