KAHS Alumni Association, Inc.

How to Locate Lost Friends

 Locating Lost Friends Guide
(Sections Reprinted with Permission from Joe Condrill, President of Overseas Brats)

Getting Organized

Separate Record for Each Person

Whether you us a computer or do your own record keeping manually, you should keep a separate record for each person.  This record will be where you keep all the information on each person as well as the results of your search.

Some people prefer not to start a record for a particular person until they have some information in addition to the person’s name.  Others start records for everyone being searched to act as a reminder.  It will be up to you to decide how you want to maintain your database.

Written records can be kept in several formats.  You can use index cards, but you may soon collect more information than you can fit on a card, and you’ll end up needing more than one card for a person.  Because index cards are loose, they can be more easily misplaced or lost.  An 8 1/2 by 11 inch, 3 hole paper in a notebook is probably the best approach.  The larger paper has more room for information, and the notebook provides a way organize it and reduces the risk of loss.

Keeping your search in alphabetical order is probably the easiest way to organize your records, but, again, this will be a personal choice.  You could flag those records you want to search first and still keep them in alphabetical order.  Or you could make separate lists of just the names of the people who you feel are a priority to locate.

Using a Computer

Using a computer can be useful, but is not necessary.  A computer works best when the information is highly structured.  Merely keeping your information in a word processing document will not provide much structure beyond keeping the person’s information on a separate page.  A database program will provide structure but requires that you keep each type of information in a separate field in each person’s record.  As you will see, you will be collecting many types of information which may not lend itself to using a database program.

You might want to consider starting with a manual system and when you have enough information, using a database program to keep your records.  But remember to have a hard copy of everything on the computer.  This also makes it easier for you to share information with others.

To assist you in starting your record keeping, we have provide an information form.  You can use this form as is or modify it to your records.

INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION

INFORMATION ABOUT FAMILY

Name of Person

Name of father/mother

Last time I saw/wrote person

Names of brothers and sisters

How did I know (list where you lived or went to school overseas together)?

Father’s social security number, rank branch of service, or employer

Where did person come from (if you have a yearbook, might list hometown)?

Father’s job (unit if military or company if civilian or government agency)

Where did person go when they went stateside or did they go to another overseas assignment?

Place family considered home

Who were person’s best friends

Did father work with your father or did family socialize with your family?

Any additional information you remember?

Any additional information you remember?

On the backside of this form, list action taken, leads followed up in trying to locate this person.  List the results of your search and date and anything else you obtained.  This will help you avoid duplicating a search and when sharing information with others will help them to avoid duplicating what you have done.

Finding People from Scratch

A.        What information to Gather and Keep.

1.         All name changes since high school.  Keep a list of all the name changes, because you may run across someone that knows them by one of the names.

2.         Social Security Number.  You won’t always get this information, but if you do, it is especially helpful in locating a friend that has been in the military.  Remember to keep this information confidential and only use it in your search.

3.         Birthdate.  It is rare when the birthdate will help you find someone, but it can help you in the process of elimination when you are searching to ascertain if the person who has the same name is the person you are trying to locate.

4.         Name of parents and siblings.

5.         Parent’s branch of service and rank (if military), occupation, etc.  Remember the civilians could be Embassy personnel, DoD contractors, or private non-government employees.

6.         Home state and city.  The person you are looking for or their parents or siblings could have returned there, or they could have other relatives there.

7.         Where the person went after leaving your school.

8.         Other schools attended.  You might find this person went to another overseas school and is listed in their alumni group.  Possibly the person has graduated in the states and you could locate them through that school alumni group.  If the person was going into college, you could check that alumni group.

9.         Career Plans.  If the person ever mentioned a career, you could look into professional associations where they might be a member.  Or if you knew where the person had intended to settle, you could look in White Pages or Yellow Pages listing.  Many professions and trades are licensed by a state.  The state agency that has the listing might provide you with an address or forward your letter to the person.

10.      Hobbies and other interests.  This may have to lead to a career which you could track as discussed in item 9.  The person also might still be pursuing the hobby and be a member of a hobby organization.

