Public Data in Criminal Justice Records

Photo from my trip to the county courthouse

The primary resources are:

  • Police records of incidents
  • Court case documents
  • Inmate locators
  • Court case audio recordings

People Search Websites:

PSWs were discussed previously, they are a great first step when researching someone as they will identify where the persons lives now and past addresses. After you obtain this information look up the counties for each address and then you can search if the person was involved in court cases of any kind.

County Court Systems:

While there are many courts with jurisdiction over a given location in some form, you should start with the county level courts. Any cases involving your person of interest are most likely located at the county level. If you have limited time, you can reasonably search only the county courts.

Each county court system will have a database where you should be able to search your person by name. The county circuit and district courts will entail cases ranging from criminal and civil cases as well as traffic violations.

The easiest way to find the relevant database is to google the county name and the phrase “court records”. Alters you can go to the county government website which will have a section for the courts. There will be a subsection for “case information” that tells you how to search court records. Many states have a single database that includes all of the counties’ court records.

In those states you can still begin at the county government websites which will inform you about the state-wide database.

When you find the database you should make sure you search the circuit and district courts.

Police records;

If you find that your person was involved in a criminal case, you can lookup police records to see details of the events that led up to the charges. Once again the easiest way to find the police records is to google the county name, the word “police records”, and one of the following phrases “dispatch incidents”, “daily arrests”, “summary of arrests”.

Most police records are not publicly available. However , the local police generally publish some form of daily summary of incidents and archive them in a list or database on their website.

Unfortunately this information is usually retained in a manner requiring you to search for incidents based on the date, vice a specific person’s name. If you find court records for a criminal case, the records should include the date and general location so that you have the information necessary to find the police record.

For example in Loudoun County, Virginia, the daily reports are posted here in the Sheriff section of the county website – (https://www.loudoun.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=43)

Broadcasts:

If you are willing to pay $15, you can use the website Broadcastify (broadcastify.com/listen/) to find the police radio broadcast related to the incident. This can be helpful but you should not assume it will provide relevant information. The website archives audio files of radio broadcasts for police and emergency services categorized by time, date, location, and service (police, firefighters, etc).

Inmate search:

If the incident resulted in the person being incarcerated you can look them up by name in various inmate databases. The results will have the inmate’s name, serial number, and date of past or scheduled release.

If they are in federal prison you can look them up at – (https://www.bop.gov/mobile/find_inmate/byname.jsp).

State’s also have their own version, such as Virginia which has – (https://vadoc.virginia.gov/general-public/offender-locator/)

Bankruptcies:

All bankruptcy cases are heard in federal courts which can be accessed with PACER (see below)

Additional websites:

BKdata (https://bkdata.com/research/) is a private database that holds information on bankruptcy cases. It will charge a fee for full access but the free search is a great place to start if you want to find out if your person or company ever filed for bankruptcy

Court Listener (courtlistener.com) will search court case information across several hundred jurisdictions throughout the United States. Results include opinions, oral arguments, financial disclosures, and RECAP case files.

PACER (https://pcl.uscourts.gov/pcl/) charged a small fee but is the official database for all federal cases. You should always check the RECAP records (which are free versions of PACER records) in courtlistener.com before using PACER.

Obtain Audio Recording of a Court Case

If you are doing in-depth research on a court case you have the option to get an audio recording of the court proceedings. This requires paying a fee and a bit of legwork.

To do so, first use the state or county case information database and do a name search for the defendant as described previously. This will bring you to the court case information

In this case the court is the Loudoun county circuit court.

The records are handled by the Clerk of the court which will have a website or section in the county court system’s website.

In this case the website is here:

https://www.loudoun.gov/98/Clerk-of-the-Circuit-Court

And then click on the section specifically for requesting audio files which has instructions on how to submit your request, see below;

The instructions provide a form that needs printing, filling, and physically submitting. 

To fill out the form, we use the case records search for the court (as described previously) located in this database – https://eapps.courts.state.va.us/ocis/search

Here we can search for the defendant info to find the case and the record will give the information required by the form to identify the case and relevant information to input into the form for your request.

Here is an example of a case record;

Next, we take the form and check ($55 for two days of audio recording) and then head to the court!

