Craig Ball's Sampler of Informal Links

**** NOTICE: This is a 20+ year old page kept online for nostalgia.****
Please do not contact me with suggested additions or updates. THIS PAGE IS OBSOLETE!

Hyperlinked Table of Contents
Finding People for Free Fee Based Investigative Resources Search Engines Search Newsgroups and Mailing Lists Check Out Corporations and Associations Check Out Insurance Companies Check Out Lawyers Planes, Trains, Boats, Trucks  and Automobiles Products Liability
Medical Resources Banking Accounting Maps Travel  Houston Links  Dallas Links Miscellany Other Links Pages
Site Name or Subject Description
Directory Services:
Craig's Phone Finder Performs parallel search of other directory services, including Yahoo, WhoWhere, Switchboard,  Infospace, AnyWho and Worldpages, plus reverse searches by phone # or address and map links.
MelissaData Lookup Directory This eclectic melange of lookups isn't going to make you Sherlock (or Shirley) Holmes, but it's a useful compendium of free data.  Thanks to Lee Keller King for the suggestion
AnyWho A simple, fast way to search over 100 million directory listings. More up-to-date than some. Reverse directory too.
Bankruptcy Locator This free search will tell you whether the individual or business name you enter is listed in a bankruptcy filing since January 1992. This search will tell you the date, name, city and state.
Bigfoot So-so white pages, yellow pages, web pages and e-mail searches.
Information USA Listings for 113 million households and 10 million businesses
Info Space Search telephone directories in USA, Canada and other countries. Also yellow pages search, E-mail finder, corporate directory, Toll free number database, fax number database, and government telephone number directory. An excellent, wide-ranging site.
LYCOS People Finder Search a massive telephone database
Switchboard A simple, quick way to find almost anyone, anywhere who has a listed phone number.
WhoWhere Find E-mail addresses and phone numbers from among 90 million U.S. listings. Also, toll-free numbers, yellow pages and corporate web site locator
WorldPages Links to 112 million U.S. and Canadian white and yellow pages listings, but most valuable for its links to over 200 directories worldwide.
YAHOO People Search Conduct surname searches via a national criss-cross directory. Locate E-mail addresses, home pages and phone numbers.
Reverse Directory Services:
Reverse Directory: InfoUSA Both a people finder and a reverse directory: If you know the phone number, this database will return the subscriber's name and address
Reverse Directory: InfoSpace This directory offers reverse lookup by phone number, fax number, U.S. street address and e-mail address!
Reverse Directory: DM411 Another reverse directory that will return the subscriber's name and address when you input the phone number
Resources for Finding People:
Birthday Database Over 130 million birthdays online in a free searchable database.  Search by name, limit by zip code.
Social Security Death Index Find information about persons whose death triggered a Social Security benefit (e.g., social security number, dates of birth and death and place of residence).
Black Book Online A helpful, free collection of links to investigative resources warns that it is "for professional investigators ONLY. If you are not a private investigator, or in the legal, insurance, collection, journalistic or law enforcement professions."
Search Systems Public Record Locator This comprehensive links list is free, well-organized and includes many gems.  It's definitely worth a look.
"Searching for People" page Links to resources for finding people
Missing Persons Resource Center Articles and book descriptions on professional methods for skip tracing.
Webgator Excellent list of online investigative resources
Accurint The newest kid on the block for skip tracing.  What sets it apart is not just the high quality of its data, but its pricing: just dirt cheap.  Accurint can find people for a quarter and will deliver a neat little dossier of addresses, relatives, neighbors and more in seconds, for under five bucks.  The interface is intuitive and intelligent, and the system allows users to track usage by account or client number and authorize use by others within an account.  The owner of the account can set additional user IDs and passwords, as well as program access limits for authorized sub-users.  Although currently geared to not much more than skip tracing, UCC filings and phone numbers, Accurint expects to be adding drivers’ license records for thirty-three states along with criminal records data.  On a scale from one to wow, Accurint is a WOW!
