Finding Someone Online: A Name-Based Guide


This article is for anyone who wants to find someone online but doesn’t know their last name or initials.


That person’s identity is all you have so far? If the surname is widespread, the investigation will likely be more difficult. Then why are you wasting your time reading this? Because learning these techniques will help you save effort, cash, and temper tantrums. How? Learn to recognize when you need to look further into a problem and how to steer clear of subtle hazards. Okay, so let’s begin!

Here’s some background info:

There are a lot of widely used patterns for first-middle-last names. How, then, do you determine what is typical? Let’s take a look at some prevalent last words for Americans born in the previous century:

The 20 most popular male-given names are:

The Identified Persons Named James, John, Robert, Michael, William, David, Richard, Charles, Joseph, and Thomas

Daniel, Paul, Christopher, Mark, Donald, George, Kenneth, Steven, Edward, and Brian.

The 20 most common female given names are:

List of female characters: Mary, Patricia, Linda, Barbara, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Maria, Susan, Margaret, Dorothy, Lisa, Nancy, Karen, Betty, Helen, Sandra, Donna, Carol, Ruth, and Sharon.

American families’ most popular last names, ranked.

Anderson, Thomas, Jackson, White, Harris, Martin, Thompson, Garcia, Martinez, and Robinson. Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, Wilson, Moore, Taylor, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Anderson, Thomas, Jackson, White.

The top ten most common male middle names are:

William, Alan/Allen, Dean, Don, James, John, Joseph, Louis, Michael, Nicholas, Scott, Ray, Richard, and Scott

The most frequent female given names:

Jane, Jean, Lee/Leigh, Linda, Lynn, Margaret, Mary, Rae, Ann/Anne, Beth, Claire, Elizabeth, Gay, Grace, Jane, Jean,

Let’s look at some specific cases. It will be difficult to tell if you have the correct person if their full name includes any of the following combinations:

J. Allyn Smith, James

Dean John Williams

Johnson, Robert L.

The Reverend Mother Mary Ann Jones

Patricia C. Brown, a claire

Davis, Linda Elizabeth

The point is made. Remember that searches for such common names will return hundreds, if not thousands, of hits. Exactly what, then can you do? Just two words: go deeper. Do you know when you were born (or at least what year)? It could be the first three numbers of their SSN. The place of their birth. You’re going to need more. Discover it!

What about some less familiar names? Finding these unusual naming permutations will speed up your research significantly.

Here are some uncommon male given names:

From A to Z: Abram, Barrett, Cale, Dana, Easton, Fletcher, Gage, Harvey, Immanuel, Jan, Karl, Lamont, Marion, Nicklaus, Octavio, Paxton, Ralph, Silas, Theodore, Ulysses, Wade, Xander, Yale, Zakary.

Even more uncommon male-given names:

Names like “Angus,” “Arnome,” “Blair,” “Brandt,” “Briar,” “Derlin,” “Eldon,” “Emerson,” “Esau,” “Farris,” “Finlay,” “Flett,” “Gannon,” “Garson,” “Gatlin,” “Gervase,” “Gowan,” “Grayson,” “Greer,” “Halvard,” “Heaton,” “Jair,” ”

Here are a few uncommon females given names:

Names like Ada, Beatrice, Caleigh, Daphne, Elaina, Farah, Geneva, Hazel, Ivy, Joy, Kambree, Laurel, Magnolia, Nadine, Opal, Patience, Quinn, Ruby, Serenity, Tanya, Unique, Viviana, Willa, Xena, Yolanda, and Zoey can be found in this list.

An additional uncommon female given names:

Names like “Addison,” “Aditi,” “Adora,” “Agnes,” “Alba,” “Ariane,” “Ash,” “Bree,” “Bryelle,” “Cade,” “Cassidy,” “Davelyn,” “Hannah,” “Harrison,” “Houston,” “Jaleesa,” “Jameka,” “Josette,” “Keane,” “Kelsey,”

Here is a list of unusual last names that should help you immensely in your quest. The last names listed here are only a small selection; for a more comprehensive list, consult the mongabay link provided. These surnames account for a tiny fraction of the population of the United States—less than one-thousandth of one percent.

