Finding people

Internet resources

There are many ways to find people via the Internet. Most require at least the person's last name, although it is often possible to find out who resides at a known address or has a known phone number (reverse searching).

It is important to remember:

  1. Internet-based directories are updated periodically, not immediately;
  2. People with unlisted phone numbers or without a phone in their name usually do not appear in Internet-based directories. Cell phone numbers are usually unlisted.
  3. It is generally difficult to find a person's e-mail address. The best way is to locate the company or institution with which they are affiliated and see if there is a directory of the staff's e-mail addresses.

Chances are that a person who cannot be found in online phone directories has no phone in his or her name, has moved recently or has an unlisted number.

If you are trying to find contact information for a business, many of these links will be helpful. For additional business directories, please check our Business research guide.

  • AnyWho
    This site includes phone numbers and addresses for people (and businesses), reverse phone number searching, area code look-up, links to international directories, maps and directions and a toll-free directory.
  • Facebook
    Have you tried searching for someone on Facebook? Depending on their privacy settings, you may not find direct contact information, but you should be able to send them a message.
  • Google
    This general search engine can sometimes locate information about a person who is not listed in the online phone directories. Use quotation marks to search for someone's name as a phrase ("Jane Doe"). You might also use Google to locate a company or organization a person works for, and possibly track them through that affiliation.
  • InfoSpace
    This valuable site searches for either businesses or people, either by name or by phone number, as well as being able to search for business by category or near a given address. It also provides some international coverage, maps and directions.
  • LinkedIn
    Use this social networking site for professional contacts to search for people or companies.
  • Reference USA (database)
    Available from home with a valid library card. As well as its extensive business listings, this database features a Residential Search for the united States and Canada. The Quick Search allows searching by name or phone, with city or state limits possible. The Custom Search also permits searching by address, street name or zip code.
  • Switchboard
    This site offers people searches by name (as well as address, category and name searching for businesses), and provides phone numbers and addresses. Area code and zip code look-ups are offered, and reverse searching is also available.
  • Yahoo! People Search
    This directory finds phone numbers, addresses and some e- mail addresses—Yahoo accounts included with their holders' permission. (It also links to the Yellow pages to locate businesses.)
  • International Phone Directories
    This site links users to phone directories in countries all over the world. It also lists the current time in each country as well as country codes and dialing information.


  • Ohio Phone Directories. Revised annually.
    These include the published (not unlisted) phone numbers for all communities in the state. Most are updated annually.
  • Cross Reference for Ohio Phone Directories
    This notebook indicates which phone directory contains a given Ohio community.
  • The Celebrity Black Book. Revised biennially. [R 920.02 CEL]
    This directory includes thousands of celebrities' addresses, including some from other countries.
  • Haines Columbus City & Suburban Criss-Cross Directory. Revised annually. [R 917.7157 HAI]
    The first section of this directory links addresses to their residents and listed phone numbers; the second section links phone numbers to names and addresses.
  • The Writers Directory edited by Miranda H. ferrara. Revised annually. [R 920 WRI]
    This directory lists writers and their addresses from all over the world.

revised January 2014