11.      People the person was friends with in school.  You might be able to locate the person you are looking for by former friends or teachers.

12.      Unusual physical or other characteristics.

13.      Address. phone and employment information.  Even if this information is not current, it may be useful to assist you in your search or for having a letter forwarded.

 B.       Sources of Information

While this may seem simplistic, there are several sources you should always check before you begin your search.

1.         Yourself.  See if you have old address books or letters that may provide an address.  The letters may have some of the information discussed above which you can then put on the search sheet for that person.

2.         Your Family.  Your parents may have kept in touch with other families and might still be exchanging Christmas cards.  They may also have old address books and letters that could be helpful.  Your siblings may also have similar information.  Your parents may have an old footlocker with base rosters or the like which could be very helpful.  (I ran across such information in my father’s military papers which contained names and ages of children, housing assignments and the father’s rank and serial number.)

3.         Friends and their families.  If you have kept in touch with someone, jog their memory.  Do the same with their families.  They may remember something you have forgotten.

4.         School publications.  If you have kept your yearbook, go through it and list all the names of students and teachers.  Some of the yearbooks also have all the grade school students in them also.  This will be an excellent way to get the names of their siblings to help you in your search.  The yearbook also might list hometowns.  By going through the yearbook, you may remember some things you had forgotten.  If you have old school papers, you could find additional names or other information that will help you in your search.  Usually the last issue of the year is dedicated to the graduating class and has a Last Will and Testament which usually mentions their closest friends, future career or school plans, etc.  [Graduation Programs will sometimes list full names and can be helpful in your search especially with common names.]

Now that you have some idea of basic areas of information to go through before beginning your search, gather all the information and put it on each individual person’s sheet.  This may seem like a tedious process, but you will be glad you have done this once you begin the actual search process.  Be sure to cite your sources and double check any items you are unsure of before beginning.  This may help you avoid searching in the wrong direction because your basic information was wrong.

Using Public Records

There are many public records that could aid in your search and we have listed some examples that may prove helpful.

·                    Department of Motor Vehicles – While this is not as usual as it once was due to increased needs for personal security, there are some states that still allow you to search their records.  You will have to approach the state you are searching in to determine what their regulations are regarding accessing their records.

·                    Voter Registration Lists – Check with the county registrar of voters.  Voter registration lists are indexed by name (the original registration form) and should include name, date and possibly the place of birth, address and perhaps a phone number or social security number.

·                    Property Tax Records – (Don’t forget to look for the parents as well as the person you are searching for.)  Remember parents sometimes migrate back to the area they were originally from.  The property tax records will have the deed registered as well as having tax assessment rolls which would list the address.  These are generally kept at the county level, but it is possible, using the Lexis database, to get tax assessment information on the state level.  May law libraries have a Lexis terminal.  

·                    Death Records – If the person, parents or sibling(s) is deceased, you may be able to verify this by locating a death record.  If the deceased is a parent or sibling, and the estate was probated, you can get to see if there is any information in the probate file.  There will be an index, which will have a case number and then you can look up the file by the case number.  

·                    Divorce Records – If the person got a divorce, and you know where they are living at that time, you could access their divorce file which will have their address at the time of the divorce.  If the person you are searching for is a woman, the file could show you if she took her maiden name back.  It also could list any children and their ages. 

·                    Marriage Records – Again, if you know where the person was living when she got married, you could look at these records to get her married name.  It would also list her place of residence when she got married, which could be her parents’ home. 

·                    Birth Records – If you know the person you are searching for had children and you know what state this happened in, you could look at birth records which could list the parents’ name and addresses. 

Using Directories

·                    City Directories – These usually contain names of others in the household, how long a present address, and occupation.  The Polk directories are the most common but there may be other ones.

·                    Reverse Directories – These can be either by address or by phone number.  This can be helpful if you only have a phone number.  If the person you are looking for has moved from the address you have, you can easily find their neighbors and contact them to see if they know where the person moved.