Photo from my trip to the Loudoun county circuit court to drop off my request

That’s all for now.

Professional License Data

A surprising number of jobs require some form of state certification or license, which can provide good information about that person. This can determine if the person actually has their claimed profession, some personal details, and very often it will show any issues the person has run into. So in some cases a person had been suspended and the reason will be identified. But even a worker in good standing will have some relevant details in their license.

If you are researching anyone where you know their profession, it is worth a quick Google search asking if that profession requires a license in that state, or in general.

The website Career One Stop has a great tool (https://www.careeronestop.org/toolkit/training/find-licenses.aspx) that lists out all of the jobs requiring licenses and allows you to search by job title and state to see what kind of licensing requirements exist and where the public can look up an individual’s license.

Here is an example of using Career One Stop for searching a random profession. See the search function on bottom left of the screenshot below. The word “switch” is input in the keyword search and the chosen location is all locations.

The result from this search show various licenses available in different states and identifies the local government agency responsible for overseeing the licenses.

Clicking on one of the license names shows the following information about the job, the licensing requirements, and a website for the agency responsible for the process.

Clicking on the agency’s website brings us to the page below and it turns out there is an option for the public to look up licenses.

A search for a random last name brings up the following results. The database includes various different professions so even though we were originally looking at electrologists, the results show doctors.

Clicking on one of the names brings the following results.

That’s it.

Someone’s Past Political Donations

There are several great tools for looking up an individual’s political donations. Aside from the insight one can gain by learning someone’s history of political donations, the records will also provide information about the donor such as where they work.

National Politics

The Federal Election Commission’s official database has a tool for looking up a person’s contribution to federal candidates. (https://www.fec.gov/introduction-campaign-finance/how-to-research-public-records/individual-contributions/)

The FEC website also has a judicial section that gives access to FEC records on court cases, violations, audits, and similar issues.

See FEC walkthrough at the bottom of the article.

Open Secrets also has an individual donor lookup tool (https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup) with FEC and some additional sources of data.

DS Giving (dsgiving.com) is a paid service but has a free option for looking up a person’s charity and political donations. The tool compiles the information in one place and includes some additional details.

State Politics

Each state maintains its own database for donations to state-level politicians. Generally it is easy to find these databases by googling the name of the state along with one of the following: “campaign finance database”, “board of elections”, “campaign finance”, or “political donations database”. In addition, each state has a database where lobbyists register and report expenditures. The website Follow The Money (https://www.followthemoney.org/) can assist as it compiles information about state elections, lobbyists, districts, and political contributions for the entire country.

Donor Lookup Example

Here is an example of looking up state-level contributions. Assuming we are researching someone that lives in Maryland…

Googling “Maryland” and “campaign finance database” results in the relevant database appearing at the top of the results.

Which leads to this website

We run a generic search under “contributor” for the name smith, and the result shows records on past donations, including the details of the donation itself as well as the donor / contributor’s name and address.

FEC example

If we go to (fec.gov/data) we have the option to research campaign finance data (which includes records on donations) on the bottom left or judicial records on the bottom right. We are focusing on donations / campaign finance but it is good to be aware that the judicial data is available.

Choosing to “search all campaign finance data” leads to the screen below where we have the option to search for a person by name on the bottom right.

By searching a random last name we get the results below that show individual donations. Each record shows the recipient of the donation, amount donated money, the date of the donation as well as the donor’s name, employer, and state where they live.

In the screenshot above there’s a triangle to the right of each record. If we click on one of the triangles a box pops up on the right side as you see below. The box provides some more in depth information about the donor, the donation, and the recipient.

Finally, in the image above there’s a grey box at the top that says “open image”. Click on it and it brings you to the form where the data was derived, as you see below.

That’s it!

Are You Searching for a Dead Person?

There are specific osint sources and information that is only available for people that have passed away.

Furthermore, standard sources for finding information on someone will often come up empty because your target is actually deceased. This is especially true with US-focused People-Searching Websites which often remove data on persons after their deaths. This post will explain how to check if a US-based person has passed away and/or find information that is only available about the deceased.

There are three main tools for finding dead people, and they are categorized by when the person died.

