Anonymous but thorough public records search?
June 11, 2007 1:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good free public records site.

I'm trying to track someone down, and have had only minimal luck. Quite a bit of searching has revealed that she is alive, and possibly where she is living/working. A few public records sites have yielded results that could be what I'm looking for, but I don't want to pay for something that doesn't pan out. has one free result that includes a "possible employment/business association" that pretty much guarantees I have found the right person. If the same information can be found free of charge somewhere online, then of course I'd like to do that.

I would rather not have my name/personal information associated with this search. Since it's so easy to search for other people, I imagine it's possible to find out who has searched for YOU. Does anyone know?

I appreciate any suggestions!
posted by l8erm8 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry, make that
posted by l8erm8 at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2007

Zabasearch is a pretty good free people search.
posted by box at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2007

I have always liked they have links to states, then by city or county. This works well for me, but I know right where the individual *claims* to be.
posted by TheDukeofLancaster at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2007

Strike that, I just looked and they appear to have become a paysite.
posted by TheDukeofLancaster at 1:27 PM on June 11, 2007

AFAIK, all of these sites just scour freely available public sources.

You don't mention your target area, but there are many states and localities that maintain internet-accessible databases that can be used to track people down.

For instance, in Maryland we have:
Judicial Case Search
Real Estate Records
The Washington Post (allows searching by name)

If they've ever had a traffic ticket in the state of Maryland (or purchased a house) they'll be in there. I'm sure if you check your target area there's likely to be something similar. The Google led me to these examples.
posted by EmptyK at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2007

Response by poster: If it helps, I'm looking in the San Francisco, CA area. This is only the most recent residence, though; this person has lived internationally fairly recently, which may make this a little more challenging.
posted by l8erm8 at 1:33 PM on June 11, 2007

Mod note: removed the "let me borrow your password" part of this, please don't do that here
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:26 PM on June 11, 2007

Response by poster: Fair enough - it does sound a bit creepy.

The woman in question is a close family friend who disappeared a couple of years ago, likely (from very brief contact) against her will. I have no idea what the surrounding situation is, but don't want to "get her in trouble," if that's a possibility. I want to know that (if) she's okay, but I won't be hanging around her house in dark glasses.
posted by l8erm8 at 3:36 PM on June 11, 2007

If she's a close family friend, why would you care if she finds out you are looking for her? It seems that if you really wanted to find her, you'd want her to know you are looking.
posted by GIRLesq at 4:44 PM on June 11, 2007

Also, how will public records let you know she is okay? You already know she is alive, what more could public records show?

And it's a more than a little suspicious that this is your only question ever.

I smell foul play.
posted by GIRLesq at 4:55 PM on June 11, 2007

Intellius is my weapon of choice.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:53 PM on June 11, 2007

Response by poster: This may not have been the best thought-out question, and I apologize for that, as I seem to have struck a nerve (understandably).

The to be anonymous is both general online cautiousness and the desire to avoid surprising the woman I am trying to get back in touch with without being able to talk to her about it right away. If I can find a phone number for her, I will call it once. If she wants to be in contact, that's wonderful. If she doesn't, that's fine - it is possible that the changes in her life are for just about any reason. My worries could be unfounded, but I would like to find out.

To address some of the concerns above - Hades, I am a woman also, if that makes a difference. And please note my join date...I just haven't felt the urge to ask or answer until now, but I've read regularly for a couple of years.

Thanks to those of you who have posted suggestions. I will probably just try a pay site for a phone number...I'm probably being silly about the privacy - I've just never dealt with anything like this before.

posted by l8erm8 at 9:54 PM on June 11, 2007

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