Category Archives: Marital Status-How To Background

How to determine if the guy or person is really married. Includes searching property records and seeing the signs of cheating. Includes using reverse lookups so singles can check out their date.

With Free Reverse Lookups You Don’t Need Their Name for a Background Check!

This blog is all about joy. Or at least, all about the joy of finding people and doing free background checks. But unlike most blogs, this one will show you how to do these things even when you don’t know their name, want to confirm their name, or when their name is an extremely common one like “John Smith.”

The fact is we’re far too obsessed with names. Too often, this means we overlook how to get beyond a name, and get straight to the core of their identity. So I recommend you try these reverse searches on both yourself and anyone you want to learn more about. When you’re done, you’ll see that privacy in the US is a myth, and you’ll probably start walking the streets with a bag over your head. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Now you may think I’m exaggerating. But people use false names all the time. They’re also constantly changing their names, intentionally misspelling their names or even hiding behind their middle names! And then there’s the fact that you may not even remember how to spell their name. Or if you can, you’re still stuck weeding out the Google hits of dozens of total strangers who share the same name.

Beating the Name Game
But wouldn’t it be great if you could find something unique about that person aside from their name? Something like a fingerprint, which could easily track them down with no confusion, so you know it’s truly them.

Well you’re in luck. Here are the free ways to cut through the name game. Below, I’ve included the powerful reverse lookups which can be used to find old friends, expose the frauds on dating sites, or to learn more about potential tenants, roommates, employers or business associates. Just remember to leverage what you find by plugging it into Google and the other reverse searches. A+B leads to C, and A,B,C leads to D,E,F…all the way through Z!

Photo Reverse Lookups
You’re about to be scared. But also empowered. With facial recognition, you don’t have much privacy. But neither does the guy who’s photo you snapped as he was kicking in your car door.

Next time, try uploading their photo to Face Check ID. Face Check ID is the best free photo lookup I’ve ever seen. Sadly it will start charging on March 1, 2024. To test it, I snapped a new pic and uploaded it to their website. And unlike Google reverse images, it was able to pull up similar photos of me. Even better, it pulls up websites and sometimes usernames, the latter which can be plugged into reverse searches to learn even more about them! Note that this site works best for caucasians, and with faces staring straight at the camera.

Removing Unwanted Objects in Your Photos

Ever want to do a reverse lookup of just one person in a group photo? Or perhaps, your image search isn’t working because there are unwanted things in the background? Well, you just hit the jackpot! Here are 3 easy to use tools that are completely free, none of which require downloading.

First is the Windows Snipping Tool which allows you to extract only the person or object of interest. You simply trace a box over the head of the person in the photo and it will automatically be saved to your clipboard. From there, you can save the revised photo to your desktop and later upload to any reverse photo search engine.

Or if you like, you can use Remove.bg to nix any background such as trees or furniture, and then use the snipping tool.

Finally, If you’ve done all the above but still need to clean up the background a bit, the free erase tool on Cleanup.pictures will wipe away anything missed by the others. You don’t have to know Photoshop! You don’t have to select from a pallet of colors. You just brush over anything unwanted and it disappears!

For more exciting links, see photo and reverse image searches.

Email Reverse Lookups
Ever want to learn more about an old friend but have only a defunct email address? Old email or new email, now is the time to see the sites they’ve registered with and if it leads to new sites, new names, new addresses, new usernames, or a new marital status.

My favorite site used to be Osint.Industries.(now must pay as of 12/17/23) With their free signup, you were able to plug in an email address to get their photos, usernames, marital status, hobbies, where they shop or their professional occupation. The sole drawback is you must perform 2 annoying captchas per search.

When I tested with a friend’s email address, I confirmed where he works, who he’s married to and some of the websites he has accounts with. I knew most of this already, mind you, but I like to test these sites with the people I know. This is a great resource to find out what your old girlfriend is doing. But it’s also perfect for exposing con artists e.g. the guy whose email pulls up multiple names or the photos of different people.

This site claims to do the same with phone numbers; but when I tried a few, all I got was if they had a Skype account. Note that if you want to try this yourself, the format for US phone #s is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

For more on finding by email addresses, see the free links on reverse email searches.

Cell Phone Reverse Lookups
Aside from Google, there are a number of free reverse search engines for phone numbers, including defunct ones. Many of these pull up the person’s full name or a middle initial. (Things that can be Googled later of course.) Some even pull up their age, relatives, emails, and addresses. Now how about that! My favorites are CallerName.com and CyberbackgroundChecks.com (Reverse Cell Phone Lookup).

With the former, submit the cell # and then scroll down to “Caller ID” to see the name of who it belongs to. With CyberbackgroundChecks, it may pull up not just the person’s name, but also other contact info such as described above. CyberbackgroundChecks can also search by address, email, and name as well.

For more on free phone number look ups, see the other links on Cell Phone and Landline reverse searches.

Username Reverse Lookups
People like to reuse the same email addresses and usernames over and over again. This means you can search for old friends by their funky old email address and simply convert it into a username. For example, you could search for snicklefritz, which was from their old email address snicklefritz@aol.com.

Username reverse lookups are great for finding their photos, their new name, and their profiles on various social media. My favorite site is IDCrawl, which is simple to use and quite powerful. When I entered the username sleuthforthetruth, it found me on Instagram, Youtube, and even pulled up my posts on Reddit.

For more on username reverse searches, see these free username reverse lookup sites.

Street Address Reverse Lookups
Old street addresses can pull up new names and list their current addresses. I’ve used these types of reverse searches to find roommates of 20 years ago, including those who had foreign hard to spell names!

My favorite address reverse search website is Cyberbackgroundchecks.com (USA Only). Just type in a new or old address to find who lived or lives there, along with their more recent cell #s, email addresses and physical addresses.

For more, see my other links on free reverse address searches.

Domain Name and Other Reverse Lookups
Do they have a website? Or perhaps they reserved a domain name but never did anything with it. Either way, there are some powerful tools which use a name, a company name, a domain name or an email address to see what they registered. Often this reveals more phone numbers, more email addresses, and even other information about them.

For more, see my other links on Website Reverse Lookups.

Conclusion
The bottom line is that there’s tons of free info to confirm someone’s name, get their middle name, or just find out more about them, all without even using Google. But leverage whatever you find. Trust but verify; and above all, make sure to always enjoy the ride!

More Blogs on Background Checks (Sleuth For The Truth)

Other Blogs

Find Old Friends and Classmates by Their Defunct Emails and Usernames

Imagine you’re in a huge, cavernous hall packed with crowds of silent people. You’re told you have just one hour to find your old friends and family or you’ll never see them again! Worse, you suddenly realize you’re blindfolded and deaf! You can only identify them by your meager sense of touch.

