Not everyone can be traced to their home address. If the person you are trying to find has a common name and you do not know the area which they live in, then narrowing down your search via the electoral register can seem like an impossible task.
A great alternative in these cases can be to trace them through their hobbies or interests. The internet is full of information with regards to associations, organisations and societies. However, make sure that you don’t overlook the more traditional places —if you want to cover every angle. The main library in any town or city can produce comprehensive collections of information which can assist your research. An indispensible reference source is: The Directory of British Associations (DBA).
The DBA is the most comprehensive collection of information about societies, associations and organisations in the UK. The directory contains names, addresses, web URLs and the contact details of professional, sporting, health, charitable and hobby organisations. The DBA is published by CBD Research (www.cbdresearch.com ) and you can buy a copy of the printed directory or CD ROM from the company website.
Buying a copy of the directory can work out expensive — unless you intend to refer to it frequently. For the casual user consulting a copy at the local library – free of charge – is a better option.
The memberships of these associations vary and can range from a small cluster of people with a particular interest, to thousands of people within a particular profession. Although some of these associations publish a membership list, most, because of the Data Protection Act keep their list private and do not make it available to non members.
Some organisations may be willing to confirm whether someone is a member and may even be willing to forward a postage paid letter to the address that they hold for the person — leaving it up to the person that you are trying to find to get in touch with you if they wish. It’s not a foolproof method of tracing someone but it is certainly a line of inquiry that should not be ignored.