A couple of years ago, we were contacted by an old school friend, inviting us to a school reunion. Once over the initial shock of somebody remembering us from school, we were flattered by the invite. Then it dawned on us that they were probably only contacting us as a private investigator, in a bid to help them track down all our old school chums (no idea why we used the word “chums” – our school was as far removed from Enid Blyton or Billy Bunter as you could get).
But we digress.
Tracing people is one of the things we do as an private investigator. People contact us for a variety of reasons: they want to trace a long-lost relative; they are looking for a landlord who has run off with their deposit; they are trying to locate their birth parent; they want to get back in touch with an old flame or perhaps a family member has run away or disappeared and they are concerned for their safety. We’ve found people in all of these situations, and many more besides.
A Private Investigator’s Toolbox
The private investigator’s toolbox is increasingly sophisticated. Technology has made our investigations easier and quicker in many respects. Take the search for a long-lost relative as an example. When we first started out in this business, we spent many a happy hour waiting in St Catherine’s House for a copy of a birth certificate or to check a marriage entry in the registers. Now we can do that at the click of a mouse.
You might think this makes tracing people a piece of cake for a private investigator. But it doesn’t. It helps, but you still need to apply knowledge, experience and good old-fashioned powers of investigation to achieve a successful outcome.
Back to our school reunion. Between us, and some of our friends who had stayed in the area, we managed to trace most of our school year. No mean feat considering there were about 120 of us, now scattered all over the globe.
The more difficult people to trace were left to us. In these cases, technology helped us, but it also involved a lot of man hours, phone calls, visits to public libraries, false leads, emails, consulting of electoral rolls and actually talking to people.
A Private Investigator and a Detective
Finding missing people can be a challenge to any private investigator. But it’s also a chance to be a good detective and use all the skills and experience we have honed over the years. And the rewards speak for themselves when we are able to bring friends and families together.
As for our school reunion – after all the (untrue) “You haven’t changed a bit” comments and the more frequent “Who are you?” questions, it was fun. Mind you, the lanky boy from 4B was still quite scary…