Saturday, December 11, 2010
Connecting the Dots via "Snoop Sites"
There have been times when the information on these sites has given me the clues that I need to fill in some blanks, confirm information from my inferences and figure out what happened to more contemporary relatives.
And guess what? Much of the time, you can pick up some clues without even paying to get the full records search results.
One site that I turn to when I get stuck on more contemporary people is Intellius.com. Since this site has information about living people, I don't want to use any screen captures for illustration purposes. You can try it out on some of your own missing kin - or on yourself, just to see how it works.
What has been most helpful to me in using sites like Intellius is that a basic search will provide results that include the most recent cities the individual has lived in, generally in chronological order with the most recent listed first. There is an estimate of the person's age. And what is very handy is that a list of names of possible relatives shows up on the search result page. This is a way that I've been able to determine married names of females and from that, take my people sleuthing a bit further. Sometimes, this information is used as confirmation that I have identified the correct family and the area where they are located. Sometimes those additional family member's names can be used to help you narrow down some online searches for obituaries of the person's parents or great grandparents. It has worked for me.
Intellius also still has deceased individuals in its databases. So you might find people who show up in your search result and it shows they are 111 years old. Again, that is just providing you with a clue to the person's year of birth and names of potential family members.
Once you try this out, or do a sample search on yourself, it might creep you out. I acknowledge that. I was creeped out at first. But I'm a researcher, not a stalker. I've not used the information obtained on these snoop sites to contact anyone directly. There was only one time when I paid to get information from one of these sites so that I could verify a date of birth and the address of a living relative. I've been holding on to that information for about eight or nine years now and have yet to make direct contact.
It's just another tool that may be useful in your genealogy quest. You never know - it might turn up that long lost cousin who has all of those photographs of your ancestors that you've never seen before.
Please feel free to comment about your experiences with these snoop sites in the comments section below.