Thursday, September 7, 2006

Using the Reference USA database

I was checking my local library databasel ist, and saw the Reference USA database - which is a research and reference tool available to library users. It has 14 million business listings and 120 million US household listings. I had to use my library card number to access it.

This database can be used to find:

1) People by surname, given name or middle initial
2) People by phone number or area code
3) People by address, zip code, county, state, etc.
4) Any combination of the above.

You select the search criteria, click on "Create Search Form" and then fill in the blanks of the search form.

Using this database, you can find out who lives at a specific address in a specific zip code or county - handy if you need to call somebody but you've forgotten how their name is spelled or just wonder who lives at the address now. I looked for the address of the house I grew up in - and found the name and phone number of the residents.

You can also get a listing of a given surname in a state, county or zip code. This is useful if you know the state and surname, but don't know the address or phone number.

They even have an option to find the median household income and median housing price - but this appears to be for a given zip code or census district. The housing values seem low for my area. This option also gives you latitude and longitude of the house.

I don't know how up to date it is - but it covered my brother's move in early 2005.

All in all, it's a pretty good database without all of the advertisements that you find on other commercial sites. You can purchase the lists if you choose to from Reference USA.

Check your local library databases - you may be surprised what you can find.

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