Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Public Records Research: Investigating People, Businesses and Nonprofits: People

Resources for Individual Background Checks

Reference USA (Search each one of these datasets separately:  Consumers & Lifestyles, Standard white pages, and New Movers)

Cubib - Free Public Data Search Engine
LexisNexis - Public records lookup (see Barbara or Tinamarie in the Research Center and we will log you in).
Accurint - Public records aggregator (See Barbara or Tinamarie in the Research Center and we will search for you).

Spokeo Facebook Twitter / Twiangulate (search twitter bios)

Also See Social Networks Tab of this Research Guide

This type of record is not available in NYS unless your name is on the document or you have court order.

VitalChek can order vital records online from some states/counties, there is usually a fee.

Linkedin Advanced Search direct link to LinkedIn advanced search page.

Linkedin Alumni Search can search for classmates at a certain school, during a certain time period

Accurint database has a People at Work search (See Barbara in Research Center – she’ll search for you).

NYC Civil List names and titles of NYC employees
NYS Employees Phone Directory


Government salaries and employee names database from PIBuzz
Call the University’s registrar office

Can I Vote? voter lookup sites by state

LexisNexis – Public records lookup (see Barbara or Tinamarie in Research Center and we will log you in).

Biography Reference Bank database of biographical resources
Literature Resource Center  database includes biographies of writers

LexisNexis when searching for profile of prominent person use this: hlead(firstname w/2 lastname) AND length(>900) [Add word count only for extended profile pieces. For less prominent folks, drop the hleadfirstname w/2 lastname is enough]. Also searches through tv news transcripts archive.
Factiva hlp=(
firstname near2 lastname)
Access World News (great for small regional and community papers)
MasterFILE Complete (for more 
magaziney-type articles and publications)
Google or Google News Search 
search for a person: “firstname ** lastname” (this will search up to two more words, in case of middle name or initials)

Google Books search for a person: “firstname ** lastname” 

Current News

Critical Mention (J-School Database)

thenewsmarket Register to access free images and videos (much what’s available is corporate marketing materials, but some materials are provided by NGO’s).

UNifeed Broadcast-quality video for UNifeed stories is available online for two weeks.

CNN Newsource (J-School Database) must use in Firefox, single-user login – so log out when done. See our secure logins page for access information and user guide. Searchable video database from CNN’s worldwide resources, including 800 Newsource affiliates. Can download footage, but must obtain copyright clearance.

News Archives (many NYS newspapers from the 1960s, '70s and '80s) ask to be logged in at the Research Center

AP Historical Archives on YouTube 
“Film and video archive of AP, the world’s largest and oldest news agency. 
Archive has over 1.7 million news, sports, entertainment and fashion stories dating back to 1895. They also have a British Movietone channel –

Internet Archive’s TV News Archive
The collection dates from 2009 to the present and contains news programs from national U.S. networks and stations in San Francisco and Washington D.C. New content will be added 24 hours after the programs have aired. You can search the broadcasts’ closed caption transcripts by keyword.

C-SPAN Video Library (1987 – Current)
Searchable database of all of C-Span programming, search for clips by topic, keyword, person etc. Here’s a list of what you are free to use on C-Span.

UN Multimedia Audiovisual Archive
70 years of UN news, meetings, documentaries, including B-roll and raw footage.

The Open Video Project
A shared digital video collection, for research and educational purposes.

Internet Archive Moving Image Archive
Thousands of digital movies, many for free download.
“The Stock, Archival and News Footage Search Engine”

Find people using Facebook’s Search For Friends Page

Custom Facebook Search Tool on IntellTechniques menu page

Stalkface - (must be logged into Facebook) find hidden events someone on Facebook is “going to,” or “interested in.

Stalkscan - another Facebook app for finding info on people.

Facebook Mobile - Discover People discover people who say they are attending events.

Linkedin Advanced Search direct link to LinkedIn advanced search page.

Linkedin Alumni Search can search for classmates at a certain school, during a certain time period

People Search and Resume Finder Chrome Extension finds accurate email addresses, phone numbers, social profiles and resumes

Spokeo (you have access to Spokeo via J-School) with the paid version you get phones and emails
ThatsThem free people search finds emails, addresses, phones and family members.


namechk search a username to see if it’s registered to any other social sites
Email lookup