How to Find Out If Someone Changed Their Name

By Elyse James - Updated March 23, 2017

People change their names for many reasons – adoption, marriage and divorce being the most common. There are many different search tools available that can help you locate a person and determine if they have changed their name. Search engines, city directories and social networking sites are helpful tools. To begin investigating whether or not someone changed their name, you should collect as much information as you can about the person including their last known phone number, address, city and place of employment.

Just Ask

Ask the person if they have changed their name. This is the easiest, most straightforward way to get an answer to this question. However, if the person is uncomfortable discussing their name change, they might give you a false answer. This step is not possible if you are trying to locate someone you have lost touch with under their new name.

Collect Important Data

Collect all information you know about the person including a previous address, phone number or e-mail. Use search engines to input the partial information to see if this yields any useful information.

Search in the City Directory

Search by their last known name in the city directory that they lived in previously. Sometimes people will change their name but keep an existing phone number.

Search Their Work Address

Search by profession, if you know this information. It is possible to locate someone via their work address if you can contact their place of employment. Call their workplace and see what information you can gather from the staff there – other employees might be aware if someone changed their name for marriage or divorce purposes.

Go Social

Look up social networking sites and search for the person using their old name. Sometimes people list their old surnames along with their new names if they have changed their name.

Hire a Private Investigator

Hire a private detective to locate this information. As a last result, hire a detective to investigate the case – they are trained to locate missing persons and will be able to find out whether or not someone has changed their name.


People who change their name sometimes do not want to make contact with people from their past. Exercise caution when trying to find out if someone changed their name.

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.

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