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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Can You Help Me Figure Out Who This Person Is?

The lady on the phone asked, “Can you help me? I got a Christmas card, I can’t read the signature, and I don’t recognize the return address. I tore off the label and my dog ate it. All I can remember was her first name was Ruth, and she lived on [names changed to insure privacy] Clinton Avenue in Paddle, Oklahoma. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t figure out who this person is.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff was not sure if they could find the answer to this woman’s question.

We began our online search, at Using the reverse address search, we typed in the street name, city, and state. There was only one Ruth living on Clinton Avenue in Paddle. Our patron was still confused as why she would be getting a card from her. Our staff said the site gives approximate ages and the names of household members, including a man’s unusual name which was familiar to our patron. We also gave the caller some of the other information listed on the site; mentioning a middle name and a maiden name. Now, the card sender was sounding more familiar. Our caller went and got the card to reexamine the almost illegible signature. She happily realized that the card had been addressed and labeled by the out-of-state daughter of a close friend who has Parkinson’s disease

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