How Searching for People Has Changed Since the Eighties

Advancements in technology have made a huge difference to how we communicate and get in touch with people. Over a hundred years ago, if you wanted to find family or friends to chat with them, it would require a significant amount of time and effort.
In the UK, the first phone book came out in 1880. While this was monumental at the time, these days it doesn’t seem very impressive. That first phone book didn’t include any telephone numbers. Instead, it contained a list of names and addresses, 288 to be exact. You would have to give the name of the person you wanted to speak with to the operator, who would then connect you through, assuming they were listed.
Since then, we really have come a long way. The internet has made a big difference to our lives, making searching for and communicating with others quick and straightforward. Most people have a social media account, so a short search on the internet will put you in touch with family and friends.
It’s not just social media accounts that can be used to get in touch with your loved ones. Data sources exist with a wealth of information compiled out of data from the Telephone Directory, Land Registry, and Electoral Roll. Doing an electoral roll search can be a highly effective way to find someone since most people will be listed.
Of course, all of this didn’t exist as little as 30 years ago. To demonstrate just how far we have come, the following infographic by White Pages shows us how people used to find each other back in the eighties. If you compare it to now, it seems like a whole world apart.

How to find someone

Image source: Whitepages – How to find someone with the edited Electoral Roll

Before, you would have to search through your local phone book to find people. If they lived outside your area, you would have to obtain a phone book from their geographical location to get the necessary details. That’s assuming you know where they live.
Alternatively, you could visit their local council office and use Birth, Death, and Marriage records to get the latest information. Even if you did have their address, writing letters is a time-consuming process for which you have to pay each time and wait for your letter to arrive.
If you haven’t had any luck through the phone book or local council, you could always try asking around. People in the local area may have knowledge of the individual and be able to guide you in the right direction. Of course, there are no guarantees and finding the right person to speak to can take a lot of time.
Out of luck? As a last resort, you could always hire a private detective to find who you are looking for, whether it be friends or family. Of course, not everyone can afford this pricey alternative, showing you just how difficult, expensive, and lengthy a process it can be.
Nowadays, you can just use a data source to find the person you are looking for within a matter of seconds. Aren’t you glad we’ve come this far?

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