Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
In general, a people finder is a web-based directory, providing access to the names, addresses, telephone numbers and other information of persons living within a particular time range. Some people finders are more sensitive than others in terms of the data supplied about living persons.
For genealogists, the primary benefit of a people finder is to help researchers pinpoint an ancestor in place and time, providing names, addresses, ages, and possible family relationships. The Ancestry.com U. S. Public Records Index, for example, provides information on people living in the United States roughly between 1950 and 1990. It is good for researchers to keep in mind that while people finders might indicate a person's age or birthdate, it is not a primary source record and may be in error.