Most people don't take the "Keep In Touch" written in their yearbooks to heart, but thanks to the Internet, finding old classmates is easier than ever. These days, social networking is more than just a means of getting back in touch. For many, it's a daily activity. This simple fact will make it easier to get back in contact with anyone from your past--whether it's an old classmate, an old fling or even a mentor.
Figure out who you're searching for. There are several sites with the express purpose of reuniting classmates. A simple Google search of "find classmates" will give you access to several sites where you can find old friends. Classmates.com is one of the most widely accessed sites and features a step-by-step menu that allows you to search by school and graduation year. The basic service is free and will give you direct access to anyone who has registered on their site. This is an ideal site to use if you want to find a group of people from your specific graduating class of 1984 and you want to gather basic information-- particularly a list of names of your classmates. You might have a few names in mind but utilising this site will give you access to anyone you may have left out or confirm the spelling of tricky last names.
Search for friends by name on social networking sites. Facebook is the biggest of the social networking sites, catering to millions of users. This site will be particularly helpful in searching for people with less common names. If your classmate is Bob Smith you might come up with several pages of profiles to weed through. However, for less common names you will often get direct access to your friend's profiles where you can e-mail them directly. A perk of searching for those with less common names: if you don't find John "Crazylastname" you might find a relative of his who you can e-mail in hopes of reaching him.
Look through the phone book. Access whitepages.com and enter the name of the friend you'd like to locate. This method is most effective to find phone numbers and addresses. This site will retrieve whatever is on file-- which might not be someone's current information. If you are searching for someone you knew as a student, keep in mind that his address is likely to have changed since his school days. The same rule applies as facebook in that you might find a listing for "Crazylastname" but not for the first name you are searching for. You might not find John "Crazylastname," but you're likely to find his parent's address or phone number and be able to contact him through them.
Head up the Reunion Committee. If a specific milestone reunion is on the horizon, there are sites designed to help locate people. Use a search engine to find a company that puts together reunions in your area. For example, in Southern California, reunioncommittee.com can help you locate your classmates and plan the big event. The company will not charge you for work they do to locate your classmates, but going this route means you won't get to see your friends until the big party which will come with a price tag averaging about £65 per person as of May 2010. Make sure to enter reunion planning as well as your city or state to find accurate information.