Finding a Friend
January 11, 2004 12:21 PM   Subscribe

How do you relocate a long-lost friend online? [More inside.]

This is less a "how to" question than an attempt to invoke six degrees of separation over Ask Mefi. I am trying to track down a Brian Thompson, who I met about 5 years ago through the online game Asheron's Call, where he went by Briboru. He was then: living in Kentucky, roughly in his late 30s or early 40s, interested in medieval Europe (named after the Irish king Brian Boru), loved the band Tool, immensely smart. Red hair, deep voice, bellowing laugh. I lost touch with him in 2001, when he had a falling out with his lifelong best friend, suddenly moved, and failed to reappear on the Internet afterward.

I have already:

- Called the Brian Thompsons listed in Google's phone directory for Kentucky. (No dice.)
- Googled his name. (Just the blog entry I did about this same story.)
- Checked with our mutual acquaintances. (Nobody knows.)
- Asked on the most prominent remaining Asheron's Call message board.
- Tracked down and emailed the designer of his old website ( -- only available through the Internet Archive now) to see if he kept any records of his dealings with Brian on the site. (No answer.)

Anyone have any pointers? Sucess stories to reassure me that such a thing is possible?

Don't hesitate to e-mail me with even the skimpiest leads; I'm basically chasing shadows at this point.
posted by Aaorn to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One thing you might want to try is to create a web page that lists his name (and perhaps a little info). Then make certain you link to the page so that it appears in Google results. I've passively found several people that way after they googled themselves.
posted by gluechunk at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2004

Are you sure his last name was Thompson? I found a Brian Carr whose e-mail address was, and was Irish with an interest in Irish genealogy. Other that that, not much luck.
posted by waxpancake at 12:49 PM on January 11, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, I've found Brian Carr before also -- not him, unfortunately.
posted by Aaorn at 1:01 PM on January 11, 2004

You mention an interest in medieval Europe -- was he involved in any way with the SCA? (He certainly fits the profile :-)) If so, I would be happy to check with some SCA folks in the area....

Also, do you know what he did for a living or where he went to school? A professional or alumni organization might be able to help.
posted by anastasiav at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2004

Response by poster: He never mentioned anything about the SCA. And I don't know where he went to school, though I suspect it was near to home (in KY). Most likely a History or English degree (add well-spoken to the list of traits). No idea about career =|
posted by Aaorn at 1:38 PM on January 11, 2004

You could give Friendster a shot...

You might also try posting something to Usenet (maybe or Even if nobody there knows him, it would then be in Google Groups' archive, in case he, or someone who knows him, ever searches for his name there.
posted by staggernation at 2:04 PM on January 11, 2004

Was he a programmer, graphic artist, or otherwise a creative guy? After a bit of googling, I ran across a Brian Thompson who works/worked on the Arianne CRPG project, which seems like the sort of thing that an Asheron's Call addict might do...

Search for "thompson" on this mailing list.
posted by Galvatron at 3:05 PM on January 11, 2004

I've used the same technique as gluechunk with a good deal of success. I've heard it referred to as 'reverse ego-surfing'. You might find that a little tougher with some named Brian Thompson, though.
posted by ursus_comiter at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2004

Response by poster: Clever suggestions, thanks gluechunk/staggernation/Galvatron -- I've set up a little page; Google should have it in a couple weeks, and we'll see.

Really appreciate the help. I will find some way to let you all know if it works out. (Meanwhile, I'm still telephoning hapless Brian Thompsons in other nearby states: VA, NC, TN...)
posted by Aaorn at 4:23 PM on January 11, 2004

I was persistent in googling for an old friend. She finally turned up in published notes from a meeting, so hang in there.

Meanwhile, there's an Irish-style pub in Portland, Maine called The Brian Boru. Worth a look.
posted by theora55 at 4:37 PM on January 11, 2004

Pity you're not in the UK ...


The book about FriendsReunited, which I'm currently reading and it's the one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever ploughed through.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:59 PM on January 11, 2004

I was persistent in googling for an old friend.

Same here. We just reunited last week after two years, and I just had to wait for the right web site listing her as a presenter a conference. So, persistence is key, though it sounds as though you already have that down, Aaorn!
posted by arco at 5:25 PM on January 11, 2004

Theora55: that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the name Boru. The cute red bar here in Portland.

Aaorn, setting up the page with his name is a good idea. No one can indefintely resist the urge to google themselves. He will find you.
posted by tcaleb at 7:44 PM on January 11, 2004

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