Public Data This inexpensive but increasingly dated database contains records of licensed drivers, sex offenders, voters, vehicle license tags, criminal records and voter rolls. Search license records by name, or DL# and learn name, address, weight, birth date, sex, expiration date, status, class and restrictions. Although principally a Texas resource, it also offers DMV and/or DL information for Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Flat Rate Info If you are a bulk user of skip trace and dog tag data, this powerful site may be a good bet.  True to its name, allows subscribers unlimited access to its database of credit headers, property ownership, phone numbers, etc. for a single flat rate.  But, with annual subscription rates starting at $1,400.00, the service only makes sense for those conducting thousands of searches per year, in such fields as collections, mailing list updates and HR departments at large organizations.  If you have the budget and the volume, this is a great tool.
URAPI Texas only.  The new kid on the block offers a few bells and whistles not found on, including a handy "tag records" feature.  Although they claim that URAPI (you-rap-ee) stands for “Uniform Rapid Assessment of Public Information," what an amazing coincidence that it also sounds like "You are a P.I."  Pricing is painless ($20.00 for 200 searches), but they still need to work out some of the bugs. 
US Search This heavily-publicized company does a reasonably good job of skip-tracing and background checking.  They are pleasant and helpful, while offering a very quick turnaround and live telephone support outside regular business hours..
Information for Business A reliable resource with reasonable prices and toll-free telephone support. This well-run outfit offers just about any type of data you could want and an impressive turnaround time for basic reports. The helpful people give this service an edge.  Highly recommended.
American Information Network Purchase reports re: bankruptcies, birth records, business background info, credit reports, death records, driving records, education verification, employment history, financial information, judgments, skip trace, media reports, pleasure craft/FAA registrations, criminal records, professional licensure, property ownership, tax liens, etc.
Dataland This attractive and well-organized site offers the full range of skip-trace and asset identification data.  Be warned that some of the data they are offering for sale is currently available online without charge (e.g., Social Security death records, surname searches, OSHA reports, FAA records, etc.).
Texas Department of Public Safety Convictions Records Database This site allows you to obtain information about criminal conviction and felony deferred adjudication records maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Courts and criminal justice agencies throughout the state submit these records to DPS. Searches cost $3.15 each and you can pay online with a credit card.
InformUs Driving records nationwide, Workers' comp. claim searches in 40 States, criminal recordnationwide, previous employment verifications in 72 hours, national credit and address information.

FREE to check validity and state/time of issuance for any S.S.#.

KnowX A reasonably priced (and partially free) search engine for millions of public records, including real property ownership, bankruptcies, assets, UCC filings and many more.
Locate Fast Claims to have a billion records online. $1.75 per credit header search (name, SS#, address, phone).
LocateMe Search selected public records (principally voter and DMV records) of all 50 states for $39.00 per search.
National Association of Investigative Specialists A fascinating conglomeration of investigative resources, spy equipment, skip trace resources, P.I. publications, etc.
Craig Ball’s Search Central Use all major search engines via one simple interface. Not selling anything!
Google This is the best search engine in the world.  A very fast, often relevant search engine that is less likely than some to be misled by metatags and other techniques used to draw users to sites.
Dogpile This inelegantly-named site permits simultaneous searches of every part of the Internet using all major search engines
All The Web More than 200 million URLs indexed and very fast search capabilities.
Alta Vista Key word searches
Yahoo Topical search engine. Very user friendly.
Beaucoup Extraordinarily comprehensive links to all manner of search engines (over 800 listed) and reference sources. Perhaps the ultimate in one-stop searching.
Savvy Search Another parallel search engine that allows you to check 17 major search resources in one fell swoop.
Google Groups
 Search through E_mail in USENET newsgroups and mailing lists for specific subjects. You can sift through more than 40,000 discussion forums, plus newsgroups and mailing lists (700,000,000 messages!).
Tax Exempt Organizations Search the IRS' directory of tax exempt organizations by name, city and state.
Hoover's Corporate Information Profiles of corporations (some free, some fee-based) and relevant links. An excellent first stop for corporate information.
Lexis The old familiar legal research tool is a superb way to identify the registered agent for service of process and other key information about any registered corporation, PA or PC. Goto TXSOS (for Texas Secretary of State Records) (Fee based). You can search Lexis and Nexis via the Internet if you are a current subscriber by using the URL:  telnet:// Tell them your terminal type is ".vt100"
SEC EDGAR Archives Online corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tx. Sect'y of State Records The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts offers access to selected (and in my experience incomplete) Texas Secretary of State corporate information, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.  Lexis does a much better job, but this information is free.