The time periods and associated tools are as follows:

1 – Deaths AFTER 2013 – Find A Grave (findagrave.com)

2 – Deaths between 1965 and 2013 – Ancestry-related websites that

3 – Deaths BEFORE 1965

1 – For Deaths AFTER 2013, researchers can use Find A Grave (findagrave.com). This tool focuses on finding actual graves (hence the name) rather than death records and relies on verified data from users. Despite the fact that this tool uses information from users, it is an amazingly comprehensive source, maybe even the best. There are MANY enthusiasts that search for graves and upload their information and often photos to source. And if the information you are looking for is not available, you can even submit a general request for someone to look for the grave of interest. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is actually much more difficult to find graves that are NOT documented by this tool.

Finally, Find A Grave is useful for deaths that occurred at any date before or after 2013. However, I recommend this tool specifically for deaths after 2013 because most other tools do not have information during that time period.

2 – For Deaths between 1965 and 2013, the Social Security Death Index is the best source for Americans. Rather than accessing the indiex yourself, you will need to find a genealogy tool with access to the index. However, per information provided by Anceestry.com, the Social Security Administration stopped using the Death Index starting in 2014 and instead began documenting deaths in the Death Master File. Access to this later source is very restricted, and for all intents and purposes it should not be considered as a viable source in your osint research.

3 – For Deaths before 1965, any standard genealogy website will do the trick. Try using the genealogy sites FamilySearch.org, GenealogyBank.com, and Ancestry.com. FamilySearch.org is highly recommended and all of its information is free, you only need to register an account.

Returning to the issue of pre-1965 deaths, there is no specific database for this information. However, historic deaths is one of, if not the, most prioritized info sought after by genealogy websites so you can assume it is more likely than not that you’ll find the death record you are looking for. Most genealogy sites will automatically search all of their data sources, but if you are looking for a death record make sure your search includes Census data. The specific details of US census data becomes public record after 72 years and will be incorporated into any genealogy site you use.

The following includes a basic overview of using the relevant sites.

The Find A Grave Website

Nonetheless, the search function within the actual findagrave.com website is pretty thorough and gives a lot of different options for different ways to search for a record. Therefore, you may decide to try using the website itself.

For example, as you see in the findagrave.com search function below, you can even choose to search by burial plot information. That might seem like an obscure bit of information, but many records will identify the specific plot or cemetery section. Based on that information, you can search for relatives by looking for grave sites next to the first one, or for grave sites within the same section of the cemetery, possibly filtered for people with the same last name.

Below you see an example of the kinds of information that might be available in a particular record.

Your record may not always have identified family members, memorials, or photos, but you can generally count on four pieces of information being available:

1 – Name

2 – Date of Birth (and maybe location)

3 – Date of Death (and maybe location)

4 – The cemetery where they were buried

Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is an official list of American’s whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. The SSDI is available online (though only included deaths after 1965) and can be accessed for free at FamilySearch.org, GenealogyBank.com, and Ancestry.com.

See the URLs below:

(screenshot from Genealogy Bank – https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/ssdi/all)

More information on the SSDI is available here:

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Social_Security_Administration_Records

Genealogy Websites

As noted before, there are several genealogy websites that can be used but we are going to focus on how to use just one for searching deaths, Family Search (FamilySearch.org).

After you go to the website and quickly sign up for a free account (there are no strings attached as far as I can tell), you then go to the main page. To reach the basic search function, click on “Search” from the menu bar and then click on “Records” from the drop down menu.

Later on, you can return to this drop down menu and click on “Genealogies” or “Research Wiki.” Clicking on “Genealogies” will let you search family trees that were uploaded by users. “Research Wiki” is a wiki of different local genealogy-related databases that are specific to different locations.

You’ll want to start with the search records functions. The following search window will appear. If you submit a search here, the website will also search for results that are similar but not exactly what you typed (such as names there are spelt similarly to what you typed). If this give you too many results, then before getting started, it might be worth clicking on “More Options,” so you can choose to search for an exact spelling of a name. 

The following window will appear and you will notice that there are options for search for exactly what you typed.

At this point look under the heading “Life Event” and you will want to click on “ +death ”. If you have additional info like location or date/year you can add that in on the line below but it isn’t necessary. W

hen you are done, just hit search and hopefully you’ll find the right info.

That’s all, good luck!