So how would you go about finding them? And how long would it take you? Chances are, you could look forever. For when blindfolded, all those noses, hair, eyes, clothing and even faces, would give you many false leads.

Bereft of your senses, you would be unable to identify the person you’re looking for. There’s just too many misleading similarities and not enough helpful clues.

This is your world when searching for someone with a common name. And all to often you won’t have the benefit of a photo. Sure, you’ll find Joan Smith. But chances are it’s not the Joan Smith you’re looking for. Worse, Joan could have married, divorced or remarried, which means you may be looking for the wrong name!

But what if in the above scenario, your loved one wore a special bracelet, or perhaps, a unique signature hairdo that no one else had? At that point, they would stand out in the crowd. And even with your limited senses, you’re odds of finding them would skyrocket.

This is where emails and usernames come in. Email addresses and usernames often act like a special bracelet or a signature hairdo. And better yet, because people are creatures of habit, they tend to use the same signature words or monikers they once used 20 years ago. That’s right! You can find your friends with even old and now defunct email addresses! Indeed, an old email address may contain their current username on social media. It could also pull up a new email address with the same signature phrase!

Email Searches, Extracting Their Username From an Email and How To Guess Usernames for Rare Names
OK, the person you dated 20 years ago may never have had a username. But times change and they almost certainly have one now. So to find old friends by their email or username, simply:

  1. Go through your old email list of contacts, and look for friends with rare names OR unusual email addresses. For example, I found an old friend with the ancient address of alot*sugarjet@bellsouth.net.
  2. Search in Google or Bing with their full email address in quotation marks. For example, Googling “g_firestone@yahoo.com” could lead to other postings which include new contact information and other leads.
  3. Try a Reverse Email Search using their whole email address, which can pull up their new name, plus new contact information, including new usernames, and other social media accounts. If you get a middle name or initial, be sure to Google their full name in “quotes”. These sites are hit or miss so use several of them for good leads. In my case, when I used a long dead email address it found my old friend with her current age, a new last name and plenty of phone numbers and addresses. (the last two I could plug into Google or do reverse searches on, for even more leads.)
  4. Google an old username (with no spaces) e.g..the first part of an old email before the @sign. For example: sleuthforthetruth. Also try with quotes e.g. “sleuthforthetruth”
  5. Plug this username into the most popular social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok, Reddit, etc. This sometimes works with old email addresses as well.
  6. For people with rare names like myself, try to guess their username with combinations like: grahamfirestone graham.firestone graham-firestone graham_firestone gfirestone g_firestone g-firestone.
  7. Use the Free Username Lookups that will tell you which usernames are NOT AVAILABLE on Social Media. These often will provide you a link to those NOT AVAILABLE, which can lead you to the person who has this name. But even if they don’t provide a link or the link leads nowhere, see if you can go to the social media site and search for them directly. Indeed, you may discover someone with the same first name and different last name, or get clues to where they live or who their friends are. These sites are hit or miss. I recommend using several of such for more leads and to see how they work: The best ones are those with the fewest false positives.
  8. Don’t forget the other numerous ways to find people. For more, see the free peoplesearch links at Consumer-SOS.com and the other blogs at Sleuth For the Truth! This includes how to find People With Common Names and How To Background Them.

For Additional Blogs, see Christian-SOS.

Women and Obits: Finding Your Old School Friend After She’s Married, Divorced Or Remarried

In the universe of scurrilous people who frequently change their names for reasons most nefarious, the greatest arch-villains are the ex-cons and women. This is not a blog about ex-cons.

This is a blog on women. But not just any women. This blog is about women with relatives. Yes, women who have parents, brothers, sisters, children, or grandparents.

Women, who inevitably in the course of time, must lose their loved ones to the ever hungry, implacable, insatiable jaws of death. So if you’re looking for little orphan Annie or the immortal Amazons of Paradise Island, this blog is not for you.

But for the rest of us, now is the time to talk about obituaries. Believe it or not, obituaries often hold the key to finding your old friend who may have married, remarried, changed names, and moved again and again.

Obits are a treasure trove of dates, names and places. A chock full of who’s related to who, who they’re now married to and where they NOW live. So even if you can’t find your BFF from grade school, you may be able to get her number through her siblings, parents, new spouse or children.

How To Find Obits
How you find an obit is not so important. It’s all about what you do with the information. Often what you get is an obit for a brother, sister or parent, which in turn could list the new surname, spouse and location of all surviving female relatives, including your old girlfriend.

Most people typically stumble upon obits in a Google search and then after reading a few names, move on to the next hit. Few people actively search for them. Or even know how to leverage what they find.

The fact is, that an upfront search for an obit can save you lots of time. For example, if they have a rare maiden name, you could of course Google their last name like this: Fogelman AND obit OR obituary OR died OR deceased OR death. (OR and AND must be in caps). This could pull up the names of the woman’s deceased parents, aunts, uncles and brothers, which in turn could give you surviving relatives including your subject, her new surname with where she lives now, or the names and locations of her surviving siblings.

Still too many hits? Then narrow your searches with a city and state. (But this is unwise unless it’s a common surname or you’re sure of where their relatives live or have died).

Also try Googling the full name of a parent or close relative likely to be deceased. For example, Graham Firestone AND “Survived By” (The AND must be in caps.) If you know the year they died, add that too!

Sample Search Where An Obituary Led Me To A New Surname
Recently, someone on Facebook needed help to find an old childhood friend named Teresa Bagnell. While Bagnell was a very rare name, it was decades since they last saw each other and by now Teresa could be married, divorced and have changed names several times. She could also have moved anywhere in the world. So how could I know where to find her?

All I had to work with was that Teresa had 4 brothers and sisters named Brian, John, Kathy, Bill, and James. I was also told that she was in her 70s and her nickname could be Terry or Terri.

Naturally I started with a search for Teresa Bagnell. But I struck out. She had probably changed names long ago. Few like to admit it, but Googling for people is more an art than a science. Sometimes you just get an intuition of who to start with.

My next step was to Google the rarest names of her siblings, preferably with the name of a brother or father who’s last name would never change with marriage. When I Googled together the names Brian Kathy Bagnell, I hit pay dirt. Lo and behold, there was a 2010 obituary of Thomas Bagnell Jr., which listed the surviving brothers and sisters including a Terry Miller of Miami, OK.

I was very lucky because while Terry Miller is an extremely common name, there couldn’t be too many in the uncommonly small town of Miami, Oklahoma.

Also, brother “Brian” was really “Bryan”, an even rarer name. So from there I simply went to Cyberackgroundchecks.com and looked up the names of both siblings, limiting my search to their city and state. This allowed me to get their wireless (cell phone) numbers, which I could confirm were still valid through reverse cell phone lookups, such as Spydialer and OK Caller.

