How To Perform A Public Records Search:
Public records often contain an incredible amount of important information about people and their lives. They contain information on personal milestones but unlike sealed records (for example, medical or bank) public records are openly available.
In the past, the only way to access records on someone was to visit a local court house or municipality and request the information in person. Technology has brought many of these records online and available digitally. For a small fee you may be able to access them without leaving your home. To aid in your search we have tried to collect and provide information on as many of these government offices as we can.
Facts To Know About Public Records
- Access to them is governed by state and federal laws. Federally, the Freedom of Information Act (among other things) serves as a guideline for what information is within and outside of public record. However, the information that is readily available in each county may vary widely from state to state.
- Information that may be available includes but is not limited to: vital records (including birth, death, marriage, divorce and civil unions), Court docket/proceedings, adult criminal records (minors are typically sealed), child/sex offender registration, property information ( including assessed value), professional trade and business licensing.
- Since these records are public, you may not need a relationship with the person whom you are searching for information on (sometimes you do need a photo id). Government offices such as courthouses, property, ancestry offices and other agencies often have specific procedures for how they allow information to be accessed.
- If you require an official copy or certificate, be prepared that there will likely be a small fee associated with the document. Then, of course, there is the time it takes you to locate the correct government office and travel there (if needed), but aside from this, the records search itself is usually free.
If you are having a hard time finding particular information, keep in mind, sometimes particular information is withheld from public documents and may not be part of the records that are accessible to the public. If that is the case, you may not be able to find what you are looking for.
Looking For Public Records?
Have you ever needed to conduct a records search and not known how or where to go? Every month millions of people seek access to information contained in public records. Some of them are perhaps, are looking for copies of birth or death certificates. Others may be researching someone's marital status. In any case, this information can often be found publicly; you just have to know how to access it.
Finding Local Records Offices
Depending on the type of record you are searching for you will likely be able to find it by accessing your local county records office. To aid you with this we offer a directory with contact information to many of these offices.
You can also visit our state records page, click the state which you reside and begin your records search that way. Depending upon the size of your state and county, you may find the information you need on our state page or you may need to dig further to your specific county page. If this is the case, you can usually find a link to the county page at the bottom of the state one.
Finally, if you would rather you can access your county's page, by using our search box above. Simply select from the drop down your state then county push search and we will direct you to the appropriate page.