Tracing old friends on Facebook
Tracing old friends Is Facebook a big help.
We put the question to professional people finders Friends reconnected based in Knightsbridge who devote most of their working days specifically and exclusively, to this particular task. We asked specifically about tracing old friends | Is Facebook a real help? See detailed response further down the page.
Friends reconnected cover across the entire spectrum in genealogy and people searching.
This could be:- tracing a lost relative, an old school buddy, a special high school friend, your first love (childhood), your first teenage sweetheart, and the one who was your first heartbreaker. Not only do they cover the entire UK, but they do also undertake commissions, worldwide.
For example and very rewarding to trace descendants of people who became displaced at the end of WW11. Not many of the first generation are of course still alive, but other-yes, but scattered across the globe.
We have created a new webpage covering this subject. See here
for such extraordinary searches, Yes, you are right they ain’t going to be cheap.
Tracing old friends Is Facebook a real help? Facebook has been much heralded as the breakthrough magic tool, one which anyone can use with ease when attempting to find a lost person. However, sadly from our experiences, this unfortunately belongs in the realms of mythology.
When tracing lost friends does Facebook work? Generally-No.
Why is that? There is a misconception that Facebook can magically just find any, and everyone, with just one clock of the mouse. All you do is to is: type in a name and “Voila”-got him/her. Hmmm- if only! The reality is it’s a myth for the fairies and Hans Christian Andersen tales.
Explain more, please?
From the perspective of a professional person tracer why Facebook is not very effective? The first limitation is that most software only travels in straight lines. Linear fashion, using tram lines to get from A -B. There is no scope for lateral thinking- no “hang on a minute, how about” etc. etc. Unfortunately these searches are often trivialised by the media, creating a false sense of it being so easy, and only takes a few minutes.
Well, If that were really and truly the case.
There would be no place for people tracing services which take up to 30 hours or more to solve. Moreover, charge hundreds of pounds for their services. Not unreasonable for 30 hours of someone’s time, not to mention the headaches and migraines. This unfortunate perception created of an easy 5-minute job is just not so. Being in the digital era we see much more naivety-we are being polite here and a curse to serious professional tracers. Many members of the public just grunt, and dismiss our charges as a rip-off. We would beg to differ. Indeed, reasonable for 30 hours of serious hard work.
Professional people finders spend hours going down one route
Then try a different route This requires manual thinking power. This may then lead to a further route variation. That is, of course, not the whole story. But does give some indication as to software limitations.
Flamingo Club Wardour Street, Soho
Tracing old friends s Facebook is a real help. Well, let’s take an example of a typical search. ‘Brenda Davies last seen in Watford 1978. “Type in” Brenda Davies, Watford. Incidentally, there is no search string to include age (DOB) location, or indeed any other data whatsoever. We found hundreds of people with that name scattered across the entire globe, and you cannot assume they are still in the UK. Most do not show a location in their profile, moreover, if it was 50 years ago they have probably married and changed their surname. moved either in the UK or abroad.
Most Facebook profile previews show little information
So you then have to open it up and hope to see more. 90% of the time you cannot see more until you become added as Facebook friends. This means sending each of them a message (maybe 100 plus all with the same name) of which 90% will not reply because quite simply, they are not the person you are seeking.
Another factor is the Facebook account was set up by younger people.
All with the best of good intentions to get Gran and Grandad online But the unknown factor here is that grandparents really couldn’t work it all out. Resulting in the profile sitting there for years totally unused and likely to remain that way.
We are often told Grandparents don’t want to embarrass themselves by admitting to their grandkids, they were unable to follow what they were shown. Consequently, often the account just sits there unused. How many people might have tried to contact them and were unanswered, now we may know the reason why! This reluctance can be exacerbated when the grandkids have something of an ungracious disposition towards elderly people. Not deliberate, but they often without intention embarrass them with their intolerance towards their slowness in picking up some new innovations. Well, what we say is: what goes around, comes around, in no time, it will be your turn!
Dad had one of these! An Austin 10
But for you, it means the end of the line. Moreover, understandably, you may feel rather disappointed that an old friend snubbed you! Which unbeknown to you, they did not!
Going back to the story! Let’s assume you try and contact them all. Firstly, if it’s a female there is an added barrier to contend with, in all probability they are now married, and of course, their surname changed. Obviously, you are unaware of their married name, or you would have applied it.
How are you going to take it forward? With respect probably you cannot.
You would then need to delve into their birth listing which can take hours, especially with the problem of; which one is it. If there is a birth year and town of birth it narrows it down. But then you need to access the births, marriages and deaths records which are available online. However, you really need to know how to navigate it. Then of course in addition you need to establish their current address, which can be tricky, or if they emigrated, divorced, or died. A professional people tracer can handle all this relatively easily.
Anyone remember Donovan!!
On your own, you could spend hours at finding what turns out to be the wrong target. Conversely, if by miracle you actually find the right target, they may well be unable to answer you. Why, because often when in the older age group they are unfamiliar with the workings of Facebook. You can see when they first joined and if there were any subsequent actions.
If there are years without any actions, they may have since died, or more likely unable to find their way around it. There is a lesson here for Grandkids. If you go to the trouble of helping grandparents to go online, you must follow this up with some support. They are not likely to say we can’t work it all out. As a result the Facebook page could remain dormant forever. If you’re going to set up Facebook for your grandparents, finish the job off.
Facebook what does it do for people tracers?
In essence all what Facebook delivers is a person’s name. You may find with just that information (if you are lucky) you might hit the jackpot. It depends on how common or unusual is the name. If the name is Finkelstein you have a decent chance. “Smith”-forget it. Those names given many centuries ago, were not designed with Internet friends online searches in mind.
Yes, obtaining more information is often available
But only after you have accepted each other as a friend. But without any information shown initially, you may not be inclined to proceed on to requesting them to become friends. After all, you have no idea if it’s the person you are seeking, is the one you are writing to. Indeed, we often hear of people becoming agitated by an uninvited message.
Crossroads Motel | Benny and Miss. Dianne!
As professional people tracers we set a list of markers
which helps with the search For example: We went to Challney School https://www.challneyboys.co.uk/ together in Luton, in 1958. After leaving school she worked at Whitbread’s Brewery in Luton, attended Beechwood Youth Club, and then moved on to working for Britannia Airways’, at Luton airport.
All this information is the basic building blocks of the case. None of this stuff can be linked to your initial Facebook search query.
However, in all fairness, Facebook has helped us in a handful of cases.
Yes, where we had sufficient info to think this might well be our target, and able to open it up enough to gain some traction. We then moved on to list friends and schools attended and in two minutes we found them. Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence.
In conclusion, unless you have an abundance of time on your hands
and a modicum of familiarity with navigating your way around the internet we would recommend using a professional. We know from bitter experience the frustration of hitting so many brick walls. Indeed, we have hit most of them ourselves!