Otherways To Find A Woman’s New Surname
Does looking through death records makes you squeamish? If so, you can always search for their new last name by Googling for Marital Status & New Surnames! Best of luck, and I hope you enjoyed this go happy blog!

For More Sleuth For The Truth Blogs, See

Did They Give You A False Name? How To Verify using Their Old & New Contact Info

Back in law school I knew three people who went by different names. There was Pat, who’s first name was really John. There was Steve, who’s friends and business associates called him “Greg.” And then there was Mike Davis, who spent 9 years in a Texas prison for a quadruple homicide. Later when it hit the newspapers that Mike had quietly enrolled in our humble law school, we soon learned he was the notorious Walter Waldhouser.

Pat and Greg turned out to be law abiding citizens…mostly. Walter Waldhouser, not so much. He’s now back in prison on five counts of third-degree money laundering.

In the first two cases, Pat and Steve preferred using their middle names. They did this for innocent reasons (I suppose). But whether innocent or not, a name switch tends to mess up a good background check.

So here’s how to pull the beard off Santa and expose the fraud. Here’s how to spot the person who gives out a false name, or who uses their middle name to hide from their own wrongdoing.

Right from the start: Take any contact information (old or new) and plug it into Google and the various free reverse lookup sites. Then see if the name they gave you matches the name that turns up in your results. If it’s different, it’s time to do another background check!

Grab The Low Hanging Fruit
(Emails and Cell Phone #s)

These days, virtually everyone sends texts. And this means almost everyone gives out their cell phone number. Free websites such as OKcaller.com, Cyberbackgroundchecks.com and Spydialer often pull up a name based on a cell phone number. For more See Consumer SOS: Reverse Cell Phone Searches.

You can also get their full name simply by knowing their Gmail address. And it’s all for free! For more, see my handy dandy collection of free email reverse searches.

And don’t forget that you can search based on physical address, the company they claim to own and lots more. So for more blogs and more free links on reverse searches, See Sleuth For The Truth-Reverse Searches!

Blog Written while at St. Augustine Beach

Related Blogs
Googling For Courts, Crimes, Marital Status & Contact Info!

Googling For Courts, Crimes, Marital Status, Names & Contact Info!

We’ve all been told “just Google it!”  Well, here’s how!

Below are the best ways to Google arrest records, mugshots, criminal convictions, lawsuits, their marital status, divorces and more!

Googling For Criminal Conduct
Use variations of the person’s name along with the words
arrested, convicted, sentenced, charges, charged, felony, fraud, guilty, misdemeanor, mugshot, NOLO, pardoned, paroled and probation.

1. Jason Smith convicted
2. Jason Smith arrested
3. Jason Smith guilty
4. Jason Smith NOLO
5. “Jason Smith” conviction (name in quotes)

6. “Jason R Smith” charges (with middle initial)
7. “Jason Richard Smith” sentenced (full name in quotes)
8. Jason Smith sentenced Georgia (common name, with  state)
9. “Jason R Smith” sentenced Georgia
10. Name above with the term felony or misdemeanor

Remember to search with the name in quotes and also without quotes.  If your name is a common one, be sure to include a state as well.

Googling For Federal Crimes
Use variations of the person’s name with the words
indicted, convicted, sentenced, charges, charged and federal.

1. Jason Smith indicted
2. Jason Smith federal convicted
3. Jason Smith “federal prison”  (one term in quotes)
4. “Jason Smith” “federal prison” (both terms in quotes)

5. “United States” v “Jason Smith” (both terms in quotes)
6. Jason Smith charges federal
7. Jason Smith sentenced federal
8. Jason Smith sentenced federal Georgia
9. “Jason P Smith” sentenced federal Georgia (middle initial)
10. “Jason Parker Smith” sentenced federal Georgia (full name)

Google For Civil Lawsuits (State or Federal)
Use variations of the person’s name (with and without quotes) along with terms like plaintiff, defendant, liable, lawsuit, suit, settlement, settled or litigation.

1. Graham Firestone Plaintiff OR Defendant (OR must be in caps)
2. “Graham Firestone” Plaintiff OR Defendant (“” narrow results)
3. “Graham Firestone” v (as plaintiff)

4. v “Graham Firestone” (as defendant)
5. v “Graham B Firestone” (as defendant, middle initial included)
6. v Fonzerelli (defendant, one word so no quotes)
7. v Fonzerelli “New York” (refines the search by state)

MARITAL STATUS

Google For Marital Status of Men & Women When You Don’t Know of Possible Spouses
If you only know the person’s maiden name or if they once were  married, but you have no record of possible spouses, Google them as follows. For someone named Joana Smith, Google her name with words like married, husband, wife, spouse, wedding, registry, betrothed, divorce, divorced and custody.

Google To See if the Guy is Married to the Woman Who Appears in a Background Check

Say you’ve looked up who owns his house and there’s a woman with his surname on the deed.  Is it his sister or his wife? Or maybe on an age lookup you see a female relative that arouses your suspicious nature? So who is she?

To find out, start with broad searches with the first names of both people along with the guy’s last name. You can narrow it down with a state or other key words if you get too many hits.

You can also use the search above along with words like  married, husband, wife, spouse, wedding, registry, divorce, divorced and custody.  If they’re listed as husband and wife, are they still married?  Find out by Googling their names with the word divorce OR divorced OR custody. (A child custody issue between them would make the answer obvious).

Or try searching for their first names and last, but with the results limited to only the past year or two.

See the search examples below:

1. Harold Karen Gruberman (his & her 1st name and last name)
2. Harold Karen Gruberman Georgia
3. Karen Harold Gruberman Georgia (names switched around)
4. Harold Karen Gruberman Georgia wife OR married (use OR in caps.)

5. Harold Karen Gruberman custody
6. Harold Karen Gruberman wedding
7. Harold Karen Gruberman registry
8. Harold Karen Gruberman divorce OR divorced

Google For Divorces
Start with broad searches and refine if you get too many hits.  See the examples below where I search with and without quotes.

Searching with his name and divorce might work.  Or it could pull up every divorce attorney in town! Here’s how to bypass those annoying ads from divorce lawyers and still get the meat!

