People in the United States

People Definition

A state; as, the people of the state of New York. A nation in its collective and political capacity. 4 Term R. 783. See 6 Pet. (U. S.) 467. The word “people” occurs in a policy of marine insurance. The insurer insures against “detainments of all kings, princes, and people.” He is not by this understood to insure against any promiscuous or lawless rabble which may be guilty of attacking or detaining a ship, 2 Marsh. Ins. 508. This definition of People Is based on The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary .

Finding People

A cheap way to start a “people search” is just to Google their names; you can back that up by searching one or more of the other resources in the Search Engines entry of this legal Encyclopedia.

Alternatively, you can check a telephone directory or call Directory Assistance.

If that doesn’t work, the following vendors offer databases specifically for finding people in the U.S.:

  1. Accurint. I’ve gotten good results from Accurint at reasonable prices. You need fill out forms to get approved in advance, but billing is per search.
  2. TLO, which is similar to Accurint but even cheaper.
  3. Intelius. It’s pretty cheap and pretty good, and you can charge the price to a credit card.
  4. KnowX, which also allows you to charge your search to a credit card.
  5. SmartLinx on Lexis provides good results, though the cost can be substantial unless the database is included in a flat fee contract.
  6. LocatePLUS.
  7. People Smart.
  8. PeopleSearch on Westlaw is powerful (they have an exclusive right to use Experian data) but pricey. Rather than going for a whole report upfront, you first might want to try searching for the person in the Address Search database to see if/what information is available.

Alternate Strategies: If you can qualify as a government, law enforcement or child welfare agency, you can get voting records, passport numbers, government-issued ID and other confidential information through Global Locate.

Beyond that, you can check Internet search engines and broad news databases, such as MEGANW;ALLMGA on Lexis, ALLNEWSplus on Westlaw or NewsBank (available through many public and academic library web sites); or, if you know where the person lives, you may want to check just the news for that state. If the person does something special (ex. runs a company), you can check in a specialty database (e.g., a legal news database or Martindale-Hubbell for lawyers) or search for a D&B report. Lexis has a number of Who’s Who directories.

For rich people, potentially dead people, famous people, see also the sources discussed below. To find military personnel, see “Military Records” in this legal Encyclopedia. To find people in prison, see the separate entry for “Prisons, Prisoners and Jails.”

E-Mail Directory

If you have an e-mail address and need a home address, try Infospace’s reverse e-mail directory at (see also “Email Addresses”). If you have a telephone number and need an address, try the Reverse directories listed in the entry on “Telephone Numbers.”

Canadians: I’ve been told that Canada doesn’t have a good database for finding people, largely because of national privacy legislation such as PIPEDA, the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.” I’d suggest searching Canadian news articles and telephone directories (see “Telephone Numbers”), plus putting the name into a couple of good search engines.

Potentially Dead People: To try to determine if a person has died, check obituaries (see “Obituaries”), Sysoon, TLO, Accurint, another public records database, and/or the Social Security Death Index on, which lists people who were receiving social security payments when they died. If you have the person’s social security number you could run it through the free SSN Validator. Caveat: As of March 26, 2014 the Social Security Administration has placed a three year delay on releasing death information. You can avoid the delay by working with the commercial vendors to get special certification according to procedures established by the National Technical Information Service.

Former Employees: Databases of former employees are available through Accurint and ZoomInfo. You can also search the person’s name in a good business news database and a good search engine to find references to past positions.

Maiden names: The databases listed above often tell you a woman’s maiden name. If that doesn’t work, see Places for Finding a Woman’s Maiden Name: A Checklist of 90 Sources.

Military: To locate military personnel, see “Military Records” in this Legal Encyclopedia.

Professionals: If you’re looking for a professional, check with the government agency that licenses the profession. See also the entry for that profession e.g., “Attorneys,” “Certified Public Accountants,” “Company Personnel” (for executives), “Securities Dealers”.

Rich: The leading lists of rich people are the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Forbes ‘World Billionaires and the Forbes 400 Richest People in America. See also “Famous People,” above.


See Also

  • Nation
  • Body Politic
  • Related expresions are: opium of the people, tribune of the people, the voice of the people.

Background Checks
Company Personnel
Criminal Background Checks
Date of Birth
Military Records
Search Engines
Social Security Numbers
Telephone Numbers
Vital Records

Further Reading (Articles)

NEXUS Card Expedites Border-Clearance Process, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014

Spring Clean Your Business, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014

In Conversation with Trevor Herriot, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014; Gordon, Ariel

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness to Pollsters, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014

‘Bold’ ‘Visions’ of ‘Change’ Just Won’t Do, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014; Martin, Melissa

Feeling the Market, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014; Schlesinger, Joel

Lay It on the Line When Crossing the Line or End Up Paying a Costly Fine, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014

Rock and Role, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014; King, Randall

Minister Embraces Slate of Inquest’s Urged Reforms, Winnipeg Free Press; May 24, 2014

Baby Bison Is Newest Resident of West Virginia Wildlife Center, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Regional Transportation Plan Launched, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Former Japanese Trading Executive to Lead State’s Japan Office, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

North Carolina Highway Patrol Encouraging Motorist to Slow Down during Memorial Day Weekend May 23-26, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Schmidt Publishes Revolution History of Native Americans, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Tour Schedule Announced for Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Mississippi Disaster Survivors: Check on a Contractor before You Sign, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Volunteers Needed for Ladybug Research at Monroe Lake, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Disaster Recovery Centers Closed on Memorial Day, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Ut Martin Faculty Member Steve Elliott Remembers Military Sacrifices during 14th Memorial Commemoration Event, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014

Mayor Holden Calls on Residents to Welcome Large Number of Visitors to Baton Rouge, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 24, 2014






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