Private Investigator Basics: Skip Tracing and Property Liens

What is skip-tracing?

Skip-tracing is one of the central functions of private investigation.

“Skip tracing is a process used to find a debtor who has relocated or disappeared to avoid legal responsibilities, such as debt payments. The skip-tracing process involves verifying a debtor’s information, searching public records and contacting people who know the debtor.” …according to an article at wolterskluwer.com.

Given that skip-tracing is a broad topic, this post will focus on one part of the process- doing a lien search.

What is a lien ?

“A ‘lien’ is a notice that attaches to your property, telling the world that a creditor claims you owe it some money. A lien is typically a public record” …according to a post at Nolo.

Liens are a common way for creditors to collect what they’re owed. When someone puts a lien on your property, that property effectively becomes collateral for the debt.

There are 4 kinds of liens to look for

  1. UCC lien search
  2. Federal tax lien search
  3. State tax lien search
  4. County tax lien – Judgment lien search

A tax lien differs from a UCC lien because a recorded UCC financing statement shows a borrower agreed to give a lender an interest in a particular property in exchange for a loan; it’s a consensual lien. Tax liens, whether federal or state, are non-consensual. The borrower didn’t agree to the government taking a security interest in their property.

In some cases, the debtor isn’t even aware there’s a tax lien against them

How to Search?

Finding a recorded UCC-1 financing statement is relatively straightforward: you query the Secretary of State (SOS) where the property is located, or where the borrower is incorporated.

The IRS files the Notice of Federal Tax Lien with the secretary of state, county clerk, or state recorder’s office to secure your tax debt.

Liens against property can be recorded at the Department of Land Records alongside deeds. Search for liens online using state (some examples here will be Maryland focused because that’s my background- Maryland Land Records)(mdlandrec.net).

Some liens come from court judgments. If this happens, the lien may not be at Land Records. Go to state case searches (Maryland Case Search to search for court judgments against the property’s owner.)

Unpaid taxes on the property may result in a lien. Visit your local county or city’s finance office to find property tax or other municipal liens.

Walter Skluwer also adds the following advice:

Federal / ITS tax lien search – You can conduct a federal tax lien search at the following places:

  • State Recorder’s office
  • Secretary of State’s office
  • IRS Automated Lien System database
  • Private third-party database search services like Lien Solutions

State and county liens – Information on a tax lien is either maintained by the Secretary of State or the county tax office. Where the government records its interest depends on state law. Some states require recording certain interests at the state level. For example, Colorado files tax liens with its Department of Revenue’s Division of Taxation. Many others require agencies to secure liens in the county records office where the person, business, or property is located.

Several states have formed a tax lien registry which serves as a centralized location for recording and searching for tax liens. These states file all tax liens with the registry instead of at the county level, giving you one place to look instead of searching for information in several county offices

This is not very specific as the lien database varies depending on location, but with some patience this can be a useful way to gain info on a person of interest.

Internet Archives

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The Archives:

There are three main archives for US-related purposes, (though there are several other initiatives around the world, see wiki page List of Archiving Initiatives.).

web.archive.org – The Internet Archive / WAYBACKMACHINE is :

  • the archive with more archived data
  • does have keyword search
  • does have a reverse image search via – rootabout.com
  • BUT when you are searching for a url you will only find results for that exact url you typed

archive.is – Archive Today is :

  • a better archive for finding websites and information as it will find subdomains or related hosts for the url that you searched
  • can lookup social media and google maps
  • consider using spoonbill in conjunction with archive.is searches on Twitter, spoonbill technique (below) will let you see all a Twitter account’s profile changes over time
  • BUT it no keyword search tool
  • reportedly has less data than the Internet Archive

https://webarchive.loc.gov/ – The Library of Congress Web Archive is categorized and its content was deliberately chosen, therefore I think it is best to search for you subject matter before looking for a specific website. Alternatively, if you see your website-of-interest is archived there, look at its category so you can maybe find other useful sites. :

  • LOC is best used if you are looking for a specific subject. Go to the central page – https://www.loc.gov/web-archives/ – will let you search by subject, dates, locations, series, etc.

