What Are Public Records?
They are documents, and various forms of information kept by government offices, which are mandated by law to store and maintain certain records. Public records, are available by law, according to the Freedom of Information Act, to any U.S. citizen that requests to see them.
We understand that you may not have a lot of experience with public records, these documents are very common and are used by people who research genealogy or legal matters. Some public records resources include:
- Court dockets
- Census records and data
- Criminal records
- Property information
- Sex offender databases
- Professional and business licenses
- Voter registration
- Real estate appraisal records
- Residential addresses
- Bankruptcy information
Court Dockets: This is an official summary of the legal proceedings in a court of law. Court dockets provide lots of information on sentencing, convictions and criminal charges. They also help to determine if an individual is undergoing any court proceedings even though no charges may have been filed.
Census Records and Data : A census is performed every 10 years to record key statistics for tracking certain trends in the U.S. population. These metrics may include telephone number, gender, name, number of people living in a given household, ownership status of properties, ethnicity, date of birth, ethnicity and race. Often, this data is necessary for cross-referencing information and confirming residency or identity. In the national and state levels, it also used to legislate policy, and track demographic changes.
Criminal Records: Whether in the U.S. or abroad, when someone commits a crime, there is a record of it somewhere. These are public records which are kept at the county, state, or federal levels. Many countries keep their own records of traffic violations, felonies, and other misdemeanors, but the International Criminal Court maintains records and proceedings for crimes not limited to a single country (major crimes).
Professional and Business Licenses: Government agencies issue permits and commercial licenses to enable individuals or companies conduct business. Such records help to link certain persons to a commercial address or business. They are also useful to ascertain whether a company has broken the law in the past in the course of conducting business.
Sex Offender Databases: These databases are a list of any individuals which have committed a sex crime. An individual can never be removed from this registry, unless a reversal in convicition occurs, either due to emerging evidence or testimony. This database are useful when a household migrates to a new neighborhood, or looking to place their child in a different school. However, local law enforcement will fill you in whenever a sex offender migrates to your neighbourhood.
Voter Registration: These are necessary to ensure a healthy, thriving democracy, as well as associating individuals with any political party, state, or county. The rules may vary by state, however, any individual above the age of 18, must register with appropriate authorities if they wish to vote during an election. This information provided during registration becomes public record.
Real Estate Appraisal Records: This may often be referred to as a land violation, and simply denotes the value of a property or its official estimate. The appraisals are done by professionals and entered into public records. If you’re looking to get a new home or purchase a commercial building, Real Estate Appraisal Records will be very helpful.
Residential Addresses: This is an official address of an individual at any point in time. Over the course of an individual’s life, residential addresses change often, so records of past and previous addresses are very necessary.
Property Information: Aside appraisal records and addresses, other information regarding properties may also be useful to you, which include tax liens, previous ownership, purchase history and the neighborhood crime data. If you wish to locate an old friend or acquire a new property, its public record information should come in handy.
Bankruptcy Information: When it has been decided that a person can no longer pay their debts, they declare bankruptcy. Such declaration enables that person to be free from the debts, either through discharge or restructuring. This is an important public record, especially if you wish to ascertain the financial history of someone unknown to you.