1. “FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard
(use quotes, may pull up several of his divorces)
2. “FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard Susan
3. “FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard Susan Georgia
(WARNING: Adding GA could exclude his divorces in other states)

Googling A Name
Try various combinations. Note that each variation can yield different results. See examples below:

Name Alone
Michael Cohen
(can pull up middle initial)
“Michael Cohen” (“” for an exact phrase, good for bus. records)
“Michael R Cohen” (middle initial, good for mugshots)
“Michael Robert Cohen” (full name, good for death records)

Name With Other Info
“Michael Cohen” “New York”
(narrow hits by state or city)
“Michael Cohen” architect (narrow hits by profession)
“Michael Cohen” ukulele (narrow hits by hobby)
“Michael Cohen” Microsoft (narrow hits by employer)
Michael Roberta Cohen (narrow hits by spouse or relatives)

Googling Phone Numbers
Try various combinations. Note that each variation can yield different results. See examples below:

1. 404-867-5309        (dashes)
2. (404) 867-5309     (parentheses)
3. 4048675309           (raw number)
4. 404.867.5309         (points instead of dashes)
5. “867-5309” Graham  (root # with a first or a last name)

Googling Partial Phone Numbers
Graham  Firestone 587 (rare name and not sure of the last 4 digits)
Graham Firestone 9228 (rare name and not sure of the first 3 digits)
“John Smith” 9228 (put common name in quotes)
“John Smith” 9228 Roswell (city added to narrow your search)
Graham 9228 Roswell (first name w/ city and partial Phone #)

Googling An Address
Less is more. Do not attempt to put the whole address into Google as it may exclude valid results. Here’s how to Google
515 Wyncourtney Ct NE, Atlanta, GA 30328.

First Enter
515 Wyncourtney

If you get too many hits or irrelevant returns, try
“515 Wyncourtney”   (“” keep phrases together)

Other Searches:
“515 Wyncourtney Ct”
“515 Wyncourtney Court”
“515 Wyncourtney Ct”  Atlanta
“515 Wyncourtney” Atlanta

Googling A Business Owner
Google his name or company (do both) and then do it again with the following words: suit, lawsuit, litigation, complaints, fraud.
.
At first, search without limiting it to a particular state.  You may discover he’s had the old business in other states where people have complained about him. Too many hits?  Then add your state too.

Googling A Home Builder (phrases in quotes)
1. “Edward Hightower” builder complaints
2. “Edward Hightower” builder fraud
3. “Edward Hightower” “home improvement” complaints
4. Edward Hightower builder litigation (name w/o quotes)
and
5. “Equine Barns” complaints (his company)
6. “Edward Hightower” builder litigation Georgia
7. “Edward Hightower” builder lawsuit Georgia
8. “Edward R Hightower” (builder’s middle initial)

See Also Google Like A Pro
For How To :
1. Google search 100 hits per page instead of 10 per page
2. Search for an exact phrase using quotes
3. See old versions of a website (Google Cache)
4. Search for key words once on a web page
5. Exclude Google returns that contain unwanted words
6. Search for recent results in the past week, month or year
7. Search within a particular website
8. Search For Images (Google Reverse Image Search).

Verify Their Marital Status-Part II

Overview
Are they married but pretending to be single? Once you confirm you have their real name,  see if a spouse is listed through property records or the age/relatives lookup sites. Then Google both names together to see if they’re still married or recently divorced.

No one single database is complete. So look through a lot of them before you conclude the person is unmarried!  Obviously, if you find a possible wife you can skip a step and go to verifying their current marital status.

Great give aways include recent wedding announcements, gift registries and recent obituaries. I love obituaries because they often lists the names and marital relationship of those in attendance.
(ex:
his son John Tilden and his wife, Golda from Florida).

So let’s have some fun.  It’s time to pull off Santa’s beard and expose the fraud.  Enjoy!

Index
1. Verify You Have His Real Name
2. Check Property Records For A Spouse
3. Look For Female Relatives that Could Be A Spouse
4. Google Both Their Names Together For Current Marital Status
5. Googling For Divorces
6. Check Free Databases For Divorces or If “The Woman Filed For a Name Change

Step 1:  Verify You Have His Real Name (a married man may give you a false one)

Skip this step ONLY if you’re absolutely sure he gave you his true name, i.e. he’s an old high school flame or you’ve seen his passport, credit card or driver’s license.  Otherwise, TRUST BUT VERIFY.

Does his cellphone number, username, address or email address all pull up some other guy? (a different photo or different name)

To find out, see Reverse Searches: Verify by Their Contact Information (Consumer-SOS)

Same goes if he claims to be a doctor, lawyer or CPA, etc.  To practice their profession, they must first be registered with the appropriate Occupational Licensing Board in their state. So if he’s given you a nick name, be sure to check a Directory Of Nick Names for his proper name.  For example: Dick=Richard, Ray=Raymond, Bill= William. Then look him up using both names. If he’s not there, it could mean he’s being untruthful about his name or profession or both.

What If All I Have Is Just His Name And Nothing More?
If you have his name and nothing else, (no username, email or cell # from text messages, etc.) verify their name by matching it with other things he’s told you about himself.

For example: If through the age & relative lookups you can’t find “Adam Rosen” age 53 in Georgia, the:guy is either new in town, or probably lying about his name, his age or both. The age & relative lookups are extremely comprehensive! They list almost everybody. (Far more so than the online Whitepages.)

Step 2: Check Property Records For A Spouse
If a woman is on the deed. Don’t let him tell you it’s his sister. Jump to Steps 4-6 and verify!

Background Homeowners To See If A Spouse Is Listed As Co-owner (50 States & DC)
6 out of 10 people own rather than rent, which means you can find or verify the names of over a hundred million homeowners with just their name or an address. Results may also include their middle initial, the home’s value, or that a
spouse is also on the deed! If you can’t find them, it could mean they rent, it’s in their spouse’s name or they gave you a false name. It could also mean they live in NYC, or you have the wrong address or city.
h t
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Step 3: Look For A Possible Spouse Listed Among His Relatives
The age & relative lookups in Group 1 and 2 below show who may be related to the guy and how old they are.  A woman within 12 years of his age could be a sister, a roommate, an ex spouse or his current wife. Write down any female names that fit the bill. Sometimes a woman’s age won’t show up even when the guy’s does. But you can get her age by doing a separate search for her as well.  

Try at least one lookup from both Groups 1 and 2.

Group 1 (Relatives)

Intelius.com
Enter their name and state they live in for their age and possible relatives. For more relatives, mouse over “View All”.  Even if it may miss a relative, you’ll often see other valuable info about them such as where they worked or went to college.  This can help you identify them among false leads when Googling for  common name.

US Search.com (National Database)
Has age, places they’ve lived and possible relatives.  For more relatives, mouse over “View More”.

Group 2 (Marriage Records)

Moose Roots Marriage Records
Can look to see if they were ever married and when, but it’s hit or miss as the database is far from complete. But if you see a spouse, you at least know who she is if her name pops up in a deed or other listing. Not good for showing divorces.