Rarest nicknames or family names:

To list just a few: Aikin, Baldree, Coello, Donlon, Ebbert, Firkins, Gehl, Hepp, Iser, Kelliher, Lustig, Malchow, Noggle, Orrell, Pilger, Rennick, Sax, Taube, Utsey, Vickrey, Weidler, Xie, Yop, Zehnder

You’ll concur that searching for the following sets of names is much less likely to produce incorrect results:

B. P. Aikin, Brandt

Lucius Noggle Esau Lucius

Vickrey Grayson Wylie

Olivia Agnes Rennick

A. Hannah Donlon Harrison

Kelliher, Kelsey Lauren

Remember that if you want to simplify your search inquiry, you only need one of the three (first name, middle name, or last name) to be unusual. Even if only one of the names is, unique, you will likely need additional proof of identity, like birth date or Social Security number. You’ll have a much higher chance of success if you use two of the three names known to be unusual. And since all three are uncommon, a single search will probably yield the results you need.

The foundational knowledge you must have:

1. If you’re looking for a woman who has been divorced or legally separated, remember that she may have reverted to using her maiden name. You will need alternative means of identification if you do not know their birth name. Your odds of finding her are diminished if she has remarried and adopted her new husband’s surname, mainly if her first name is familiar and her new surname is Brown, Smith, or Jones.

2. Name changes are possible under the law for both males and women. You probably won’t discover the super-clever, privacy-obsessed person you’re looking for using a people search engine.

3. You should employ a traditional private investigation firm if the target of your search is likely to have emigrated abroad. You’ll need some serious cash on hand. How much effort and money are you willing to invest? How important is it to you to find this person? Should I bother?

4. Some shady people change their names or use pseudonyms based on their location and the people they serve. These individuals typically have a criminal record in another state or country and are relocating to avoid further legal problems.

5. Changing your SSN without permission is a simple matter of following the proper procedures. Anyone with access to birth data can use that information to steal the identity of a deceased infant. Not too challenging, huh?


1. If the individual’s first, middle, and last names are prevalent, it will be difficult to conduct an effective investigation. You must do some digging to find additional proof with famous characters.

2. If you are unsure about the commonality or uniqueness of a given name, consult a name book or database. Do this BEFORE you try to look into the matter on your own through the internet. Remember that once you select a record in most web databases, YOU HAVE BOUGHT IT. Forget about getting your money back if it is the wrong person.

3. Even if you know that the person you’re searching for has been convicted of a crime and has served time, that won’t help you find them. Knowing when and where he was convicted and sentenced to jail is helpful. If you have a good description of the person, you can check their criminal history to ensure you have the correct one.

4. It’s important to note that different levels of government, including the federal, state, county, and local levels, all have distinct regulations regarding the disclosure of public records. You might have to employ a lawyer or a private investigator to find the necessary information. Make sure you give yourself enough time to gather everything you need.

5. The person may be challenging to identify even if you know all three names (like Lucius Esau Noggle) because they are smart enough to have changed their name to something entirely different, like Paul David Gray. On the other hand, it is common knowledge that when creating an alias, most individuals use the same initials. If Lucius Esau Noggle wanted to be taken more seriously, he might adopt a more well-known moniker like Larry Edward Nelson. Take note of the similarity in names. (LEN). Take advantage of this propensity. There is a high chance you have discovered Lucius Esau Noggle posing as Larry Edward Nelson if, for instance, you have other pieces of evidence that match Larry Edward Nelson, such as the same birthdate. Start your digging!

6. Keep an eye out for people who share a popular middle name with a large population. They frequently use their middle names as their first names. To avoid being mistaken for someone else, a lady with the unusual first name Agnes might go by Mary Williams, claiming she has no middle name. Alternatively, she could give herself a trendy second name and introduce herself as Mary Elizabeth Williams. That’s about as typical of a feminine American citizen as it gets.

7. Remember that forged identification documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates can be purchased on the underground market. Many people fraudulently claim the deceased’s identity by using their social security number. The only difference between then and now is how simple it is to acquire bogus documentation. You need only know how to navigate the web properly. After only a few seconds of looking, I came across a website that offered “novelty certifications.” This site makes it abundantly clear that the papers are forgeries despite their apparent authenticity. The customer assumes all risks associated with their application. I’m confident there are lots of other sites out there that function similarly. How simple is that?

8. Will you keep digging until you discover what you’re after? Pretend like you’re in a real treasure mine. If you quit up, you might find out later that you were within a foot or two of a rich vein of gold. Consider how much effort and money you must put into tracking this individual down. How urgent is it that you track down this person? How much does it mean to you? These are inquiries that only you can answer.

I hope you are successful in your quest.

Please visit my blog post on conducting a background check for more details.

Soares, John

How to Conduct a Successful Criminal Records Search.

People-Finding Tool Available Online.

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