Public records take many varieties ranging from birth and death certificates to property and military records. Fundamentally, anything that is recorded by a county, city, state, or federal agency could be obtainable to the general public. The Privacy Act and The Freedom of Information Act are two federal acts that depict the types of data and interrelated information that are obtainable to the public. Because so many agencies are caught up in recording events such as deaths, births, marriages, lawsuits, adoptions, criminal convictions, property tax assessments, tax delinquencies, and so on, an equivalent number of agencies are involved in managing and storing those records. Because of this, finding particular public records involves first classifying whether the information is managed locally or at the state, county, or federal level.
Finding Public Records at the Local Level
Public data at the local level is generally related to public agency records such as city council meeting minutes, ballot applications, ordinances, and local building sanctions. Most personal records such as birth and marriage certificates are handled at the state or county level. Other than city records, do not neglect the possibility of finding local records from cemeteries and churches.
Finding Public Records at the County Level
For recent deaths, births, marriages, and other dealings involving public information, the county clerk’s office may be your primary stop. These records are issued at the county level though ultimately, they are reassigned to the state. If you need to find older death, birth, and marriage records, your subsequent stop is the state. Remember that you have to search for the state or county where the event took place.
Finding Public Records at the State Level
All states have an administrative center that handles public information. This office is usually part of the state’s public health division and may be termed the “Office of Vital Statistics.” Because the names do diverge slightly, head to your state’s website and enter the words “public records” into the search engine and you will possibly find the correct bureau or division handling these essential statistics. In order to acquire a copy of death certificates, birth certificates, matrimony licenses, and other public documents, you will have to fill out an application requesting the testimony. You may need to confirm that you are qualified to ask for that record. For instance, if the birth information that you need is not in the public sphere, you must be able to verify that you have an official right to access it.
Finding Public Records at the Federal Level
Federal records consist of military records, immigration records, federal court records, and other documents correlated to federal issues. Like county and state records research, you will have to contact the particular agency involved.
Public records consist of minute private information and preferences of a person and are meant to be made accessed by the people practically without any cost, many organizations accumulate database obtaining these records from diverse resources and make use of them commercially.