FamilyTreeNow (Marriage)
Enter a full name and can also enter in a state if you get too many hits. (first try without a state since you don’t know where else they’ve lived or where they may have got married).
Hit enter, then scroll down on left to FILTER RESULTS. Choose either Marriage Records, Divorce Records or Living People…  (Misses many who are either married or divorced, but it’s worth looking at.)

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Step 4: Google Both Their Names Together For Current Marital Status

If they’re listed as husband and wife, try Googling their names with divorce decree. Or try searching for hits only in the last year.

Google Search Combos For Marriage (start with broad searches and refine if too many hits)

Sam Karen Gruberman
Sam Karen Gruberman Georgia
Karen Sam Gruberman Georgia
(switched the names around)
Sam Karen Gruberman Georgia wife OR married (use capital OR to get either “wife” OR “married”)
Sam Karen Gruberman Georgia wife OR married (Google Set to Past Year Only)

Limit Your Results To Past Year Only
Click on link above and replace names and state with the ones you’re looking for. Or learn how to limit Google searches within the last year. See #6 of Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks).
And if last month’s obituary shows they’re married, but he insists he’s not, make him cough up the divorce certificate!

Step 5: Googling For Divorces
Start with broad searches and refine if you get too many hits.  See the examples below where I search with and without quotes.

Searching with their name and divorce might work.  Or it could pull up every divorce attorney in town! Here’s how to bypass those annoying ads from divorce lawyers and still get the meat!

“FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard (use quotes, may pull up several of his divorces)
“FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard Susan
“FIRESTONE v FIRESTONE” Richard Susan Georgia (here limited by state, but could omit divorces in other states)
Pontrelli v Pontrelli Barrie (Rare last name, no quotes needed)

Back To Top

Step 6: Check Free Divorce Databases or If “The Woman Filed For a Name Change

https://www.juralindex.com/
For divorces, enter in the last name of the person and then search by state and case name. Using the last name as a case name should pull up divorces and name changes. For uncommon names, omit the state. You can always add it later if there are too many hits.  OR try searching by plaintiff or defendant or all. Then hit VIEW CASE DETAILS.  Records may go back to before 1995.

Note: For all you google experts who use Google to search within the bowels of other websites: It’ a waste of time in this case! Google won’t puck up records that are there which means you’ll be misled even more if you find nothing. You’re better off going to the websites directly.

Related Links:

Reverse Searches: Background Them By Old Contact Info

Ever Google a common name like “Jason Smith” to find there’s thousands of them?  Or suppose you want to learn more about Carol Jones, the hot vendor who moved into the office next door?  Google lists over 100 millions hits for her.

So which one is the pretty blond without a wedding ring?  And is she really single?  Or does the wedding ring vanish, but only when she’s selling to her mostly male customers?

There are many reasons to do a background check.  For example: If Carol is single, just knowing what she does for fun could put you miles ahead of the competition.  Imagine her surprise when she hears you talk about her one true passion.  Which of course is to see the Special Olympics Unicycle Ukulele relay race. (Now I don’t recommend you lie.  But if you truly have similar interests, you’ll feel a lot bolder when you talk to her!)

So how can you find out this info?  And do it quickly without false leads?

By the way, this blog is a short add on to People With Common Names-How To Background Them and to the blog  Age, Relatives & Middle Name: The First Stop In Any Background Check.  In those blogs, I spoke about finding people by their unique identifiers, such as their age and middle name.  But  I assumed you only had their first and last name to work with.

Sometimes you have more.  For example: you could have their old or current email address, an old or current cell # or a prior home address. You might even have an old user name of theirs from when you met them on Match.com.  Obviously you waste nothing by plugging this into Google.  For more on that see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks).

But even before Google, you’ve got a powerful tool you may not have thought of.  Through reverse lookups, you can cut to the chase and find your exact Carol Jones in an instant.

Reverse Lookups (Searching By Contact Info)
When Googling  for common names, you know from my other blogs that it’s best to have at least a middle initial or maybe even a state where they once lived.  From there you sift through all your hits.  Usually you will find your target.  Usually.

But with reverse lookups or Reverse Searches, you can shortcut this process.   Key is finding the right FREE websites where you can plug in whatever piece of information you got.  The best of these instantly give you more information than what you started with.  They don’t take forever to load; and they don’t string you along.  Key is that they hone in on your subject, not someone else with the same name.

Well, guess what?  I just gave you these links both above and below!  And they’re organized based on the type of contact info you’re most likely to have!  Emails, phone numbers, addresses and user names.

For example:  this link in That’sThem.com searches based on my email address of g_firestone@yahoo.com.  Now click on a few of the links and you can find my middle name, my Twitter and Facebook accounts, my age, my profession, etc.  What’s more, the hits you get are linked directly with this email address.  So you know you got the right Graham Firestone.  Not that there was any doubt.  I’m the only Graham Firestone on the block. OR in the world!  But it matters when your name is a common one.

For phone numbers, you could get similar hits to the above.  Or you may just find the invaluable middle name.   But Google whatever you get for even more results.

Note that you can always plug an email, phone number or user name directly into Facebook or other social media.  Sometimes it even works!

So stop lollygagging and start searching!  And don’t forget to comment if you have thoughts, feelings or suggestions.  Doing so makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And I like warm and fuzzy.

Good luck!

Reverse Searches

Emails Phone #s
Photos/Images Street Addresses
User Names/Dating Profiles Websites/Intellectual Property

Why A Background Check?

For anyone who would background the house or car they buy,  but not their date…

Are Public Records A Bad Thing?
Are you a privacy nut?  Or someone convinced that free public records mean the end of the world?  Or maybe you’re less extreme than that, but just a little alarmed because there’s far too much public information freely available online.

Well, to quote Bill Clinton: I feel your pain.  There’s a lot on the Internet that can be used to stalk people, defame people, or simply harass people. Too much hate, too much bullying, too much social media.  And yes, too many YouTube videos with annoying pop up ads.

So what are you going to do about it?  Without a time machine, we’re stuck in the here and now.  And like fire, which is good in the oven but terrible on the curtains,  so is the free information you’ll find on the Internet.

Think back to all the amazing inventions.  And the opposition they all received. The VCR allowed you to illegally copy.  But with it you could watch all your favorite programs without the commercials.

And what about the Internet?  It made huge numbers of teens more isolated, more asocial and even more into pornography.  Yet it also allowed bedridden grandmothers to Skype their distant grandchildren.  I could talk about the car, the iPod and the smartphone.  But you get the gist.  The technology is neutral.  What counts most is what we do with it.

So let’s stop the complaining. It’s now time to make the lemons into lemonade.

Trust But Verify
Too many times I get the question: Why do a background check?  Sometimes I’m even accused of being  a snooper or stalker.  The people who ask these things tend to think there’s something shady when you look someone up online.  Their concern is that the mere act of backgrounding someone creates inherent feelings  of mistrust.  And that it’s better to be ignorant than poisoned by unfounded suspicion.  In some cases they may be right!

