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.
  • AtoZdatabases (database)
    In addition to providing an extensive directory of businesses and healthcare professionals, this site allows searching of residents and business executives by name or phone number. Available from home with a valid library card.
  • 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.
  • LinkedIn
    Use this social networking site for professional contacts to search for people or companies.
  • Reference USA (database)
    As well as its extensive business listings, this database features a U.S. Standard White Pages search. The Quick Search allows searching by name or phone, with city or state limits possible. The Advanced Search also permits searching by address, street name or ZIP code. Available from home with a valid library card.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Public records searching

Many government agencies now make public records available online in searchable databases. Use these resources to find local information such as Franklin County court cases, Columbus police report records and state of Ohio sex offenders, as well as national information such as inmates incarcerated in the federal prison system. Note: This database contains basic information only. You may request official police reports from the Records Section of the Columbus Division of Police.

  • Case Information Online
    The Case Information Online (CIO) System was created and is maintained by the Franklin County Clerk of Courts and the Franklin County Data Center, and offers public record information for Franklin County civil, criminal, domestic relations (divorce), and appeals cases (excluding probate and juvenile cases).
  • CASE Network Records Search
    The Franklin County Municipal Courts provides this searchable database of public records for Franklin County civil cases, collections, misdemeanors and traffic violations.
  • Check Columbus Police reports
    The Columbus Division of Police allows you to search and browse police reports by report number, name of the victim, or location, date and crime type.
  • Find an Inmate
    The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides this searchable database of anyone incarcerated in a federal prison any time since 1982.
  • Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Offender Search
    This site provides data on offenders who are currently incarcerated in an Ohio prison, currently under supervision, judicially released, or who died of natural causes while incarcerated.
  • State of Ohio Sex Offender Registry
    The Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers this site, which allows you to enter any local address to view a list of all registered Ohio sex offenders living within a one-mile radius within the boundaries of your county. It will also allow you to search and view information about a particular sex offender registered in the state of Ohio.


  • Alumni Directory. 2011. [R 371.8 WOR]
    This directory features addresses and phone numbers, when available, for graduates of Worthington Schools, from 1880 to 2010.
  • 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 (OWL)]
    This directory lists writers and their addresses from all over the world.

revised April 2017