It's easy to use the internet to find lost childhood friends or relatives who haven't been heard from in a while, all you need is a working web browser and some spare time.
Before you even fire up a browser what you will want to do is spend a second thinking about the person you're trying to locate. Consider any details you can recall about their personality, such as hobbies, favorite idioms, maybe even try to remember a middle initial or where they were born. If you know their date of birth this will also come in handy on your search. You need to try to remember any specific aspects of their personality, likes, dislikes and/or quirks about the person.
After you've spent time doing that you're going to want to open up whatever web browser you prefer and head on over to google.com. Try searching for their full name, nicknames and any variation of their name that they would go by back when you knew them. You can also try adding the names of places they may have lived or worked along with their name as that occasionally will help increase the results.
If you're not finding any luck with those searches type in an old email address that they once had leaving out the domain name into the search engine. It is a regular occurrence for people to keep the same mail accounts used for accessing email, even if they've switched providers/carriers. If you find multiple people with the same name, try clicking on the sites and see if anything looks familiar. Sometimes people take their personality with them to the web, even if they try not to.
If you think that they're the type who'd have some sort of online profile at any of the numerous social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook then probably will want to check out yoName (www.yoname.com), a free search engine that polls a vast number of the big sites for profiles that resemble whatever details you can give about the lost friend (whether email address, full name or otherwise). For individuals with popular first and/or last names this may require a tiny bit of time on your part to check out all of the results, but it's very well well organized and will usually display any photos available along with the search terms to help assist you in going through the results. If you have an old cell phone number (or even landline) of theirs you can try searching for a reverse cell-phone search.
The Social Security Death Index is a database of any deaths reported to the Social Security Administration since 1962, when death records were finally entered into a computerized database. Remember though that the absence of any specific death record does not necessarily mean the lost friend is still alive. Most newspapers will also let you query their obituary sections online to see if your missing person may have shown up there.
If you suspect they may have become a part of any type of licensed or certified profession (like doctors, lawyers or accountants) you can try searching the records of local trade organizations. Most people have at least one hobby or special interest and this can be a big help to you on your search. For example, if the person you're looking for plays the banjo, search through the online listings for local bluegrass or country shows. This may result in you coming across the person's name, address, the name of the band if they're in one and hopefully even a venue where they are scheduled to appear. Perhaps the person has always wanted to become a professor or loves baseball, there are thousands of other possibilities.
If you still can't find any information on your lost friend, I hate to suggest it but you may find yourself in need of Inmate Search (www.thempamperedprisoner.com). The site is pretty basic but it includes a list of contact information for each state system for finding inmates. Not only that but it also has links to search through the listings of federal prisoners. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options for looking through all the states at once so knowing the state in which they'd be most likely incarcerated helps quicken the process.
As a last resort there are lots of pay-services on the internet that will do the search on your behalf. You can always come across these agencies pretty easily on sites like Google. If you decide to pay a missing friend service to look for the person you hope to find, be sure to understand any fine print before giving any any credit card information. You want to be positive they are a legitimate company before giving anyone personal information.
Don't give up!
Try using other search engines like Yahoo! or Bing
Remember, any little piece of information from their past can be used to help narrow down the search results
Your mother does not want you to use the internet to stalk or harass other people
Other people do not want you to stalk or harass them online, they also want you to call your mother more often