I agree that it’s what’s in our heart that matters.  It harms us when we always suspect others of being liars or underhanded.  But this doesn’t mean we throw away our intelligence or our caution.  We live in an age where people are no longer in communities.  A time when people are no longer accountable.

Unlike a century ago, people now have the power to run away from their own heat.  They can escape their own bad reputations.  So you’re an abuser, a liar or a cheat?  Simply cut off old ties, move to another town and reinvent yourself.  Who will know?   Unless of course, there’s a trail of all the harm you’ve caused.  A trail that can be found easily and for free by those with a need to know.

Your Need To Know
As employers, parents and singles, we all have a need to know.  We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our friends and our families.  We need to know who we’re going to hire or date or allow near our children.

As Ronald Reagan once said when dealing with the Russians, we should  “trust, but verify.”  This means we start out in good faith and with the best of intentions.   But we’ve got to do our homework as well.  We cannot close our eyes to the realities that surround us.

As the mom of little red riding hood, would you let your little girl wander alone in the forest?  And what about the man you invited home for dinner?  Are you so sure he’s not the big bad wolf?  How can you tell?  As in the story, the wolf wears many disguises.  And the faster you know it’s a wolf, the faster you can protect those you love.

When Is A Good Time To Do A Background Check?
So now you’re seeing wolves and want to do a background check.  But when is a background check appropriate?   It’s all about balancing your desire to trust verses the risk of being too trusting.  The threshold of trust is different for everyone.  It’s your life.  So only you can answer that question.

But allow me to make a few suggestions.  Do a background check whenever the stakes are high.  At the the very least, I recommend it when dating, hiring, renting out your house, or when investing in someone’s business.

I also recommend a background check when you notice something is wrong.  It could be that someone’s story doesn’t add up.  Or that an employee has a pattern of acting strange or erratic and you’re unable to figure out why.

What Do I Look For In A Background Check?
What to look for in a background check all depends on why you’re doing it in the first place.  For example, if your dating someone, their age and marital status may be more important than their DUI of 20 years ago.

If you’re checking out a renter, take a look at any incidences of violence or prior evictions, destruction of property, etc.  Also find out if they ever sued their landlord.

For investors,  you’ll want to check out their honesty and their competence in financial matters.  Do they have recent bankruptcies or defunct companies they ran into the ground?

Were they ever charged or convicted of fraud or embezzlement?  How do they manage their assets?  Checking out what they own tells you if they’re good managers.  It may also reveal if they have undisclosed conflicts of interests.  For example, are they asking you to invest in something they have hidden ties to?  Is it a Ponzi scheme or a company secretly owned by their kid brother?

Lies, Omissions & Funny Business (My Law School Days at ASU)
Often we have no clue what a person has done or even what to ask them.  In other words, we don’t know what we don’t know.  But if something suddenly appears fishy, it’s time to do a background check!

A great example of this occurred in my law school days when I met a a self proclaimed millionaire named Mike Davis.  Mike was smart, affable and seemed like a really nice guy.  But I should have suspected something fishy when I caught him waiting on the financial aid line.  Law school was a lot cheaper back then.  Millionaires didn’t need or qualify for student loans.  That was my first clue something was definitely amiss.

Years later at a party, I confessed to him, “Mike I’ve known you for three years and you’re still f*n inscrutable!  I know as much about you now as the very first day I met you!”  Mike grinned at me and said “just ask away little buddy!”  I was  silent.  What could I ask him?

A few years later Mike made national headlines.  And I so badly wanted to go back to that party and ask him: Hey Mike, by any chance, is your real name Walter Waldhauser And before I knew you, did you ever flunk out of a Texas law school and serve 9 years in prison for killing people to collect on their inheritance money?   And by the way, if you hadn’t plead guilty and ratted out your accomplices, do you think you too would have died by lethal injection as they did?  Just asking little buddy.  Just asking…

But again, you don’t know what you don’t know.  That’s why you should do the background check as soon as you know something’s fishy.   If there’s water dripping from the ceiling, don’t sit around until the roof caves in.

Related Links

Are They Married? Find Out Without Even Their Last Name!

The best investigators know three things that are secrets to everyone else.

1. Where To Find The Free Links
Most people don’t have a clue.  But that’s easy.  The free links to do online background checks are right here!

2. How To Search The Free Links
But free links are just the beginning.  Second, you’ve got to know how each website works.  If you search with the wrong format, or get too specific, chances are you’ll find nothing of value.  So it’s always best to test out each website with a common name.  A name that you expect to get hits for.

If say, you don’t get any hits with a name like  “John Smith”,  it means the website is bad or you’ve entered the name in the wrong format.   For example, was the name to be last name first?  Do you have an extra space, a misspelled word or did you perhaps leave out or include a comma?  Every website has different rules for searching.  Look at their examples, if they have any.

(Less Is More)
If you can, just enter in a first and last name and maybe a state.  Also, be sure not to include too much information, even if there’s a field for it.  That’s right.  Leave out middle initials, race, age, location, etc. Too much will exclude valid records that could be missing these things.

3. How To Piece It All Together
But to really excel, you’ve got to know more than how to use a bunch of links.  The best investigators leverage the facts they know to find out the facts they don’t know.  And from there, they string together these facts into a story.  This story is all about the person’s character and dependability.

This is what we’re after.  This blog will show you how to string the facts together into a story.  And from that story you can decide if the person is trustworthy.  In other words, you’ll know better if it’s safe to date them, safe to hire them, safe to rent to them, or safe to let them into your home.

Finding Marital Status With Just A First Name  & Phone #
Here’s how we searched for someone, what we found out about them and how we put the facts together.  (All names, locations and ages have been changed to protect the guilty!)

Yesterday “Susan” wanted me to background a guy she met on a dating site.  She didn’t have much for me to work with.  Just a phone number from his texts and that his name was “Sam.”  Up until now, Sam and Susan had never met each other.   But Sam had great ambition.  He told her that for their first date, they’d have a great night out and then go back to a hotel for sex.

Susan was less happy about this than Sam.  But she was curious why Sam opted for a hotel instead of going back to his place.  So she asked for my help with a background check.

What We Found
With just Sam’s phone number, we were able to confirm Sam had given us his real first name.  After all, some people don’t.   We also found Sam’s last name, his middle name, the names of Sam’s relatives, Sam’s age, and Sam’s current and prior home addresses.

From there we took a look at his property records, searched for criminal records, found tax liens on his home and finally, we Googled him.  Turns out, Sam had good reason to meet Susan at a hotel.