https://carbondate.cs.odu.edu/ – attempts to figure out when a website was created (consider using this in conjunction with whois history searches from previous post)

http://timetravel.mementoweb.org/ – look up archived website from specified date and time

Rootabout.com – does reverse image searches in Internet Archive and Open Library

Spoonbill – See Twitter profiles’ changes over time by using the following url with the account username:

https://spoonbill%5B.%5Dio/twitter/data/search_ish <–input other twitter usernames here and remove the brackets from ” spoonbill[.]io ”

Genealogy – Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is an official list of American’s whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. The SSDI is available online (though only included deaths from 1965 to 2013) and can be accessed for free at FamilySearch.org, GenealogyBank.com, and Ancestry.com. See the URLs below:

(screenshot from Genealogy Bank – https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/ssdi/all)

The SSDI is a public database maintained by the Social Security Administration of US citizens who had received social security benefits (so not everyone but still most people in the US) and died after 1965 (when the list was computerized). This is a more or less comprehensive list of Americans who have died.

Genealogy websites often include this data in their repositories.

More information on the list is available here:

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Social_Security_Administration_Records

Freedom of Information Act Requests

You can submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Social Security Administration to request the information listed in the deceased person’s original application form for a social security card, which is called an SS-5. You will have to pay a fee of about $20. You can request a copy of the original document, if it is available, or a computer generated list of the information from the form (this is called a “Numident printout”).

This service was surprisingly fast, I submitted my request for a Numident printout and received a response in the mail 16 days later.

For more information you can go to (https://www.ssa.gov/foia/request.html)

Process for FOIA request:

1 – Go to FOIA Online (https://foiaonline.gov/foiaonline/action/public/home) click on “create request” and then “begin”.

2 – in the next page, there is a drop down menu at the top where you choose which agency you are interested in. After you choose Social Security Administration a form appears for your SS-5/Numident request.

3 – Now you have to fill out the form, choose SS-5 or Numident, pay the fee, and hit “submit”

I requested a Numident printout and received my response in the mail 2 weeks later. Below is a redacted copy of what I received in the mail:

In particular, note the following pieces of information included in this response:

  • Date of Birth
  • Date of Death
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of Death
  • Social Security Number
  • Names of Parents

That’s it!

Websites to Lookup “Whois” Domain Registration History

This posts lists out the current free resources available for obtaining history whois domain registration information. Be aware that these services will also let you search often by email or name of the registrant too

1 – WhoIsXMLAPI

The Domain Research Suite of WhoIsXMLAPI is currently the best bet.

https://drs.whoisxmlapi.com/

See the post below from ToolsForReporters.com to read a walkthrough of the service. The main points are that you have to sign up for a free account, you will only get a limited number of searches, and you have to login and go to the Domain Research Suite in order to access the Whois History Search tool.

2 – Whoxy

Whoxy is also a great source that will let you run a few free searches. You may need to sign up for a free account at some point

whoxy.com

3 – Tools for Reverse Whois Lookups: DomainBigData and ViewDNSinfo

These two are actually not for whois history, but rather it is for reverse whois lookups (i.e. check if an email was used to register any domains). It seems like a similar enough topic

domainbigdata.com

https://viewdns.info/reversewhois/

That’s it!

photo recognition tools

There have been many interesting developments in how we can analyze Internet-based photos using open source

Geolocation Estimation – (https://labs.tib.eu/geoestimation/)

Leibniz Information Center (tib.eu/en) has created an amazing tool for auto-estimating the location of a photo by analyzing features in the background, primarily focusing on geology and geography.

It will take this photo for example:

And guess possible locations in the world, like this:

Bing Visual Search – (https://www.bing.com/visualsearch)

In a similar vein, Bing.com has set up a tool for identifying specific things in a photo, ranging from shoes to landmarks. This is particularly useful when trying to identify plants.

Sun Calculator – (https://www.suncalc.org/)

The sun calculator will let you research the Sun and calculate shadows in a photo based on location, date and time. It will also tell you the length and direction of an object’s shadow at that time and place. This was previously identified by Tools For Reporters (https://toolsforreporters.com/2022/02/16/another-tool-for-fact-checking-the-sun/).

