How do I Find Out if My Friend Died?

If you've lost touch with an old friend, and he or she doesn't seem to be popping up on any of the usual social networking sites, you may suspect something has gone awry. So how do you find out if that person is still among the living?

The Internet can be helpful for researching people you know.


Get together all the information you have on the person, making sure you have the correct spelling of the name, middle names, family's names, and school and college attended. Don't worry if you can't gather all this information, but it will make your task easier.


Search the obituary pages of local and national newspapers online. Knowing the area where the person lived will be a help in this, especially if he or she has a common name.

Public Records

Research public records. Looking online and using a service such as Vital or Zabasearch you should be able to look through obituaries, census records and death certificates. Generally this information will be free, although sometimes you will have to pay a fee.

Find a Grave

Find a Grave is an online resource that allows you to look up many gravestones from around the world. In addition it includes a database of cemetery records. You can search by surname or cemetery. This might sound grisly, but it may be the best way to find out for sure.