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Tracking someone down

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, May 4, 2009.

  1. I'm working on a story and I need to find someone who had their name changed.
    I have no idea where they live. I do not have their original birth date or a SSN - assuming they even had one.
    All I have is the (the original and the changed name), approximate age and names and ages of immediate family members.
    I know state adoption records are sealed. I can check voter rolls which might work if the person lives in this county or close by. But what if they live somewhere farther away, which I strongly suspect?
    I have done some Zaba searches and other things but I am coming up empty? Any investigative reporters out there who can offer some tips, suggestions?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Screw you. You're never getting that $10 I owe you.

    Seriously, good luck.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Try Facebook.
  4. It can work, but I've had difficulty getting people to respond back. Maybe about 10-20 percent at best.
  5. Doubt it.
    These are people who grew up dirt poor, are likely still poor and approaching 55 years of age.
  6. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Lexus/Nexus search will hunt him/her down. Oh wait, the company just canceled my account to save pennies. Guess that extra phone call won't get made.

    Find a friendly lawyer or bill collector with access to Lexus/Nexus.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member


    Depending on how long ago the name was changed, you may have to dive into their previous life (old name) and try to find anything there: high school friends or sports teammates, arrest records, newspaper morgue.

    That's if you can find out where they used to live. Sounds like quite a bit of digging you have on your hands.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Start with the immediate family members. If they still live near you, and are still alive, they can probably point you in the right direction. Assuming, of course, this person wants to be found. Start with the phone book and don't be afraid to sound like an idiot if you have to call two or three people with the same name.
  9. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Have you tried www.intelius.com ?
    It's a pay service, but it's pretty thorough.
  10. Been doing that for a month and half .. Good thing they had a common name to boot. It had to be Smith.
  11. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Do you know even what state they live in? Drivers license records or vehicle registration can be very useful for what you're trying to do. In some states, pet registration, too.
    How easily-accessible they are probably depends on the state, but they are public documents, so they should be gettable.
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