Finding People For Free With Help From The U.S. Post Office
Finding People Free Post Office Search
Some of our more experienced investigators at OmniTrace (we mean our old guys! 😀 ) were finding people and lost birth family members long before the Internet was around. They used some great, free people finding resources that are now, unfortunately, very much overlooked and underused.
The United States Post Office is one of the best resources for finding people for free. In many instances, when beginning your people search, you will have an old address of the person you are trying to find. This old address might be:
- The old address of your best friend’s parents when you were in high school together.
- The old address of a friend you used to keep in touch with by regular mail.
- The old address where your birth mother resided when you were given up for adoption.
- The old address of the adopting parents before your child was given up for adoption.
- The address of a debtor from where they once made scheduled payments.
- The address that a prospective date gave you while out at a club.
- The address provided to you by an old military buddy when your military service was completed.
Are we overdoing our examples? Are you catching our drift here? Okay we are moving on now! 😉
When you send a letter to an old address and it comes back undeliverable, that’s where your people finding adventure really begins. So, make sure you take the important step of sending a letter to any old address you have on the subject before you move on to other people finding methods–no matter how old the address might be!
[Please note: One reason we instruct you to send a letter, no matter how old the address might be, is that your letter may be received by someone currently at the address who knows the subject (e.g., the current resident may have purchased the property from the subject or they may have been a former neighbor or they might be a relative).]
Before sending your letter, make sure you write “Address Service Requested” on the outside of the envelope. That way, the post office will forward your letter if a forwarding address exists. The post office will also send you the new address.
(You should place the “Address Service Requested” directly underneath your return address or to the left of the postage stamp or underneath the postage stamp.) So many choices!
If your letter is returned by the post office, there might not have been a forwarding address or the forwarding address was simply too old and no longer on record.
The post office will typically let you know the reason your letter wasn’t forwarded (you’ll find this on the outside of the returned envelope). Some undeliverable messages you might receive are: “Attempted, Not Known” or “Moved, Left No Address.” These simply mean that no forwarding address was left by the subject.
You might receive a message such as: “Refused.” This just means that your letter was refused by the current resident.
You might receive a messages such as: “Insufficient Address, or “No Such Street,” or “No Such Street Number.” In these instances, try calling directory assistance (please read our post: Find People With Directory Assistance) and ask for an address verification. Or, call the post office in the town where you sent your letter and ask for assistance. Perhaps a street has been renamed or a number for a particular address has changed. Also, a postal carrier may know the current and prior residents of a particular address and provide you valuable people finding information (such as when the subject moved or employement information on the subject).
Finally, if the address where you are mailing is a Post Office Box, the postmaster will provide you with the physical address of the renter of the box if it is used for business purposes.
We hope this post gives you some insight on how the United States Post Office can be a great resource for finding people for free.
Please write us if you have any questions!