Image by: State Library Queensland
It is a sad fact of life that people can drift out of contact as they go about living their own lives. Friendships that once seemed iron-clad can gradually come undone after a few months or years as busy people begin to move on from old connections.
We all have vivid and nostalgic recollections of a person we have not seen for years, but how many times do we feel compelled to put on our detective hat and hunt that person down? Is it an easy thing today to find someone you haven’t spoken to in so long?
I decided that I wanted to track down my old pal Justine. We had shared many pivotal moments together, but when we went to different universities to begin our respective careers the communication kind of fizzled out.
When the search began
For those living in the UK, the best place to start used to be the electoral registers, a huge list of all people registered to vote in a given area. It allowed you to perform a fairly pain-free postcode search (and still does), but if you didn’t know where the person lived or that they’d moved the electoral register couldn’t be much use to you.
When I first began my search, I remembered that Justine had moved to a particular area of Guildford, but I couldn’t find her registered there; this meant she was either a) still incredibly apathetic or b) had moved elsewhere.
The General Register Office holds records of all the births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and adoptions that take place in England and Wales. The problem I also had then was that Justine was not born in the UK, so I couldn’t find any record of her death or marriage.
The search goes online
Then the World Wide Web came along, and internet resources sharpened in usability and efficiency by the day. Justine was always good at keeping up with the trends, so I knew that even if I couldn’t find her via social media directly, it was still likely I’d be able to find someone who knew where she had disappeared to.
First stop, Facebook. Welcome to my next problem, I couldn’t remember Justine’s middle name and there are loads of people that have the same name as her. After a bit of trawling though, I found someone that I thought might be her and requested her friendship once again.
It turns out Justine no longer lives in the UK and has in fact returned to our native France.
In my case the internet proved to be the best route in trying to track down my old acquaintance. This is because Justine was the same age as me and likely to be young enough to be fairly internet savvy by this time. Secondly, the internet is a much more international tool than it was 20 years ago.
I would love to hear how you guys get on in your respective searches.
Elise Lévêque is a lively and ambitious freelance translator. An excessive coffee drinker during the day and a regular party goer at night, Elise is currently writes blogs for White Pages.