Report Gallery Many links to corporate annual reports and web sites
A. M. Best Address, phone number and rating for insurance companies
Insurance Company Locator Names, addresses and phone numbers for about a trillion insurance carriers Ostensibly unbiased consumer information about auto, home and life insurance, including insurance company ratings from Standard & Poor's. Includes insurance links by state and a library of carrier lawsuits.
Texas Dept. of Insurance Many useful items here, including lists of authorized insurers and agents, disciplinary actions and consumer rights information.
State Bar of Texas Attorney Database Obtain the registered data, current license status and State Bar Number or all Texas attorneys. 
The Bluesheet Online guide to verdicts and settlements in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri and Louisiana (free and fee based resources available)
Martindale-Hubble The online version of the ubiquitous lawyer's decorative books. MH lets you find just about any lawyer in America.
Texas Electronic Ethics Reporter Online ethics opinions
West's Legal Directory Offers basic information on over 800,000 lawyers. Yikes!
Aviation Databases An extensive collection of searchable databases of aircraft ownership, registration, pilot licensure, etc.
Coast Guard Vessel Database Search the United States Coast Guard's database of vessels (crafts >5tons) by vessel name.   To search by vessel I.D. number, click here.
Commercial Interstate Carriers Search the Department of Transportation's SAFER database.  Searchable by firm name, DOT Number and Motor Carrier number. If you catch the D.O.T. number stenciled on the cab of a tractor trailer, you can use this database to get the truck's owner, insurance carrier, and crashes in the last two years.
Air Transport data The Bureau of Transportation Statistics Office of Airline Information (OAI) database
Airworthiness Directives Contains malfunction and defect reports on aircraft and parts.
NTSB Accident Briefs A searchable database of National Transportation Safety Board aircraft accident briefs
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Regulations, standards, recalls and a host of other automotive safety information.
NHTSA Recalls Information on recalled vehicles, organized by year and model.
US Dept. of Transportation Handsome site links to government agencies with oversight function for trains, planes, automobiles and boats. Search a massive library and regulatory database. A great resource.
Accident Reconstruction Resources Extensive list of Internet links, addresses and phone numbers of accident reconstruction resources, including reconstruction software packages
Kelly Blue Book How much is that car worth? FREE online access to the massive market value database (both wholesale and retail values available)
Chemical Health & Safety Data Toxicity and Safety data on chemicals of every stripe. Sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Services
ATSDR The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry offers Data on toxic and hazardous substances
Standards and Specs Comprehensive links to standards for just about anything you can imagine.
U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Admin. Complete OSHA standards online, plus links to other safety and health sites.
Material Safety Data Sheets Alphabetical compilation of Material Safety Data Sheets for virtually any compound.
Consumer Product Safety Commission The US Consumer Product Safety Comm. shares recall info. and publications. This site is especially good for toy safety advisories.
Construction Criteria Base An online construction industry library detailing codes, standards, specification and documentation of every stripe pertaining to the construction industry. Subscription only except for free access to the Unified Facilities Guide Specifications.
The Consumer Law Page Defective Product Resource Page This useful compilation of resources (primarily geared to promote California's The Alexander Law Firm), offers a host of information about defective products and lists many links to other resources.
Intellectual Property Resources "One stop shopping" for online patent and trademark resources
Delphion Patent Server Database of millions of U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patent descriptions from 1971 to present, and graphics from 1790 to present.  Search for patents by number or by words in the inventor, title, abstract, assignee, agent, and claims fields. Each patent links to all others in that classification.  Also contains data on foreign patents.  Limited free access.
Craig's Managed Care Links A concise list of links of use to persons litigating managed care liability cases.
American Medical Association Offers online member database
PubMed The Nat'l Library of Medicine gives FREE access to the 12 million+ citations in MedLine.
Medscape Medscape offers free access to Medline, Toxline and Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary, as well as tens of thousands of full-text articles covering a range of medical specialties. An excellent, fast-growing and easy-to-use resource. Think of it as "Yahoo M.D."
Merck Manual The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, now in its 17th edition, is the best all-around medical reference source out there. Thank you Merck & Co.
New England Journal of Medicine Non-subscribers have access to abstracts of online articles back to 1975 and full text of articles more than six months old.
The Visible Human They froze some folks solid, scanned the heck out of them, sliced them up thinner than pastrami and photographed it all. An amazing, massive database of anatomical information and stunning pictures.