See the example below for a location in Spain on April 2nd, 2022:

Weather Underground History – (www.wunderground.com/history)

This tool provides an in-depth account for any place on any date. It provides an hour-by-hour listing of the cloudiness, temperature, wind speed/direction, etc. The idea is that if a photo purports to be from a specific location you can check if the weather in the photo matches in recorded weather.

Compare Faces – (http://www.pictriev.com/fc.php)

Sometimes when researching a photo you find a social media account that you think might be the person in the photo. That is where this tool comes in handy because it can compare the photos from your original picture and the social media account and give you a likelihood if they are the same person.

Reverse Image Searches – (yandex, google, bing, and others)

The major search engines have the ability to search a photo for others that are like it, or the same photo that is somewhere else on the Internet. While it is good to search for the same photo existing elsewhere. For a profile photo, one can search for the person or the background location to find more information.

A quick note about the basics of doing a reverse image search. A reverse image search refers to using a search engine to search for a specific image or similar ones on the internet. Most search engines will include that function and all you have to do is right click on a photo, copy, and paste it into a website or search engine’s reverse image search function. It is often easier to right click and choose “copy image url”. Most image search functions will also allow you to input an image url for searching as well.

Bellingcat.com created a great guide (click here to read it) comparing the capabilities of different sites and concluded that Yandex is the best. Other sources agree with this assessment. Yandex will also let you crop a photo so you can focus your search on something specific, such as the face of your person of interest, rather than their background. Croping a photo to search specifically for a face avoids the trap where some image searches will search for people wearing the same color shirt, instead of focusing on the person’s face.

The photo is an example from the bellingcat guide – https://tinyurl.com/5azsa24x

Removing Background

You should also consider removing the background altogether from a photo, to focus on the object or person of interest. Alternatively you can remove the person from the photo and search the background to determine the location or similar locations.

To this end, several websites offer different ways to alter the photo. Photoscissors.com and remove.bg will let you completely remove a background to heighten the focus on a person or object.

Remove the Foreground

Additionally, there are several online tools that can help you remove people in the foreground or anything else in the photo so that you can focus your search on something else. Sometimes you want to search the background or just part of it.

allows you to remove or blur out the person in a photo so you can search the background. Though she did not identify which tool she used, the following is a good example of how this can be useful. Jane Myer of the New Yorker was able to find the background in one photo to identify the original, see below:

From Jane Myer’s Twitter account – https://twitter.com/JaneMayerNYer/status/1057371849439502338

The following is a list of just some of the available tools that you can use for this purpose:

Here is another great example, this one from bellingcat. By blurring out the person in this photo, it was possible for find that the person here…

…was standing here:

Bellingcat.com (from the aforementioned guide)

Barcodes!

china qr
An article from Business Insider showing barcodes on body armor

A photo that shows an ID badge or retail product with a barcode visible can be used to obtain useful information.

Barcodes can be read from photos posted online by using one of the numerous websites (such as Online Barcode Reader by InLite). These sites require that you choose what kind of barcode you want read and then upload a photo with the barcode. Barcodes usually use known patterns for encoding information such as these below:

examples of barcode patterns (https://www.inliteresearch.com/)

The next question is what to do with the encoded information?

If the barcode is on an ID, it may translate to a random number. This is unfortunate because the number is often an account that is only useful if you have access to the relevant associated database, which is probably private.

Drivers Licenses, Military, and Various Other IDs

Alternatively, the barcode may translate directly into identifying information about the ID holder. This is the case with U.S. drivers licenses, military, and other IDs. With a U.S. drivers license the barcode will provide you personal information about the license holder (name, address, date of birth, physical description) and about the license itself (date of issue, date of expiration).

Driver's License Verification

Additionally, according to InLite, checking information is often encoded into “MICR lines” that includes data about financial accounts and/or transactions.

Retail Products

For a retail product, the barcode can be used to look up the manufacturer and a basic description about the product. The barcodes for retail products represent identification numbers that can be looked up in public databases.

China Wholesale Self Adhesive Customizable Random, Serial Number Barcode  Label Sticker Printed - China Sticker Label, Packing Label

So if a product’s barcode is visible in a photo a researcher can use something like InLite to lookup what number the barcode represents and then go to a site like Barcodelookup.com to lookup the number itself.