·                    Organizational or Professional Directories – May organizations have a directory of their members.  These may not be available in your local library, but there could be a local chapter of a national organization that could help you.  Some professions have directories or if they are licensed by the state, you might find a listing there.  These are a sampling of some directories that you might want to check:  Business, professional and trade associations (bar or medical associations), engineering or sOrganizational or Professional Directors.  Many organizations have a directory of their members.  These may not be available in your local library, but there could be a local chapter of a national organization.

·                    School and Alumni Organizations – If the person you are searching for attended another high school or went to college after high school, you might be able to locate them through that school.

Schools and alumni organizations differ in how much information they will give you as each have their own policy for the release of such information.  But since may colleges maintain an extensive database of former students, it is worth a try. If they aren’t willing to give you the information over the phone or by the mail, they may be willing to forward your letter to the person.

Some schools publish an alumni directory.  You should also be able to find one at the school library or at a national or local alumni office. 

If the person you are searching for went to another overseas high school, you may be able to locate them by contacting Overseas Brats to get the name of the alumni group contact person for that school.

·                    Telephone Directories – Most large public libraries have directors from all over the country.  Also the main office of the phone company might also have them.  It’s worth checking out to see if you can locate someone.

Computer Searches

Even if you don’t have a computer, perhaps you have access to one at work or through a friend or family member.  If so, there are many ways you can access the information that is out there. 

·                    Phone Discs  

These have been put out in CD-ROM in various forms and prices.  They can be found at most computer software stores.  However, before you invest in the software, you might want to check if your local library has them or has access to them.  If they have them, you can usually use them without a charge.  They might charge you a minimal amount if they have to get the information from another source. 

If you do have access to a computer, there are many phone search facilities out there.  Most of them will search for phone numbers and addresses as well as email addresses.  Below is an extensive listing of phone search and other search engines out there to find people.  Most are free to use but there are a few listed below which charge a fee.  

The following are free:  

AnyWho

www.anywho.com

Bigfoot

www.bigfoot.com

Dogpile

www.dogpile.com

Excite People Finder

www.excite.com/Reference/people.html

411 Information

www.411.info

Infobel (International Listings)

www.infobel.com

InfoSpace

www.infospace.com

SBC SMARTPages

www.smartpages.com

Switchboard

www.switchboard.com

Ultimate White Pages

www.theultimates.com/white

Verizon Super Pages

www.superpages.com

Who Where

www.whowhere.lycos.com

World Pages

www.worldpages.com

Yahoo People Search

people.yahoo.com

The following provide searches for a fee:  

InfoUSA

www.infousa.com/homesite.index

KnowX

www.knowx.com

US Search

www.1800ussearch.com/index.html

Where Did They Move

www.semaphorecorp.com/wdtg/wdtg.html

The KAHS Alumni Association not only uses the above free resources but also is registered via a board member on Classmates, Planet Alumni, GradFinder, Schoolmates and Military-Brats Registry and is constantly checking out new sources of information to try and locate former students and faculty.  We try to keep our database current and, therefore, encourage people to send us updated information on our online form.

B.            Message Boards

A lot of online services such as America Online, Yahoo, MSN, Delphi Forums, etc. offer areas online to post messages.  When American Online used to have a forum labeled “Military City Online” they had messages boards for folks who were searching for lost buddies who were either in the military or went to school overseas.  The Military City Online area (known as MCO) closed down, however, America Online does have a new military area that can be found by typing in Keyword: Military when on AOL. 

Locating Military Personnel

A good place on the internet to locate military personnel is a site which has been up and running for a couple of years now.  It is called Military.com and can be found at www.military.com.

Other ways to locate military personnel is via the various military locator services available for each branch.

Air Force WorldWide Locator

This agency is responsible for processing requests to locate Air Force Personnel, and also provides certificates for proof of service.

