A former service created to find alumni. The page includes some statistics and the concept of operation; which may be useful for others in searching for classmates.
The initial objective of the "Find-Um" Service in 1987 was to locate only 1947-1952 members; however, in 1994 it was expanded to include 1953-1954, and in 1996 expanded again to include 1955 (partial) and later other years. During the search process, based upon actions taken by the "Find-Um", persons have been located by accident in some cases for years outside the objective. In the beginning in 1988, systems available for searching were very limited. Basically "fiche files" were used, were labor intensive and relatively unproductive; however, other methods whose scope was also limited were more successful. For example: Military Academy "registers", newspaper / magazine announcements, college lists, Overseas Brats, etc. With the availability of computerized National "White Pages" (CD ROM's) starting in 1993/4, searching was greatly simplified and much more productive, with much less cost per person - about $20.00 - and effort.
Using the names of attendees as listed in YOHI
"Yearbooks", a computer data base was established for each person who attended
High School - later grade school to locate older brothers and sisters. Twenty Six files
were then setup - one for each letter of the alphabet - and within each file each student
and faculty member was listed. Each persons individual listing included all known data
("clues") from the "Yearbooks", such as Home Town/State, year first
appeared in a yearbook and in what grade, the names of any possible relatives from the
"grade school" section of the "yearbooks", and all clues obtained from
Alumni and other YOHI documents (Newsletters, etc) - such as a married name, parents name,
military activity after school, college believed to have attended, etc. Experience has
shown names are often misspelled or for other reasons are inaccurate; however, they must
be used "as is" until later proven to be incorrect despite the fact much effort
and expense is wasted.
The "unfound" names are then used to locate and develop a data base of all possible name combinations. For example, the first name, initial of first name, abbreviation of first name, etc. etc. for each individual as found in a National Telephone "white pages" CD ROM Program called "PhoneDisk" (Select Phone, BMI, Yahoo, Switchboard and others are not as accurate) - which is published quarterly.
The current "unfound" data base consists of 564 names representing the years 1947 through part of 1955 and includes some 20,000 "possible" contacts - far more than is possible to contact. Common names like "Smith", and most female "maiden" names could not be searched for because of the obvious reasons. Unique "maiden" names however, like Pinkowsky, often produced the finding of a relative who put us in contact with the person we were looking for.
Selectively, based upon the probability of success due to a "unique" name or based upon special "clues" and other considerations, phone calls (primarily) are made or post cards sent to the possible contacts on a phased basis until a person is located, or the list exhausted - or funds and time preclude further searching. Additionally, searching included sending letters to various government agencies, colleges, universities, etc., where "clues" indicated the possibility of a "contact" being made - and were highly successful.
Only very limited searching is currently being conducted by the "Find-Um". Most "newfounds" are now discovered by YOHI'ers finding the YOHI Web Site and then contacting us. At the same time there are other alumni who are now conducting their own "Find-Um" service and finding hundreds of alumni.