According to Barcodelookup.com,

A product’s packaging may not tell you everything you need to know about that product — where it comes from, how well it works or how it’s priced at other stores. Enter any product’s UPC, EAN or ISBN code into Barcode Lookup, and find all kinds of information about the item including its manufacturer, name, description, photos and customer reviews. We even show you links to online stores where you can buy the same item.

This is often used to identify the general location of a photo based on the location of the manufacturer or retailer.

That’s all, good luck searching!

Genealogy – How To Document People in RootsMagic Software

This is a run through for how to document one new person and one fact about them in the free version of the genealogy software RootsMagic.

Short Version (without citing any sources)

If you want to just start building your family tree without worrying about documentation, getting started is very easy.

A.) Open RootsMagic,

B.) choose to open a new file,

C) choose a file name and place to save it,

D.) an empty family tree will appear, looking like the picture above,

E.) Double click where it says to “Add Person”, a window appears where you can type in any info about the person

F.) Now just click “OK”, a new window will appear asking you to source your information but you can ignore it and just click Cancel on the bottom right corner.

And then you are done! you have added a new person onto your family tree!

The process is basically three parts, A.) open a new file, B.) create a source C.) label one person on a family tree.

Longer Version (with how to cite your information)

In this example we have a named person, and we have one fact about them that we want to include on our family tree and cite where we obtained the information.

The person is a random “John Smith”, who’s date of death is documented in FindAGrave.com (see below).

(The basic search function for findagrave.com)
(the record for a random person named John Smith)

How-To Process

So in order to document this information in RootsMagic, take the following steps.

1 – Open opening the software click on “new file”, then “Empty File”, and then “Documents”

2 – you will be prompted to choose a place to save the new file and what to name it. I default to choose the location as Documents and choose a random name.

3 – You will then be prompted with the following options. You can ignore and just hit OK, but to check LDS support and Family Tree Support (but that is for reasons that will be addressed in a separate post).

4 – Now you will be presented with an empty family tree and the spot for one unidentified person highlighted.

5 – In order to document a fact, then we first want to create a source for the fact. On the left side click on “Sources”

6 – You are brought to the page seen below. At this point, click on the plus sign on the top bar.

SIDE NOTE: Do not be confused by the “Edit Source” section on the right, especially since it says free form under source type. This gives the false impression that you can type sourcing information in there. But that section is only for editing an existing source. If you type anything in there it will not be saved because there are no sources yet that you could edit. So do NOT touch the section on the right, just click the plus sign on the top bar.

7 – Clicking the plus sign will bring up a menu of different source types as seen below. But for this post, we will just use Free Form for the sake of simplicity. So click on “Free Form”, make sure it is highlighted, and then click “Next” on the bottom right.

7 – A window pops up with different sections for inputing information about the source.

8 – Now input the relevant information into the source file. In this case we are just documenting the existence of a gravesite based on a webpage from FindAGrave.com.

At the very least, you should input 3 pieces of information.

  • a title (for example, “FindAGrave record for John Smith”)
  • information that you want recorded (for example, “John Smith”, “died in 1788”)
  • some kind of sourcing for the record, in this case i just pasted the url for the webpage listing the information

The final result looks like below. Then hit “ok”

9 – This returns you to the Sourcing page and now you see that a source has been added to the list.

10 – On the left side, click on “People” and you are brought to a page with a blank family tree and a spot for one unidentified person. Click where it says “+ a person”

11- A popup window appears where you can input information about the person.

12 – Input the name and date of death as seen below and then hit “OK”

13 – A new window appears where we can provide the source for the information that we provided.

14 – Next to each fact about the person, there are 5 boxes on the right that have pictures above them. In the line on top where it lists the name as John Smith, we click on the box to the right that is under the picture of a pen. (note that the same fact is at the bottom of the screen, but this is just redundant, feel free to ignore)

15 – After clicking on the box under the pen, the heading on the right side of the screen will change from “Person”, to “Sources”. Under the heading “Sources”, click where it says “+ Add source citation”.

16 – This brings you to a new screen where all of your sources are listed and you are supposed to choose the source that supports the fact (in this case the person’s name) that you have chosen. However, in this example you only have one source so it is automatically chosen and highlighted.

Now you click “Next” on the bottom right corner, followed by “OK”, then “OK”.