Monday, October 29, 2007

"Digging up the Un-Dead" program at CVGS today

Our Chula Vista Genealogical Society program today was presented by Joan Lowrey of La Jolla, whose topic was "Digging Up the Un-Dead (Finding Living People)." Joan's biography and talk summary was provided here. We had 44 attendees (more than 50% of our membership), of which 3 were guests (two of whom also attended our 10/20 seminar).

This was an excellent program given by an excellent speaker with excellent credentials - one of the very best programs we have had. The subject is of interest to everyone who is looking for living people - distant relatives, old flames, classmates, etc.

Joan went through the different web sites with:

* Free Telephone Directories (she highlighted, the US Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002 on (need subscription to Ancestry) plus others)

* Other Free Sites (she highlighted Steve Morse's site, plus others)

* Free Sites with Fee Options (she highlighted and, among others)

* Fee Sites (she highlighted,, and among others).

In all of her work, she didn't pay a dime to find out what she showed us about her own family and several other families of interest. From bits and pieces gleaned from these web sites - all for free - she was able to find out many useful things about a person - name, spouse, children, age, address, phone number, approximate home value, neighbors, etc. You can choose to subscribe to a fee service that looks for many more items - criminal records, drivers license, court records, email address, utilities bills, etc. Of course, there are many people who don't own a home or just don't want to be found, so it isn't foolproof.

Joan also showed and summarized two articles that compared People Search fee sites - the articles are at:



Joan warned us to be careful about the recommendations at these sites, since we don't know if any of the People Search sites paid to be listed. She also warned us to be careful when using any People Search service - either free or for fee. Use of some sites may generate spam if you give them an email address or a credit card number.

Joan did a really nice job on this presentation, and it generated a lot of comments and questions.

1 comment:

sajosovic said...

"ONLINE RESOURCES for Finding Living Relatives, Part II: The Sources," by William Dollarhide

[This article by William Dollarhide is a preliminary version of his article, "The Best Internet Sites for Finding Living Relatives," which will appear in "Everton's Genealogical Helper," Vol. 61, Issue No. 5 (Sep-Oct 2007). The first part of the article appeared in the 10-16-07 issue of "Genealogy Pointers."]

Researchers have a number of good tools at their disposal for finding living relatives. Here are the top 25 People Finder websites from Everton Publisher's Best Rated Genealogy Sites:


- Google ( Free site. If the surname is fairly common, use the Advanced Search option, "with at least one of the words." Keywords might include "living," "born," "married," or "resides."

- ( Subscription site. There are more names here from recent directories and public records databases than any other place on the Internet. Non-members may search the indexes for free.

- ( Free site. The Genealogy Sleuth pages are portals to the "Find Living Relatives" websites most used by professional genealogists. There are direct links here to all of the websites listed below.


- ReferenceUSA ( Free to library patrons only. This large database of names from current directories is found at subscribing libraries only. The example here is from the Salt Lake County Library System. Check with your local library to see if they subscribe and perhaps allow home access via a library card ID.

- Telephone Directories & Locators ( Free site. An example of a portal with links to several online directories, this is a webpage sponsored by the Salt Lake County Library System. There are more of these types of sites at libraries all over the country.


- ( Free site. Free people search and much more. There are probably more names here than at any other free site. (For virtually every test name I used at all of the free sites, came back with five times the number of responses as the other sites.) But search the others as well--there will be sites where certain names appear nowhere else.

- 411.Info ( Free site. Very complete U.S. directory lookups. See also for Canadian directories.

- DA+ (Directory Assistance Plus) ( Free site. A service of InfoUSA, this public directory lookup service is very complete.

- ( Free site. The search engine for Dogpile, MetaCrawler, WebCrawler, and WebFetch, and with directory listings from SuperPages, BellSouth, and Yellow Book, this is an important stop in your directory searching.

- The Ultimate White Pages ( Free site. Featuring six different directory lookups on the same page, this site may save you time and effort.

- ( Free site. Includes White Pages, Yellow Pages, and names from the site (for fee-based extended searches).

- ( Free site. White Pages and Yellow Pages are well done at this site, with a good-sized database of names.

- ( Free site. Includes White Pages, Yellow Pages, and extended name lists from the site (for fee-based searches).


- (1-800-U.S. Search) ( Fee-based searches. Remember their TV ads back in the 1990s, "Find anyone, call Nick." The company has more than one billion names indexed from many public records, with search reports at $39.95 (and up).

- ( Fee-based searches. More than one billion names from public records. The lookup of names is free, but the results list will have only the name and city/state of residence. Fees begin at $9.95 for a one-person report with a name, address, and phone number. Extended searches cost more.

- ( Fee-based searches. For over one billion names, the index search is free, but the results list will give you only the name and city/state of residence. Searches within specific databases are priced as low as $5.95/person to $39.95 for major lookups.


- ( Subscription site. The largest directory of U.S. Public Records on the Internet, this site is a resource for business information, corporate filings, property records, deeds, mortgages, criminal and civil court filings, inmates, offenders, births, deaths, marriages, unclaimed property, professional licenses, and much more. The site is a portal to searchable databases containing billions of names. This is not a master index, but rather an identification and link to more than 38,500 public records databases where online searching for people can take place. At $4.95/month, a subscription may provide "more bang for the buck" than any other site.

- ( Free site. This site is a portal to find any county of the U.S. with real estate records online. Not all counties have these records online, but those that do can be found here from their list of all 3,146 U.S. counties. The county Assessors, Recorders, Auditors, etc., are the official repositories for recorded deeds, tax assessments, and property histories--all excellent sources for names, addresses, and phone numbers.

- ( Subscription site. Designed for private investigators, this site has the largest nationwide criminal database on the Web. Maybe your missing relative is not lost at all, just serving time. Reports here start at $39.95 to find one person.

- ( Free site. Designed for direct marketers, this site has a Free Lookups page with direct links to websites relating to the nature of places in the U.S., i.e., addresses, zip codes, area codes, sub-division maps, house numbers, street names, radius searches, carrier route searches, county maps, census maps, school district maps, city maps, U.S. placename databases, world placename databases, and much more. Another name for this site might be, "A Genealogist's Find-the-Place Toolbox."


- ( Free site. This is a portal to directory name lists online for more than 200 countries around the world. At each country, a list of directory titles is shown, and a click on a title takes you directly to the website with that online name list. Although many of the directories are in the language of the country, virtually every country has directories in English as well.

- ( Free site. At first, looks like a rip-off of because it uses the same maps and regions and it lists the countries in the same order. But a look at the directory titles reveals that the Numberway lists are often unique and not repeats of the Infobel lists, and Numberway usually contains more directories listed for a particular country. On the other hand, has directory titles not listed at Numberway. Therefore, one should use both of these world directory portal sites to see what is available online.

- ( Free site (plus fee-based details). The free portion is for a directory lookup for all of Great Britain. There are some unique databases here, such as the annual British voter lists (Electoral Rolls) for 2002-2007, which are fee-based searches. Criteria for a search requires the name of the village/town/city.

- The Phone Book (BT) ( Free site. British Telecom, now just BT, is the dominate telecommunications system in the UK. Free lookups in current telephone directories for all of Great Britain are at this site. A search requires the name of the village/town/city.

- UK ( Free membership site. This is a private directory publisher for all of Great Britain, and the enhanced name lists are very good. Searching here is also by place, but this site includes an interactive map at the search box screen, which can be very useful in finding a placename.