HQ AFMPC/RMIQL  
550 C Street, West, Suite 50  
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4752

Army Worldwide Locator

The site which contained the information to contact the appropriate parties was suspended due to the September 11th attack.  Only .mil sites now have access to this information.  Inquiries can be sent to:

Commander

U.S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center

ATTN: Locator

Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249-5301

Navy Worldwide Locator

Active duty:

The Navy's World Wide Locator is a service established to find the present duty station of active duty personnel, and is for official business use only. Family members, active duty personnel and Navy retirees may also use this system. To do so, you must have the service member's full name, Social Security number, grade or rank, and, if possible, last known duty station.  Write to:

Navy World Wide Locator

Naval Personnel Command

Pers-312

5720 Integrity Drive

Millington, TN 38055-3120

Marine Worldwide Locator

Active Duty:

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps  
Personnel Management Support Branch (MMSB-17)  
2008 Elliot Road  
Quantico, VA  22134-5030

U.S. Coast Guard Worldwide Locator

The Coast Guard World Wide Locator has duty stations for active duty personnel. To locate Active Duty Personnel Only: To locate Active Duty Personnel Only: the telephone number is (866) 772-8724 or send them an e-mail to Locator@comdt.uscg.mil

 

You can also write to:

Coast Guard Personnel Command (CGPC-adm-3)

2100 Second St, SW

Washington, DC 20593-0001

 

Coast Guard Personnel Command does not have custody of crew lists or current addresses for former Coast Guard service members.

Other Military Links to Use for Locating Military Friends:

The Few (www.thefew.com) – Hosts an extensive database of information about current and former members of the Marine Corps. includes discussion forms and a story archive.

NavCops (www.navcops.com) – Peruse a database of current and former members of Naval Law Enforcement.  Also includes a message board.

The Military Police (www.militarypolice.com) – Email directory is indexed alphabetically and by unit.  Register your own contact information.

U.S. Maritime Service (www.usmm.org) – Has a shipmate search and offers advice on finding current and former member of the Merchant Marines, the U.S.  Maritime Service, Military Sealift Command, Army and Naval Transport Services.  Includes contact details and links.

www.marinecorps.com

www.military.com

www.militaryconnections.com

www.subicbaymarines.com

www.thirdmarines.net

www.vetfriends.com

Other Internet Sites of Interest

Military Brats

www.military-brats.com

People Spot

www.peoplespot.com/reunite/alumni.htm

Web Resources for American Military Brats

www.hiwaay.net/~rcweaver/index.html

I Sleuth

www.isleuth.com

Social Security Death Index

www.ancestry.com/ssdi/advanced.htm

Vietnam “The Wall”

www.thewall-usa.com

Good for searching topics but not people:

altavista.digital.com

www.yahoo.com

Important Points to Remember

Be flexible and open-minded.  Even if you’re looking for just one particular person, it’s best not to be too focused on that goal.  While searching for someone, it’s very possible you’ll find leads to other people.  These other people could be from other classes, faculty or staff or from other schools.  So help them along in their search.

Never assume that everyone else knows what you know—and don’t let others assume that you know what they know.  It’s easy to fall into these traps.  The best way to avoid them is to share information, to ask questions and to remind others to do the same.

Persistence pays.  Sometimes, especially when you are looking for a particular person, it is easy to get discouraged if the initial lead seems to be a deadend.  It’s okay to take a short breath from your search, but don’t give up.  For example, you could turn your attention to searching for other people.  Sometimes taking a break gives you new leads or ways to search more effectively when you resume the search.

Keep a copy of all your search records.  If you are forwarding them to your alumni association headquarters or to Overseas Brats, remember things do get lost in the mail.  It’s always a good idea to make sure at least one other person has your complete records.

People’s reactions.  Most people will be thrilled to hear from you, to learn about a reunion, and their school alumni association.  Some people won’t be quite so thrilled, and a few may be suspicious or even hostile.  Just remember that the reaction for those who are not thrilled has nothing to do with you.  People change over the years, and for some, the experience overseas may not have been pleasant for them for any number of personal reasons.  Just remember to be aware of this and don’t take it personally.

People from other overseas schools.  In searching for people from your school, you may come across alumni from other overseas schools.  If they have not already been found by their alumni groups, suggest they contact Overseas Brats.  You can take the lead yourself and send the information on to Overseas Brats.  This would be appreciated.

INTERESTING TIDBITS

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