American Bankers Association One of American banking's most influential lobbying organization. Banking links, products, services and professional education.
List of Bank Internet Sites This site claims to link to over 95% of all online bank sites.
American Banker Online Headlines, financial data and a free two week trial subscription.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas The official home page of the Dallas Fed, "the Banker's Bank." Offers publications, economic data and links to other Fed resources.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation This comprehensive site offers much of use to commercial bankers, including downloadable FFIEC forms, full-text searching of FDIC rules and regulations and detailed financial data on individual banks (making it easier to keep an eye on the competition).
National Information Center The Fed's National Information Center of Banking Information. Offers data on bank organizational structures and finances.
Currency Exchange Rates Daily unofficial average cross rates for major international currencies. Slick, but easy to use.
Banking Law Online Why waste money on high-priced lawyers? Free online access to the text of Federal and state bank regulations and federal appellate decisions. Read it and you'll quickly realize why you hire the lawyers.
Bank Rate Monitor Geared to consumers of banking services, offers mortgage, home equity loan, savings, credit card and checking account rates. Also tracks ATM fees and online banking fees for >2,500 institutions, surveyed weekly in 117 mkts. and 50 states.
Credit Unions The National Credit Union Administration is an independent federal agency that supervises and insures 6,814 federal credit unions and insures 4,181 state-chartered credit unions.
Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants The TSCPA hosts an excellent webpage offering information on CPE programs, an archive of "Today's CPA" magazine articles, member news and a concise but well-selected links page.
SmartPros Accounting Billing itself as "the complete online resource for accounting professionals," this energetic site includes an online research facility and a thriving forum for accounting professionals (recent topic: "Are accountants stuffy or is it me?"),
American Institute of CPAs Conference information, a wealth of online publication and industry news and a comprehensive links page save this otherwise dry-as-dust site.
AuditNet Resource List An excellent overview of online accounting resources. If it's in English, on the 'Net somewhere and concerns accounting, it's probably listed here.
IRS Tax Forms and Publications If forced to say something nice about the Service, I'd mention its website. All the major reporting forms and publications are online here, in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) "file ready" format.
IRS Tax Regulations Although not the easiest site to navigate, the regulations are all here.
Texas Tax Codes Plain and simple site links to the full text of the various Texas tax codes.
Texas Taxes With links to reporting forms in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format and much useful tax data, this is one of the best state-sponsored sites around.
Expedia Maps Microsoft modestly calls this site "the best resource for online maps." It's not. I guess if the map is wrong, Bill Gates buys the town and moves it.
MapQuest Free atlas, personalized maps of any location and driving directions
Map-Related WebSites Comprehensive list of online map resources. This is a map lover's paradise!
MapBlast Another good site that gives you a map if you give it an address, or even an intersection.
TerraServer Online free satellite imagery of virtually every place in the U.S. and many populated locations throughout the world.
Savvy Traveler Okay, I'm biased.  This is my wife's link site, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an intelligent and handy resource for the savvy traveler (or the person who wants to be one). The online realm of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. A lovely photo gallery, useful online forums and editor's choices make this site special.
Expedia Microsoft's online travel planner. It offers some fine features, including flight status information and 360 degree travel views.
Fodor's Travel Online An excellent site, especially useful for locating restaurants and hotels and for travel tips. But, you have to wonder why Houston --the 4th largest city in the US-- is omitted entirely!
Frommer's This "Outspoken Encyclopedia of Travel" principally promotes the many books and resources in the Arthur Frommer series. Still, very useful.
Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door Public TV's goofy travel guru knows his stuff when it comes to enjoying Europe on the cheap. Pack light and check this site (especially the comments in the "graffiti" section) before you go.
Realtime Flight Tracking Free, up-to-the-minute data on planes in flight between major U.S. cities. Superimposed on a weather map.  Very cool!
Travelocity Good all-round general database, and a good place to start to check flight connections, prices and availability.
Yahoo Travel Yahoo's portal to travel information is characteristically simple and includes reservation links. Although it boasts a few travel goodies, this site remains little more than a search engine, and only tangentially a content provider.
Houston CitySearch Slick and savvy guide to movies, restaurants, art & music and entertainment in and around the Houston area
Harris County Appraisal District HCAD offers on-line appraisal information and maps, searchable by name, address or account number. Business, personal and mineral property too.
