When we sent out our 2016 annual holiday letter a few days ago, we expected that we might get a few “not deliverable” returns. Sure enough, today we did get one envelope back.
Ironically, we had received a Christmas card from this family but in our haste to hold down clutter, we threw away the envelope without double checking the return address.
Well, what to do? I went to the Internet and Google. First, I tried the WhitePages lookup. That reported an address on file, but it required a fee for the details.
Another person search website gave me another address that had seemed familiar to what I remembered from a quick glance at the card when we received it, but I wanted to check further. I used that address in the Google search window and came up with several “hits.” These included Zillow (which I was familiar with) and several other real estate listing websites. There was the property of the couple we were looking for and the last time it was sold: 2014. This date squared with what I thought I know about their movements.
Another website was VoterRecords.com. Here I found both husband and wife listed, their address, their ages, and their party affiliation. Bingo! Everything squared up.
Both types of websites rely on public records, so there was no privacy problems here.
I was now confident enough to address another envelope and resend the holiday letter to what I firmly believed to be their current address.
It’s amazing what you can learn with a little poking around on the Internet using Google.
One Caveat: Many of these websites want you to sign up for a membership with a credit card, so be careful if you don’t want to be hit with a recurring charge.