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Home  California  People Search


Finding People Through The Internet-Step By Step
1. When The Person's Whereabouts Are Unknown
2. Internet Phone Books
3. Listing What You Know About The Person 
4. Search Engines
5. Special Search Engines 
6. Search Tricks

Find Also:

People With Common Last Names
People By First Name Only
Women Who Have Married Or Divorced
Old Classmates

See Also

People Search News
Articles include the latest developments, innovations and people search engines.








I. Finding People When You Don't Know Their Whereabouts
When you don't know where someone lives, look for National Directories and search for them just by name. The goal is to get their city and state so you can look for them locally.  (To find women who may have married, click here.)   

A good directory will give you the person's address, phone number or at least the city and state where the record was obtained. You may also be able to learn their profession or something else useful.  

Your first stop should be the Age lookup sites. These sites are far more comprehensive than the Internet Phone books, which omit people with unlisted numbers. Age lookup sites will help you identify the person by their name, their age and even the people they've lived with. You may also learn the city and state where the person is living now.

Search Tips For Age Lookup Sites: When looking for someone, enter their first and last name only.  Ignore the box for age, state, middle name, etc. Being too specific could cause you to miss a name because the data gatherer entered the wrong age or forgot a middle initial.

Once you get a hit, find their address or phone number through
Zabasearch or the Internet Phone Books.

To learn even more, search for them through General and Specialized Search Engines such as Google, their state, county and city homepages, their chat groups, their state bar/professional association, local newspapers, court records, etc. See also Search By Their Photos.

Still no luck? Then look for relatives in their home state, i.e. people with the same surname. Also, contact the "possible relatives" that were listed on the age lookup sites.

A relative by birth or marriage may be your yellow brick road to the person you're looking for.

Good National Directories Include

Internet Phone Directories
Search Engines (like Google and Yahoo)
Age/Birthday Records (Find Their Zip Code To Get City & State Info)
Death Records
Federal Records such as the FAA Pilot Registry, Federal Bureau Of Prisons or database of Federal Campaign Contributors
Search Engines That List Professionals such as Doctors and Lawyers (i.e. Martindale Hubble Directory)

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Finding People On The Internet

2.The Internet White Pages/People Search Sites
Don't stop with one. Try several of them for a thorough search.

You're most likely to score when you know the person's name and address or at least the city they live in. Some sites also offer reverse lookups, where you can find a person's name just from a phone number or an address.

No hits?  Try shortening the person's first name to an initial or Nick Name. This allows you to find those people (usually women) who avoid use of their full name.

For tough cases, see step three.

3. Make A List Of All You Know About The Person

A. Contact Information Such as
Their first, last and middle name (if known), nickname, city or state where they once lived, last known phone #s, address/other addresses, other phone #s, email addresses, website addresses, companies they own, names of friends or relatives and the last time you heard from or of them.

B. Other Identifiers that Make Them Unique (And Can Help Distinguish Them From Other Leads with the Same Name)
Race, gender, age, religion, former schools, hobbies, interests, languages spoken, profession, tattoos, birthmarks, unusual features, disabilities (blind, deaf, bi-polar...), certifications/degrees, fraternity/sorority/other affiliations, etc.  Even if you know almost nothing, put it down anyway. The Internet is teeming with information and anything might prove useful later on.

For example, I found an ex-girlfriend of 9 years back knowing only she spoke Russian and once lived in Ohio.

Putting her name in quotes, I combed the major search engines and found a letter she once sent to a Russian newspaper.  This letter gave me the city and state she currently lived in. With this information, it was easy to find the home page of her city government and also to look up their local court records.

Sure enough, my ex-girlfriend had gotten a traffic ticket back in 1989. This ticket proved invaluable as it listed her name, address, age and telephone number. Although she obviously didn't live there anymore, it was still worth looking into.  Through a reverse search on the phone number, I found her father, who after 12 years was still living at the same address! I called him and got her number.

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4. Use The Big Search Engines ie GOOGLE, YAHOO, Etc.
 Start with Google first. Do a search with the person's name in quotes i.e. "Jon Doe" or "Carol Smith".  Also try their last name first i.e. "Smith, Carol".