Houston Area Weather Local weather observations and forecast. Includes current radar and satellite views.
Houston Area Realtime Traffic This page is a bona fide glimpse into the future. Cars with transponders are electronically interrogated at 1 to 5 mile intervals along freeways and HOV lanes. Their speed data is sent to a central computer that calculates travel times and builds this Internet map.
Houston Chronicle Online Houston's "leading Information source" has staked out its corner of the Web. A searchable archive of more than ten years of the late Houston Post and the Chronicle is available online.
Houston Code of Ordinances The City of Houston's Code of Ordinances is online at this site.
HPD Crime Statistics Interested in a detailed breakdown of all the reported major crimes in your Houston neighborhood?  Check out the Houston Police Department's Crime Stats page.  It's a bit cumbersome to figure out your police beat, but the data should be less than three weeks old.
Lake Conroe Webcam A realtime view out the window of the Ball family lake house on Lake Conroe: "Houston's Playground." Just for fun.
North Dallas Chamber of Commerce The North Dallas Chamber serves as a forum for discussion and action on the vital issues of the business community and helps promote the development and continued success of its members.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) DART on the Web. Slick site offers system maps and service info.
D/FW Air Traffic Control Listen to LIVE conversations between air traffic controllers and pilots of aircraft arriving and departing the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Yahoo's Guide to Dallas/Fort Worth Comprehensive guide to D/FW Internet resources. The best place to start.
Dallas Morning News Read the top stories in the morning paper and search past issues.
Dallas Weather Live link to WFAA Dallas storm track radar
Dallas Fire and Police Scanner Listen to LIVE Dallas police and fire department scanner broadcasts. Car 54 where are you?
Southwest Airlines Is there another way to get in and out of Dallas? If you buy your tickets online, you receive double flight credit on the RapidRewards program. Thanks Herb!
Texas Appraisal Districts Online A hyperlinked list of more than sixty Texas county appraisal districts that have their records online. A simple, quick way to find people and assets.
Texas County Data Billed as "Texas' Largest Online Property Record Database," this excellent site offers free, detailed searches (by owner name or property address) of real property ownership and appraisal data for 27 Texas counties. The database includes Montgomery and Fort Bend counties, but Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties are notably absent. For Harris County property records, use
State Records A hyperlinked directory of a variety of state records online-- mostly corporations, licenses and real estate.
FEDEX Track Fedex packages by airbill number. Query: If you get something from the opposition,can you run sequential airbill numbers to see to whom else they are sending FedExpackages? Probably a real bad idea, ethically speaking.
UPS Track any UPS bar-coded shipment and find out where it is at this very moment.
E-Bay What can I say? I’m an e-Bay junkie. This online auction lists over 3.8 million items for sale. A cautious buyer can get incredible deals. If you collect anything, e-Bay will likely prove the best, cheapest source for what you seek.
Political Contributions Search Federal Election Commission records of political contributions. Which way do you suppose the judge leans if she gave $1,000.00 to "The Newt?"
Automatic Translator You've got to love this!  Enter any text, or even the URL of a web page, and this free service automatically translates it to or from Spanish, French, German, Italian or Portuguese.  
Webcams One of many Webcam link pages. "Around the World in Eighty Clicks" links to realtime images of people and places all over the world.
FACSNET Master directory of online resources used by news reporters (most are fee-based services)
Handy Terrific Links for Attorneys The name says it all.  This is the one page mega-list that covers the waterfront.   A great start page for busy lawyers and executives.
Search Systems Okay, I'm impressed.  More than 8,800 free public data resources linked from this site, sensibly indexed both topically and geographically.  Somebody deserves a medal for this one!
Attorney's Toolbox An interesting and useful hodge-podge of sites assembled by a California attorney
CEOExpress CEOExpress is comprehensive, quick and easy. A great resource!
Nations' Legal Links Houston personal injury attorney Howard Nations maintains a well-organized and comprehensive links site of particular use to lawyers. His brain injury links are especially noteworthy.
Texas Almanac LinksThe Texas Almanac offers a nice selection of links to Texas reference sources and agencies.
WashLaw WEBThis simple interface (by Washburn Univ. Law School)  leads to a huge body of legal research resources.

Am I missing a great link that you're sure belongs on this list?
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