Click on the link below (Click here to download & Use links) to learn about several types of free and fee based online diligent searching resources.
Note: Links are embedded within the document to take you directly to these sites.
After you have gathered some names, start your searching!
Try some or all of the following; some have a fee, most are free.
People Search (Free)
This is our Connect Our Kids search engine that’s easy to use and
has instant results. People Search quickly finds contact information
for more than 3 billion people, and it’s absolutely free! Put in
as much information as you have for best results. Hint: to get the
most accurate searches add a relative or a connection's name
to the person you are searching under the “Add Relationship”,
and keep trying different relative & connection names until it yields
the accurate results you need. If you still don’t get results, try
supplementing with other search engines and/or search again
later. New information is always being updated.
US Phone Book (Free)
Good for locating current phone numbers, email addresses, and
Ancestry.com (Paid Membership)
Ancestry can be a good resource, but only if you are finding docu-
ments to support your research. If the information you find is from
personal family trees or stories, then you may not be looking at
accurate information. Also try Genealogy Bank, FamilySearch, etc.
Family Search has a free membership, Genealogy bank often wants
you to sign up for membership, but sometimes they will give you lit-
tle tidbits, as with most Genealogy websites. Creating a family tree is
a fun task to do with your kiddos! VERY IMPORTANT...since children
are minors and their information is confidential go into settings and
make any trees created private while also preventing others from
finding it in searches.
Newspapers.com (Free if you have Ancestry.com)
The most important thing to understand about Newspapers.com
is that they do not have every single newspaper in their database.
They have A LOT, but not all. Searching the newspapers can be time
consuming and results may not appear unless you find a s earch
term that pops a result. To narrow your search you can put your
“search term” in parenthesis, but sometimes narrowing the results
leaves out important results.
Search Obituaries (Some Free)
Obituaries are enormously helpful! Look for free obits first.
You can find these o n Find-a-Grave sometimes, Legacy ( https://
www.legacy.com/), (they might want you to pay for obits, but the
fee is affordable), newspapers.com and google. Get creative when
googling, for example: if you are looking for a parent’s name and
you only have the child’s name, google “survived by Jane Doe.”
Obits can be great for filling in the pieces of the puzzle with rel-
ative names (spouse’s name) and sometimes where they lived (at
the time the obit was printed).
Find-a-grave.com can help if you have a birth date and want a death
date or if you have a death date and want a birth date. Some results
include obituaries, which can be enormously helpful. But, again, Find-
a-grave is a work in progress and the work is achieved by volunteers
who visit cemeteries and add photos and information to the website.
Lexis Nexis/ Accurint Search (Paid Membership)
Start by searching people’s names that are related to child (usually bio
parents) by doing a “Person Search”. If you know more information
about the person you can do an “Advanced Person Search”. If you have
a SSN that is the best way to search. From either the “Person Search”
or “Advanced Person Search” pick which result seems to fit who
you are looking for and do a “Contact Card Report” and a “Relative,
Neighbors, & Associate Report”, PRINT these reports and/or save as
a PDF for future use (it will charge you if you run the reports again).
*If you have a Family Connections account with Connect Our Kids
you can download your results directly into Family Connections.
Accurint will create a Lexis Nexis ID for people searched; document
the person’s Lexis Nexis ID, that way once you confirm that it is the
correct person you can run more searches using the Lexis Nexis ID.
*If other tools/resources end up proving that the person you ran
Lexis Nexis reports on was NOT the correct person run another
Contact Card Report and a Relative, Neighbors & Associate report
with new information.
Whitepages.com (Paid Membership)
Use Whitepages only after you have found a name, DOB and location
of the person for whom you are looking. Whitepages can have great
information, but sometimes you need to know specifically where the
person is living in order for a result to appear, or you need to know
who their relatives are to know if you have a good match. You may
need to use an Assessor Search to find out if the address you find is
a good current address.
Be creative. Sometimes you will yield results with very specific search-
ing, other times a more general search is best. Also, get creative with
what you want, try things like, “John Doe, legal documents.”
Try other search engines, sometimes different search engines give
Bing: https://www.bing.com/ (Free)
Yahoo: https://www.yahoo.com/?guccounter=1 (Free)
Dogpile: https://www.dogpile.com/ (Free)
Use these websites for what they can give you for free. Often, they
will give relatives names, sometimes DOB and addresses for free.
Do not pay for information from these sites, it tends to be sold as
“current” but can be up to 10 years old and not very helpful
Truth Finder: https://www.truthfinder.com/
Zaba Search: https://www.zabasearch.com/
Most of the above sites listed have limited free information so they
will try to get you to pay.
Social Media (Free)
Can be useful depending on privacy settings. *Refer to your organi-
zation for rules on social media accounts.
Searches by State
Washington Digital Archives (Free)
Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Death/Cemetery Records/Recorded Agree-
ments/Naturalization Records/Auditor Misc/Census/Institution/
Land Records/Military/Oath of Office/Professional Licenses
*Great free resource, but some records can be ordered for a cost
WA Court Search (Free)
Some Court records are available online – mostly Pierce County.
These records can be helpful in finding relatives. A lot can be learned
for free, but public records can be purchased.
sor-and-treasurer-websites. Property records
Who is the taxpayer? Is the person you are looking for the owner
or a renter.
Washington Death Certificates (Free)
Anyone can order a death certificate in WA.
You can learn, full name, parent’s names/ DOB, DOD, Informant name,
cause of death
Check to see if other states have a Digital Archives database
Check other States for a Court Search. Some have statewide
searching available, while others can only be searched in specific
counties. Some states call their counties parishes, boroughs etc, so
sometimes you have to find out what a county is called in a specific
State in order to be able to do research there. You will find a variety
of information, some is very basic, while some places provide links
to legal docs. Again, you will have to find out what the counties are
called in order to do an Assessor Search.
Different States have different laws regarding Death Certificates.
Some States have a central place to request Death Certificates,
while others require you to contact the County where the death
When you find a new online resource, Share It with
Karen Coates at [email protected].
We love to hear about new good search resources!
* All information found on these sites (except Accurint, where
you must be approved for an account) is public, nothing legally
restricts you from having it. Treat all information with respect
and follow your agency’s guidelines for handling data.