Sam was still married!  Indeed, according to at least one stat, 30 percent of all “single” men online are lying about their marital status.  For more see The Top Signs The Guy Is Married Or Cheating On You.

How We Found It: An Anatomy of A Background Check

First Stop: Reverse Lookups
As I mentioned earlier, all we had was a first name and phone number.  But it could have been a first name and an email address, or a first name and a dating profile name, or a first name and a physical address.

With reverse lookups, you can confirm his first name or learn he’s given you a false one.  The reverse lookups for all of these can be found at Consumer-SOS.com.  But having the links is not enough.  Here’s how we used them!

Our first stop was OKcaller.com.  What we needed was a name behind the phone number.  If that didn’t work, we’d go to Spydialer.com, and finally, we’d try our luck with Google or the less effective reverse lookup sites.  (OKCaller is the best because it even works with most cell phone numbers.)

With OKCaller we hit the jackpot!  We found Sam’s full name was Samuel Gruberman.  We also got his home address in Cartersville GA!  Sweet!

Second Stop: Sites For Age, DOB, Relatives & Where Else They’ve Lived
So we now knew an address, a phone number and that his name was Samuel Gruberman.  At this point we could have jumped straight to Google.  But then we’d be flooded with too many hits.

After all, there’s got to be a lot of Samuel Grubermans.  So we had to find a way to know we had the right person.  And that meant using special databases to find distinguishing things about him.  (For more,  see People With Common Names-How To Background Them.)

Knowing Sam’s true age, the names of his relatives and his middle name would be helpful.  So our next stop was to the free sites to find their Age, DOB, Relatives & Where Else They’ve Lived.  Our goal was to look for any Sam or Samuel Gruberman with the same Cartersville address.  With such, we hoped to find other information including his age and relatives.

The age lookup sites not only found him, but listed his age as 61.
We also were able to learn his middle name was Raymond.  So now we had his full name, Samuel Raymond Gruberman.  (Later we would Google this along with Samuel R Gruberman.)

The age lookup sites didn’t stop there.  They also listed the various cities and states where Sam lived and included his relatives.  Now Sam was easier to identify than ever.

One of these relatives was a woman named Karen Gruberman.  Later we clicked on the links for Karen Gruberman and found she was also 61 (i.e. probably not his sister.)

So we continued looking for records of Sam Gruberman.  Within each website, we looked down each page for near duplicate records.  In other words, we looked for those records that were mostly the same but would give us additional information about him.

We also looked at other age and relative websites.  If the page within a site was very long, we used Ctrl F to search for his middle name or his address.  (Command F for Macs).  The goal was to find the old that we knew, coupled with the new things we did not know.

We paid attention only to the records that were clearly about him and not some other Sam Gruberman.  For example: we looked for his name with the Cartersville address or his name with the states he’s lived in, or his name with the same set of relatives.

And our knowledge of Sam Gruberman grew and grew,

We now knew his age, his date of birth, the places he’s lived, his address, his prior addresses, his prior phone numbers and his relatives.  Some of these sites even listed the companies he founded.  We checked those out too at the GA Secretary of State.  However, we found no additional names or addresses that might be connected to him.

But one mystery remained.  Just who was Karen Gruberman?  We knew they were both 61.  Could she really be his sister?  Doubtful they’d both be born in the same year.  Was she an ex wife?  Or worse, a current wife?  We were at an impasse. There was nothing else the age lookup sites could do for us.

Third Stop: Free Criminal Records & Bankruptcy Records
At this point we wanted to know some hard facts about our quarry. Was he a child molester?  Was he ever arrested?  Did he ever file for bankruptcy?  Armed with his full name and address, our next step was the free bankruptcies and arrest mugshot records.  But we found nothing.

Fourth Stop: Free Property Records
We knew his name.  And we knew his address.  Was he rich?  Did he own the property or rent from his mom?  We were determined to find out.

So our next stop were the free property records.  We could have searched by his address or by name.  But a name search was easier.  And the property records spoke volumes.  Karen was listed as co-owner of the property!  We also found their home once had IRS and GA tax liens against it!

So we now knew Karen co-owns the house with him.  This smelled a lot like a wife.  But how could we be sure?

Fifth Stop: Googling Names, Addresses & Phone Numbers
Now it was time to Google!  The goal was to find only recent information about him.  More to the point, we needed to know if Sam and Karen were still husband and wife.

Googling Only Recent Events
So we Googled Sam and Karen Gruberman together (just the words in red, no quotation marks).  But there were so many hits!  What we needed was the here and now, not ancient history.  So we set Google to show only the returns from the last year.  To see how this is done, see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips and Tricks). 

Previously I had set Google to give me 100 returns per page so we could scroll down the pages quickly.  Now it was paying off big time.  On the second page (hit # 200), we found an obituary for Sam’s Dad dated 9 months earlier.  The obit was amazing because it listed all the relatives who attended.

It read “Mr. Gruberman (SR) is survived by his wife, and son, Sam Gruberman and wife, Karen of Cartersville, GA,

WOW!  Good ole Sam is still married!  Karen was his wife 9 months ago.  And Karen is his wife now.  If they were really divorced, why is she still on the property records?  No wonder Sam wanted a hotel.  Bad Sam!  Next time at least fess up you’re still married!

Related Links
Google Like A Pro! (Quick Tips & Tricks)
People With Common Names-How To Background Them
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check

Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips and Tricks)

Whether you’re shopping online or doing your own background checks, you can get swamped with too many names, too many pages and too many false leads.  To avoid this, here are 8 search tricks that will forever change how you Google!

This Blog Will Show You How To:
1. Google search 100 hits per page instead of 10 per page
2. Search for an exact phrase using quotes
3. See old versions of a website (Google Cache)
4. Search for key words once on a web page (Control F, Command F
for Macs)
5. Exclude Google returns that contain unwanted words
6. Search for recent results in the past week, month or year
7. Search within a particular website
8. Search For Images (Google Reverse Image Search)

1. Search Faster With 100 Returns Per Page
First let’s permanently set Google to give you 100 returns per page instead of ten.  If you’re not sure this is a worthwhile thing to do, try Googling for John Smith and mugshots.  As you can see, at just ten hits per page, you will be searching for a lifetime!  How much better to search 10 times faster and with 10 times the returns on a page!

For more searches per page, you can customize your search settings.  First, under “Search Settings” and “Google Instant predictions”, click on “Never show Instant results.”  This deactivates any suggestions on how to search for things. (Something only marginally helpful when you already know what you’re looking for).

Next, slide the results per page from 10 to 100.  This makes Google microscopically slower, but with today’s super fast Internet speeds, who cares! (Note: this won’t work unless you first turn off the instant results feature above).

