After graduation we all go our separate ways in life. Losing touch with classmates is an inevitable fact of life. As a result, one of the most difficult and biggest tasks a reunion committee faces is to find missing classmates.
Certainly your reunion committee needs to make this a high priority in your reunion planning activities. After all, the reunion's success is largely dependent on participation. Start as early as possible. You might even want to consider forming a dedicated subcommittee or workgroup who are solely focused on locating classmates.
How do you go about finding missing classmates after 5, 10, 20 years?
Often overlooked by reunion committees is the fact that classmates may actually be trying to find you...so first make it easy for them to reach you by establishing an online meeting place for your class on the internet where they can communicate with you and get information about their reunion. Make this information available in all public announcement venues such as newspapers, school & alumni web sites as well as all other available public web sites that allow reunion announcement postings. Don't limit your announcement to just one media venue...the more places you put the information the more likely classmates are to find you. You really can't over advertise your reunion plans.
An interesting statistical fact:
70% or more of your classmates still reside in your high school home state. Your classmates may be right in your backyard!
Tips for locating missing classmates
- Obtain the records of any prior reunion planners
- Check for classmates registered on public alumni sites
- Check with your school or alumni association and on their web sites
- Post your missing classmate names on your web site and school or alumni site
- Ask your school or alumni association to post a link to your class web site in case classmates visit these sites. - Ask all located classmates to help in search as they may be in contact with other classmates or be able to provide leads
- Check local area phone books
- Check online national phone books
- See who is living at their last known address by using the 'reverse address' feature at Whitepages. Fill in the address and get the current phone number for that address. Maybe they know your classmate's whereabouts or their parents or other family members.
- Try locating and contacting parents or siblings of missing classmates
- Check other graduating class web sites for your school for possible brothers or sisters of a missing classmate
- Publicize your reunion information in local and area newspapers, radio stations and online public web sites
- Organize a phone-a-thon by contacting all located classmates and ask if they know how to reach other classmates
- Try entering names of individuals on major search engines like Google or Yahoo
- The following paid people search services might provide information about missing classmates
- US Search
- Class Quest
- Check Social Security Death Index for deceased classmates
- Check online Obituaries for deceased classmates
- 'Pay for' search services
Don't get discouraged if you cannot locate all your classmates and don't assume everyone wants to be found and wants to participate in the reunion. For some, it may be the past is filled with unpleasant or painful memories or there may be extenuating circumstances in their current life.