Neil Smith My Favourite Tipples from an Investigative Researcher
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Wednesday, 19th November 2014 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Click for printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added Tweet about this item on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

By Neil Smith


My Favourite Tipples are shared by Neil Smith, a specialist in open source intelligence techniques. He shares some of his favourite online resources in areas from domain names to sources for tracking and tracing people.


As an investigative researcher I only use open source resources to complete my enquiries, which I regularly undertake for a number of corporate clients, insurance companies and other investigators.

Over the last 10 years I have also trained these techniques to mostly people inside law enforcement and as part of my courses I run a website at which is free to use on your investigations (but not to copy) and which has around 500 useful links on the Favorites page. Most of these databases are free to use but I am often asked which databases are worth paying for, as there are lots of them out there and most people only have a limited budget.

  • DomainTools: There are two databases that are essential for anyone regularly looking at domain names. The first is DomainTools and costs about £200 a year. Although there are many sites that give you free domain information, the ability to do the historic "WhoIs" with a DomainTools account makes it worth the money.
  • PRSS: The second domain names database is the PRSS tool with This account costs £400 a year and lets you have a fairly unlimited searching of the registration details of the .uk domain name database. This has helped me on numerous cases over the last few years, easily locating additional domains and websites linked to an individual.
  • Connexus: I know a database such as E-Trace or their new database ConnexusIQ from the GB Group is so much more than just an electoral roll site but it helps to describe it. If you are tracing or researching people in the UK it is fairly essential. In addition to being able to search by an address and the edited electoral roll, you can also search against 74 million email addresses, 100 million landline telephone numbers and 33 million mobile numbers. 
  • FindMyPast and Ancestry: These are two popular accounts for genealogy and it is personal preference which you have an account with but for around a £100 a year one of these accounts is essential for linking and tracing people. Whilst I am not interested in tracing my own family tree, using genealogy sites got me into online research as I had need to prove a link between two apparently unconnected people on a car accident enquiry a few years ago.
  • Factiva: For online newspaper databases, Factiva is hard to beat, giving access to millions of news articles from around the world via an easy to use search page. 

If you are paying for these accounts then make the most of them and use them to their fullest. The more you use them the more you will realise how much information they have and how useful they are.

Even after being in this role for well over 10 years I regularly read articles on FreePint, including My Favourite Tipples, as I find them of great benefit to me in my job. If I find just one new useful website or database that will assist me in my research and enquiries then it is time well spent. You can never know everything, so it is always worth learning from others.

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