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:
- 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 email@example.com.
- Search in Google or Bing with their full email address in quotation marks. For example, Googling “firstname.lastname@example.org” could lead to other postings which include new contact information and other leads.
- 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.)
- 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”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.