Now, click “Save” at the bottom and start searching!  The same results are now at a 100 per page instead of 10.  Think how much time you’ll save with this trick alone.  Say goodbye to the page by page nonsense!  200 returns takes up 2 pages instead of 20.   And if it’s not there, you simply move on to your next search.

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2. Search For An Exact Phrase Using Quotes
Most people never think of using quotation marks around names or phrases.  But if you Google John Smith and mugshots (without quotes) you get over half a million hits.  To narrow your search, let’s put the name in quotes so it looks like this: “John Smith” mugshots.  Now your search results are cut down to less than 46 thousand hits.

The great thing about quotes is that you can target exact phrases, including names.  With the example above, you can see the quotes allow you to pull up hits where the words John and Smith are right next to each other.

But why stop there?  Let’s see what happens when we add the middle initial R.  Amazingly, the search for “John R Smith” mugshots returns a mere 56 hits.

Now let’s refine the search to “John Richard Smith” mugshots.  Here you get only 25 hits!  So with a full name in quotes, even a common name becomes uncommon.  And with the power of quotes, you can find your mark easily.

Finally, lets add a city to narrow the results even further.  With “John Richard Smith” mugshots Atlanta, we’ve reduced half a million hits to five!

Use Triple Quotes For Even More Exact Phrases
This is a secret Google won’t talk about. But if you want to make absolutely sure you get Graham Firestone and not Graham Moclayus Firestone, search like this “””Graham Firestone”””

Pros & Cons of Using Quotes

Pros
Quotes are great when you know the exact phrase you’re looking for.
Example: “post office most wanted”
Example: “John Richard Smith”

Dangers Of Using Quotes
Quotes can exclude valid results because the words were not next to each other.  This matters for example, when you have no idea how the name will be listed, i.e. when searching for wedding announcements or obituaries.  For example: Quotes around “John Smith” would exclude an obituary about John R Smith or a wedding announcement for John and Clara Smith.  Likewise, quotes around “Clara and John Smith” could exclude valid returns with “John and Clara Smith”

Conclusion
If you know the exact phrase or phrases you’re looking for, put it in quotes!  You can also narrow your leads by adding a city or other information not in quotes.  Be careful of using quotes when you don’t know the exact word order you want, or you want the key terms to come back with a middle name, the name of a spouse or other information that would otherwise be excluded.

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3. See Old Versions Of A Website (Google Cache)
Ever go to website to learn it’s changed or no longer there?  This is especially frustrating when you know the site refers to the person you’re looking for.  The good news is that Google’s cache function can show you an earlier snapshot of the same site.

Suppose you’re looking for Graham Firestone and Google pulls up a site where he’s nowhere to be found.  So what do you do?
First, use your back button to revisit the list of Google hits where you first found the site.  Notice a green link directly under your website.

Click the down arrow at the end of the green link and click Cached.   Now you are on a snapshot of the site before it changed.  For more see Search tricks including finding really old websites on the Wayback Machine.

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4. Search For Key Words On A Web Page (Control F, Command F for Macs)
So you’re at the top of a webpage over 100 screens long.  Now here’s how to quickly find the name you’re looking for.  PC users can search for a key word within the site by holding down the Ctrl button on their keyboard and also pressing the letter F.  Mac users can do the same thing with Command F.  When the small search box appears, simply enter John or Smith or whatever single key term you’re looking for.

Each time you hit enter it will take you to where that term appears on the page.  Some browsers will even highlight your search terms so all you have to do is scroll down for the yellow or green highlights.

Note: the find function is a far cry from Google.  So do not enter more than one term at a time.  Also, the single will find the plural as long as there’s no spelling change. (Attorney will find attorneys, but not vice versa.  A search for fly will not find flies).

A good practice is to search for the least common part of the name.  For example: Say your searching for John Zanzibar and you find yourself at the top of a super huge webpage.  While on the page, first do a search for Zanzibar.  There’s probably only one.  But a search for John will probably take you to a lot of the Johns you weren’t looking for.

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5.. Exclude Google Returns That Contain Unwanted Words
Now let’s talk about excluding the words we don’t need in a search.
Notice a search for John Firestone gives you over 12 million hits.

But Google has a way to exclude unwanted words by using the minus sign.  Here’s how it’s done.  In the Google search box, first enter the terms you want as usual.  Then, after your desired search terms, you’ll want to enter the terms you don’t want in your returns.  Simply press the space bar and add the minus sign along with all the words you don’t want.

For example: John Firestone -tires has 8 times fewer hits because now it’s not puling up Firestone tires.

John Firestone -tires -dr has even fewer hits. (691,000 instead of 12 million).  But before you exclude, take a look at your returns for words you know are irrelevant.  Open a few to see the pattern. Otherwise you may over exclude and miss something important.

Using Quotes Combined With The Minus Sign
Now watch what happens when you add quotes such as below.
“john firestone” -tires -dr

As you probably knew, you get a lot fewer returns.  This is because the word doctor is not relevant unless for some reason you believe your subject was a doctor or connected to doctors.

Previously I tried this search and to my surprise I got more hits instead of less.  So always pay attention to what happens when you add search terms or use the minus sign.  You should get fewer returns not more!

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6.  Search For Recent Results In The Past Week, Month Or Year
Ever want recent news, a recent weather report or the most recent scoop on a person’s whereabouts?  With Google, you can pull up returns from the past year to even the past hour.  Just type in your search and press enter.  Then click on Search Tools up top and click on Anytime.

At this point, choose the past hour, the past day, the past week, past month or past year.  You can even use the Google calendar to customize your search to the last 2 years.

Now you can search the most recent how to links, the most recent phone numbers, the most recent developments in the law, the newest products on the market… (you get the gist.)

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7. Search Within A Particular Website
Sometimes a website won’t let you search it, or it requires you sign up for it.  At other times  it’s so badly organized, you simply can’t find anything.  This is particularly true with government websites.  Even if they have a search engine, they’re often useless!

The good news is that you can still search many of these sites with Google’s search within site feature.

First, I enter the searches in quotes or no quotes, then a space, the word “site colon and the name of the website, no space after the colon. To see how it works, just click on the link below.  Note this only searches within the ancestry.com website.

“David Firestone” site:ancestry.com

The applications here are endless.  Now you can search almost any  site with the power of Google and all it’s search capabilities!  Use this to shop for products, gather evidence of product infringement, search for company announcements or look for people!

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8. Search For Images (Google Reverse Image Search)
Google can also find when someone’s image appears in different places online.  This can be helpful in tracking where they’ve been or what they’ve done.  For more on this see Free Links That Detect Online Copying (Consumer-SOS.com).  See also Reverse Image Search.

Related Links
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
People With Common Names-How To Background Them
Is The Crime Still Online?
Are They Married? Find Out Without Even Their Last Name!