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Tips from Tonna for your PC
Finding Friends & Relatives on the Web
by Tonna Kutner

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Q: How can I find friends or relatives on the Internet?

A: There are a number of directories on the Internet that help you find people.  If you do a web search for white pages directory, any number of them will come up.  Here are my favorites:

http://people.yahoo.com/

http://www.switchboard.com/

http://www.whowhere.lycos.com/

Check out these directories and first see if you can find yourself.  It’s always interesting to see what’s out there about you, and besides, you know all the needed information.  Most directories ask for first name, last name, city and state. 

It’s easier to find addresses and phone numbers on the web than it is to find email addresses.  This is because web directories are pretty much based on phone book listings.  These have been out for a long time and are fairly accessible.  Email addresses are much newer and there is no central directory for them.

Here are some tips for finding who you’re looking for:

  • The more specific information you enter, the better your results, especially if you’re looking for a very common name.  The less information you enter the broader your search.  This can also be desirable.
  • People with unlisted numbers are generally not listed in the directories.
  • A lot of women don’t list their first name in the telephone directory.  They list their first initial only or their husband’s name, so try using the first initial or a blank instead of the first name.
  • Just because it’s on the web doesn’t mean it’s current.  If a person has moved recently, their new address might not show up for 3-6 months.
  • Search more than one directory, especially if looking for an email address.

Most directories also offer many other services.  The three directories listed above also have Yellow Pages or Business Services listings just a click away.  Switchboard and WhoWhere also offer maps and directions.  Switchboard has a neat feature where you can enter a phone number and find out who is the registered owner (Search by Phone #).

WhoWhere has an Ancestors link.  Some of the information requires registering and paying, but it lets you check out several things for free:

  • Ancestry World Tree entries
  • Social Security Death Index entries
  • Phone & Address Listings entries (these are current listings and can be a good way to find living family members or friends).

Many people have reconnected with relatives and friends using the Internet; so don’t be shy about trying the white pages directory services.

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

For past columns of Tips from Tonna, check out the web site: www.computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve"June  2001. Copyright Tonna Kutner

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