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Q: Finding Background Infomation on people. ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Finding Background Infomation on people.
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: nospoon-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2002 22:58 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2002 22:58 PST
Question ID: 100974
I have seen many web sites were you pay for for background information
on people. With prices ranging from $15 for Bankruptcies, Small Claims
fillings and current address. Up to $100 for relatives, roomates,
chriminal cases and such. My question is were do these web sites get
their information from? I would imagine there is a publicaly available
way to do this trough state and federal web sites / 1-800 numbers. I
have a few people from High School I want to look up and I dont want
to pay the 15 bucks each time.

(at the last second I changed the price from $15 to $20 so please
excuse the poor spelling :)
Subject: Re: Finding Background Infomation on people.
Answered By: larre-ga on 07 Nov 2002 00:35 PST
Thanks for asking!

The "Find Anything About Anybody" (I'll call them FAAA's) websites
that offer general background information obtain most of their data
from public records. However, more and more public record publishers
do charge for the information, either in bulk, or by the individual
record. The FAAA's buy the data in bulk, most often in the form of
data CD-ROMs that  might cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000. The FAAA's
also copy free public domain data into their own database. They charge
subscription rates to use this data, or price the searches
individually. Their end product is a combination of data from numerous
sources. Most of the FAAA's do not guarantee that you'll be able to
locate authentic, verifiable records, only that you'll be allowed
access to their databases for a specified period or for a certain
number of searches, successful or not.

Free databases of public records vary greatly from state to state,
county to county, and city to city. Public funding is usually the
determining factor. Public record keepers are allowed to charge
processing costs for data access, and in some cases, these charges may
amount to a substantial revenue source for those entities.

In many instances, free databases can provide miscellaneous data about
individuals, however that data is usually fragmented, without
connection to the past or future. For example, you might discover an
address used for nine months in 1992, but no forwarding address
whatsoever. While such fragments are a part of the picture, it's
seldom possible to obtain a continuous or current set of information.

That said, there are free online resources available to aide your
search. Most of the state, county and city websites you'll be able to
visit via these collections will provide telephone numbers, though
they are often only tollfree to state residents.

Online Databases

Personal Property - locate assessed values, owners, and other property
data through this excellent referral database maintained by the
University of Virginia. Most of the links direct you to County
Assessors offices by state, however, you won't find every county to
have records available.

University of Virginia
Online Assessors

SearchSystems Net claims to be the largest collection of free public
records available online. Many of the sources are the same as those
listed above, however there are some alternates.
Public Records

State and Local Government on the Net - a Directory of State, County
and City websites.

State and Local Government

Tax makes available limited free access to property data
in New Jersey and Maryland, as well as in Montgomery and Delaware
counties of Pennsylvania and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Search by owner name, address, sale amount, and other criteria. The
search interface can be intimidating to beginners.


A people-finding guide is available free by fax or mail from The
Tyburski Files, published by Law Office Computing. The guide is titled
Reach Out and Find Someone. Description and instructions for ordering
are in the list on the right hand side of the page, fifth item in the

The Virtual Chase
Requesting Articles Genealogy Guide offers a special Directory section entitled:
Finding People - Lost Family and Friends. You'll find a list of both
free and fee databases, and helpful people finding tips. This site is
pop-up heavy, but the listing is valuable enough to make it
worthwhile. Two pages of reviewed links.
Finding People - Lost Family and Friends

In addition to the general people finding databases, you might also
investigate Registration is required, and many
services are fee based, however, you can search your school and class
for connections. I've used and located a number of
classmates from both high school and college, including my favorite
high school boyfriend (yes, I'm female, despite the name) that I'd
lost track of 30 years ago. I had to join in order to send and receive
messages, but I've re-established some valuable friendships. Certainly
worth the single year's membership fee to me, in that respect. I'd
guess that the success rate you'd find with would
depend greatly upon your age, but it doesn't cost anything to simply
register yourself (so others can find you) and browse through the

Background Information

SearchEngine Watch, a highly respected Internet Search resource,
provides a general guide to personal data availability entitled:

The Truth About Big Brother Databases


My search strategy included research bookmarks, and the following
Google Search Terms:
"people finding" search techniques OR databases.

Should you have questions about the material or links provided,
please, feel free to ask. Best of luck in locating your classmates.

There are no comments at this time.

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