How to Search for People on the Web.

There are two problems that come up when searching for a name. Either you get no addresses or you get too many.

If you get no addresses, try to remember

Search for these people, and, when you get a hit, ask for help in locating the person you were originally looking for.

Most of the time when you search for someone, the problem you run into is that you get more names and addresses than you can deal with effectively. Then you need to narrow the search in order to eliminate almost all of the addresses. Simple clues can narrow down the leads, so scavenge your memory and old address books for such details as:

Below is a list of sites that help you search for people.

Some sites will search only one state at a time; others will search all states at once.

Some sites do nothing but send your request to 1, 2, ..., or 10 other sites.

Most sites are completely free.

Some sites (USSEARCH and KNOWX) charge a fee to obtain all the information they have. However they still offer partial information for free, and that partial information can be very helpful in narrowing a search. In particular, USSEARCH gives the age of the people it finds along with their town/state of residence. You can use the age info to eliminate many names and then search on other sites for the remaining names in their respective towns and states.

In the past you could not get any information at all from USSEARCH if you went directly to their website unless you paid a fee in advance. (That may no longer be true.) The trick is to go to another site, perform a search, and when that fails, go to USSEARCH. For example:

  1. Go to switchboard.com, perform a search, and when that fails, then click on "public records search".
  2. Go to yahoo.com, perform a search, and when that fails, then click on "people search".

In both cases you will end up at a page in USSEARCH where you can request a search and receive back a listing of names along with the town/state of residence and the age of each of most of the people listed. The crucial information missing, of course, is street address and phone number.

Finally, sometimes ussearch will not perform a search because it is too busy, or it may say that it performs only 10 free searches per day.

Last updated November 18, 2002.