For a thorough search, try other variations such as using their middle name.

For example, you could get different hits with:

"John Smith"
"John L Smith"
"John Lewis Smith"
"John Smith, L"
"John Smith, L" Atlanta
John Smith (No Quotes) (for hits with spouse i.e. John and Mary Smith)

To refine your search, add the person's city or state (if known) or add other terms.  For example.  If your friend speaks Russian, try "Jon Doe" Russian. If you know Jon was once in the Army, try "Jon Doe" army.

With unusual or rare first/last names, try leaving off the  name that's common.  This is a good thing to do especially when searching for a woman who may have married or stopped using her maiden name.

Don't forget to search by Nick Name. For example, "Elizabeth" might be found under "Libby", "Richard" under "Dick", etc.

Once you get to a desired web page, find the name quickly through a mini-search. On your keyboard, hold down the control key and the letter "F". When the search screen appears, type the one word you're looking for and click Find Next. Click "Find Next" again to go further down the page where that word appears again.

See Googling People By Their Address, Phone # or Email

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5. Use Specialized Search Engines.
Search engines abound to locate, Regular People, Military Personnel, Classmates, Doctors, Birth Parents, Genealogies, Lawyers, Veterans, Smokers, etc. They are also good for tracing people through their Chat Groups, clubs & associations.

Never forget to search the home page of the city and county government where the person once lived. There you will find access to local information such as court records, marriages, births, deaths, clubs and community news. 

Have an address with a bad phone #? Use reverse lookups (address or phone) to get the names or phone numbers of the person's neighbors. Then call them for more information.

Also checkout the county tax assessor, which sometimes lists the names and addresses of property owners within its jurisdiction. To locate this agency via GOOGLE, plug in the terms  "X county" "Tax assessor".

 To find more information, do a word search in the local newspapers and/or check out the homepage of the local library.

On line local papers are truly an invaluable source.  Papers in small towns will publish anything, including obituaries, letters to the editor and local events missed by other search engines. You may learn your subject got married, or rescued a cat from a tree or became a school teacher.  Even if you can't find the person you're looking for, perhaps you'll find one of their friends or relatives who can point you in the right direction. And don't forget to use your search tricks.

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Search Tricks
.Find Names in The Internet Phone Books, See Step Two.
.In Search Engines, Put first and last name in Quotes i.e. "John Doe".
.Narrow searches by adding new terms.
.Look for city and county local websites.
.Find Specialized Search Engines.
.Comb The Local Newspapers.
.Search for words within a website or document via "Control F".
.See the Search Tool Chart For How To Work Each Search  

To find prior versions of a website that has changed or is gone,
Use the Google Cache feature below your Google return.


Plug the web address into the Way Back Machine by entering the website URL in the search box and hitting "take me back". This works great when you're searching for a person or thing that is no longer listed, but present on earlier versions of the site. Click Here For prior snapshots of

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Finding City & County Governments

Using the Major Search Engines
type in Quotes "City of X" or "City of Y"
For counties, type in "County of X" or "County of Y".

If the search engine pulls up more than one state, you can always make your search more specific.

i.e.  "City of Miami, Florida" or
       "County of Suffolk, New York"

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The Control F Function

Use shortcuts to instantly find terms within websites, large documents and attachments.

For PDF (Adobe files), you can search for words by clicking on the Binoculars Icon found at the top of the page.

Use "Control F" to search within Websites emails, Word, Excel or PowerPoint: 

  1. You must be on the screen of what you want to search;
  2. Left click on a blank space at the top of the screen or document (where there are no links);
  3. While holding down the "Ctrl" button on your keyboard, press the letter "F";
    >>>A Gray Search Box will appear.
  4. Type in one term (make sure there no spaces before or after such);
  5. Click "next";
    >>>Your cursor will move to the first point where the term appears.
  6. Click "next" again and again to search for other instances;
    (In Excel, you must repeat steps 1-6 in each tab you wish to search.)
  7. For best results, search for words in their simplest form.

Example: A search for "Cat" will also find "Cats" but not vice versa.
But a search for "Company" will not find "Companies" (spelling change).

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Control F Troubleshooting
If your search term wasn’t found,
Did you: