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How Do I Search a Person's Address History?

Updated October 24, 2018

Whether you're researching the history of a living person or an ancestor from long ago, the chances are good that the person lived at more than one address during his lifetime. Reconstructing someone's address history is not easy---especially since many records lack clear dating. With a bit of effort and some good sleuthing, however, it's often possible to compile a good deal of information on where a person lived.

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  1. Search at Ancestry.com. This well-known genealogy site offers directory information from previous years as well as from previous centuries---an effective research site for information on both ancestors and living people.

  2. Conduct a simple search on a person's name to view available information. Use the search pull-down menu (don't use the "Family Tree" search boxes, which don't include directory searches). Preliminary results are available at no charge, but to see full listings you have to either subscribe to the service or sign up for a free trial.

  3. Search at Intelius.com. This people-find site has a very large database, and its search results display both current and previous addresses. Additional information such as a person's age and list of relatives helps ensure you're looking at the correct listing.

  4. As with Ancestry, Intelius provides some information for free; however, the site charges a small fee for full listings.

  5. Check historical directories. Free Genealogy Tools has an in-depth listing of historical directories that you can search on the Web at no charge. In addition to town, city and county directories, check specialised publications such as college campus directories, which make good resources for tracking down addresses decades old or even older.

  6. Search at pipl.com. This people-find search tool scours the Internet for information on individuals and compiles it into a well-organised display. It can find a surprising amount of information.

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About the Author

David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.

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