Adrian Beney's FAQs | FAQs

Note that all of these FAQs date from before the implementation of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EU) Directive. They shold not be relied upon in 2015 or later. But they do provide a bit of interesting historic detail, and some of them are still up to date.

Section: Alumni Databases

How do you find Missing Alumni?


You can use a number of ways of finding lost alumni, as follows:

  • An on line database of lost alumni. Durham's is searchable by year, college and course, so people are most likely to find the people they know. It's at
  • Publishing lists of lost alumni, the more targetted the better.
  • Writing to people known to be peers of the lost people; eg writing to all known students of a department with a list of people lost from their year.
  • Writing to people who know people who are lost. We used relationship information to email everyone for whom we had an e-mail address who knew someone who was lost. The email contained a link to a web page from where new information about the missing person could be submitted. You can see a dummy record here After ten days 428 of the 3,423 records had been visited, and over 300 alumni found.
  • Advertise in magazines like Good Housekeeping and Saga Magazine that you are looking for lost alumni
  • Use professional directories; some are on the web, some not.
  • Anglican Clergy in Great Britain, Ireland and continental Europe can be found using Crockford's clerical directory.
  • Are there unique words which relate to your institution? eg Cantab for Cambridge. Use those in Google along with the surname of lost alumi
  • Use FAME to query director's first name, middle initial, surname and date of birth. How many people can there be who share all those attributes. Admittedly this is more likely if the missing person's name is Beney than Smith, but you would be surprised. Most University libraries have access to FAME.
  • University Libraries also often have access to Lexis Nexis and Gale Thomson's press cuttings guides. If there's someone you suspect may be the missing person you are looking for, but you're not sure it's your alum, then these can be really useful, since many many articles there are mini-biographies and interviews.
  • Many staff stay in touch with students from their departments. Ask them to help too.
  • Use Friends Reunited and other similar non UK services.

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