How to Use the Deep Web to Find People

Deep web people search engines to dig up hard-to-find information

Illustration of a person using a tablet to use melissa, pipl, waybackmachine, zabasearch

Lifewire / Adrian Mangel

The invisible/deep web is full of information not found on the regular/surface web, meaning that a normal web search engine isn't enough to dig up information on someone.

Below are deep web people search tools and tips you can use to locate someone you've lost contact with, research an individual thoroughly, etc.

Deep web people finders should be used in conjunction with a people search engine for maximum results.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine

wayback machine

What We Like

  • Archive of billions of web pages.

  • Catalogs books, news articles, tweets, videos, and memes.

What We Don't Like

  • Contains only publicly accessible web pages and information.

  • Vast site is overwhelming.

If the person you're looking for has ever created a website or has information you know was on the web but has been since deleted, you can look that website up via Wayback Machine, a database of billions of pages archived from 1996 to the present.

This is a good way to view hard-to-find information because snapshots of websites—including many that are no longer live on the internet—have been archived here. 

FamilySearch

FamilySearch website

What We Like

  • Over 1 billion unique profiles.

  • Search by name, place of birth or death, and birthday or death date.

  • Mobile apps.

What We Don't Like

  • Only one family tree per free account.

  • Strangers can view or change family trees.

FamilySearch, one of the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world, is primarily a genealogy tracker, which makes it an invaluable deep web people search tool as well.

Type in as much information as you know, and FamilySearch returns birth and death records, parental information, and more. Digital preservation, digital conversion, general preservation of records, and online indexing is available here as well, all at no charge 

ZabaSearch

ZabaSearch website

What We Like

  • Search by name with state or phone number.

  • Phone numbers and addresses in search results.

  • No registration required.

What We Don't Like

  • Sign in with Facebook for free advanced search.

  • Some users express privacy concerns.

ZabaSearch is an extraordinarily effective invisible web people search engine. It pulls details from public records that include court records, country and state records, phone number listings, public transactions, voter registration records, and information that the individuals themselves put online.

This free service is somewhat controversial for the amount of information that it pulls in, but it's useful for genealogy searches. 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Full-Text Patent Database

New patent applications file folder

Getty Images

What We Like

  • Search for patents by name or term and field of specialty.

  • View or print full page PDFs of patents.

What We Don't Like

  • Search patents before 1976 by issue date, patent number, and U.S. classification.

  • Must have information about the patent for an effective search.

If the person you're looking for has ever filed for a patent, you'll find it at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office full-text patent database. For patents filed from 1976 and beyond, you can see the inventor's name and the patent's title, as well as other pertinent information.

Melissa Lookups

Melissa Lookups home page

What We Like

  • Interesting collection of search tools.

  • Useful tools to find information about people.

What We Don't Like

  • Must register for an account.

  • Charges for tiers of credits after monthly free credits are used.

  • Doesn't find as much information as some sites.

Melissa Lookups offers a wide range of free tools you can use to plumb the deep web for people information. This site searches U.S. addresses, house numbers by ZIP code, IP location, names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and death information.

This deep web site also includes information for people in Canada, Mexico, Italy, Singapore, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and other locations.

192.com

192.com home page

What We Like

  • Specializes in searches for people in the U.K.

  • Basic search requires only name and location.

  • Advanced people search available.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't list the source of the data.

  • Paid service provides only publicly available information.

192.com contains data on people, businesses and places in the U.K. You can find full names, addresses, age guides, property prices, aerial photos, company and director reports, family records, and corporate information here, all pulled from a number of sources on both the general and invisible web.