22 People Search

We discuss several different ways to find out information about people through their Web presence.

Class held on 11/25/2009. (student notes; possible questions).

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
  2. Go through diagram explaining the tools we'll be looking at today
  3. Work on exercises (twitter)

At beginning of class

People search

  1. This problem has applicability to many areas
    • Just trying to find a person's address or phone number
    • Background checks (including criminal checks)
    • Finding missing persons
    • Ancestry (including obituary searches)
  2. A very frustrating, confusing topic
  3. Monetary interests have really infiltrated this set of tools
    • Lots of Web site purchases (industry consolidation)
    • Lots of pay-for-results

People search engines

General people search

  1. WhoZat (review)
  2. Pipl (about) — can search by name, email, username (screenname), and phone; emphasizes that it searches the Deep Web.
  3. ZoomInfo (advanced search, help) — find people or companies
  4. Spock (people search on the web, blogs, social networks)
  5. iSearch (review) — can search by name, phone, email, and username (screenname)
  6. Whoozy (review) —- searches the Web and social networks

White page directories

  1. 411 Locate — many different search tools:
  2. WhitePages — lots of different search tools:
    • people & business search
    • reverse phone & address
    • find area codes, zip codes
    • neighborhood search (find the names of people who live near an address)
    • search for an email address
  3. AnyWho — people search, reverse phone
  4. ZabaSearch (advanced search, review) — search by name or by phone number.

Social site search

  1. Wink — people search, phone number; will not only look for the specified name but similar names (i.e. Ted Kennedy, Theodore Kennedy…)
  2. 123people — people search (review, review)
  3. PeekYou — people search, username search
  4. The Internet Address Book — "Find, manage and discover internet addresses worldwide"
  5. Spokeo — good for searching social networking sites; most of the results require that you pay a fee.

Use public records

  1. Public Record Finder — this uses Intelius (like so many that I don't list here) so it shows partial results and then wants you to pay.
  2. Criminal Searches


  1. Birthday Database
  2. FaceSaerch (yes, that's the right spelling!) — search for faces
  3. Namepedia — "world's largest information platform and community about personal names. Data is collected about names of all languages and cultures…" (review)
  4. PrivateEye — find maiden names, possible relatives, and roommates
  5. User Name Check — searches for a specific user name at a number of social sites (around 70 in late 2009); it tells you that the username is either available or not at each of the sites.
  6. InfoBel — international people search using white pages

Obituary search

  1. Social Security Death Index (ancestry.com) (1875-current, US Social Security numbers)
  2. Obituary Daily Times search
  3. National Obituary Archive (obituaries, memorials, funeral homes)
  4. Obituary Central (obituaries, cemetary searches)
  5. NY Times Obituaries

Ancestry information

  1. YourFamily (finding ancestors and lost relatives)
  2. Family Search (online birth, marriage, death, census, church, and other indices; run by Mormon Church)

General Web search

  1. Google (people search, reverse phone #)
    • Searching phone numbers (details)
      • phonebook
      • Doesn't find cell phone numbers
    • Searching names
      • "full name" location
      • "full name" company
  2. Yahoo People search (people search, reverse phone #, email search)


  1. People search engines: The newest web privacy threat (PC Advisor, March 14, 2009)
  2. 25 free people search engines to find anyone
  3. Ten Ways you can find Phone Numbers on the Web (about.com)
  4. Top Ten Ways to do a free people search on the Web (about.com)
  5. Fifteen People Search Engines (about.com)
  6. How to find someone online (about.com)
  7. 4 people search engines: Looking for someone online
  8. iSearch
  9. 123people searches the social web
  10. Facesaerch: search for people's faces
  11. Namepedia (review): the name database
  12. Yasni (review): people search
  13. Google, Yahoo, Ask, Cluuz
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