The Problem With Common Name Searches

Are you trying to find a person with a common name like “James Smith” or “Mary Smith”? There are major problems involved when trying to find people with common first names, last names or both. The past two census results show that Smith is the most popular surname in the United States, while James is the most popular first name for males and Mary is the most popular first name for females.

A Google search for people by the name “James Smith” returns over 6 million results and a name search on Google for “Mary Smith” returns over 2.5 million results. The likelihood that you will find relevant search results on Google, without adding additional personal details to your search engine query, for either one of these name searches is unlikely.

According to a name search on there are over 22 thousand people in the US with the name “Mary Smith” and almost 31 thousand people with the name “James Smith”. Unless, the Smith you are looking for lives in a small rural area, this will also be an unreliable name search.

Even Facebook’s people directory contains too many persons by the name “James Smith” and “Mary Smith”. Many of the profile search results on Facebook will contain pictures or people, so if you can recognize the person you are looking for then that will help.

The only way to find useful information in people search results is to collect as much personal information on the person as you can before you begin your search. Detailed personal information on the person you are trying to locate will help you narrow down your search results.

Some detailed personal information that can be used to focus your people search includes: age, previous addresses, email addresses, previous phone numbers, schools attended, relatives, neighbors, friends and acquaintances.

This information can be used to add key details to a Google search or locate friends or family of the person you are searching for, who may be able to tell you the person’s whereabouts. Phone numbers, addresses and email addresses can be used on reverse lookups to help you locate someone.

Many online people search engines and public record sites like PeopleFinders, PeopleSmart, BeenVerified and Spokeo have good information on possible relatives, ages, current and past addresses, social network ID’s as well as email addresses and phone numbers for millions of people in the US.

There are numerous personal details that can help you find the person you are looking for. Not all people searches will be as difficult as the name searches discussed above and the more background information you have on the person you are looking for the more likely it is that you will locate them.

Remember to let the available personal information lead you when trying to find someone online!