Find Out How to Lookup Public Records Online
In our day and age, with the explosion of the digital marketplace, essentially everything is more accessible to the than in the past, technology is spreading, and more services are available online. Due to the expanded marketplace, services are not just more accessible, but also cheaper. One of these services is online background checks which provide public access to public records.
These public records are useful for a number of reasons. It can help you find old friends, lost relatives, classmates or past flames. If you are looking to employ someone, these records will provide you with background information about the person who is applying for employment. If you are looking to start dating someone, these records can let you know if he was married in the past or has a criminal record. This article will provide you with a guide on how to easily lookup public records online and provide you with the 20 best services online both free and paid.
What are Public Records
Public records are records that are deemed necessary to be released by government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1966. This act requires government agencies to maintain and make available certain records to the public. While this information is technically public, states grant different degrees of accessibility to these records some allow only the owners of these records to access them, while some allow anyone to access them. There are various types of information available from the release of these public records but the ones that are usually of use to individuals are:
Criminal Records- These records are created and kept by various law enforcement agencies like the police or sheriff's office in order to keep track of a person’s criminal past. These records usually include the reason for the arrest, if the person was convicted or not as well as a physical description such as identifying marks, age, race, height, and height. It may also include last known addresses and known aliases.
Contact Information- Some websites will take information from public records as well as other data sources like surveys, and magazine subscriptions in order to find the contact information of any individual. Most records of this type will be able to provide you with an address and a phone number as well as an email address and in a rare case a cell phone number.
Vital Records- Vital record is a term that covers four different types of important records. Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. These records typically include the place, date and time of these events.
Where to Find Public Records Online
Public records can be found at the government agencies that are responsible for keeping those records. For example, a marriage record can be found in the county office where the marriage took place. You will need to know where the event took place as well as the full name of the parties involved in order to access the information. Similarly with criminal records, if you want to find an arrest record, you will need to know the county where the arrest took place and find the arresting agency in order to locate the records.
However, you can also use a background search service. These sites aggregate millions of public records including vital records, census data, criminal records and more and put them into a massive database. The site then acts as a platform to make these records searchable based on basic information like full name and location.
These are the 20 best sites to use when looking for public records:
TruthFinder is a well-trusted background check service. This site provides its users with a simple way to look up public records online. TruthFinder has an algorithm that scans the hundreds of millions of public records that it has in its database as well as social network data and more. The service will then provide you with a report about the person you are looking for with all the relevant information about the person included. TruthFinder specializes in finding criminal, police and arrest records but also has many other public records in their database. The cost for this service starts at about 30 dollars a month but will allow you to run an unlimited amount of searches.
GoLookUp is one of the more trusted background search companies on the web. The way the company works is also by collecting public records available under the FOIA and aggregating them into a database. The site allows its users to conduct unlimited searches for any public records that are available in their expansive database. The search works by inputting the full name and location of the person you wish to search for. Following this, you will be forwarded to another page that will ask you to identify the person you are trying to research, you will be able to identify the person by age and relatives. GoLookUp does not offer a free trial, but they do offer a 2 day trial for 1 dollar after which you will pay 23 dollars a month for the service.
The National Archives covers an immense amount of historical records ranging from court proceedings to military and immigration records. This website is convenient if you are looking for a historical record. Generally, records that are newer are not held by the National Archives and are still in the possession of individual agencies that are responsible for these records. When trying to access older records, you can find records in the National Archives by running a search through their online catalog.
CheckPeople is another background search company founded to allow its users to locate public records in an easy manner. This site also aggregates millions of public records in its database and lets its users search an unlimited amount of times for $27.65 per month. Public records search using CheckPeople will provide you with any public records that exist in its database ranging from court dockets and birth certificates to property information and criminal records. The way these service works is similar to the other background check sites, you will have to insert the name and location of your query and then it will ask you to select the correct person based on their age and relatives. You will then be prompted for payment and will receive a full report.
PeopleLooker is a customer-focused and customer-driven service that separates them from the competition. PeopleLooker avoids the bait-and-switch approach that some competitors use by making it clear what their reports contain and what limitations their service may have. The site is very simple to use, with not a great deal of options and is ideal when a user just needs one search option.
BeenVerified is one of the more popular background check sites and has been used by millions of people in the past decade. The purpose of BeenVerified is to help people discover, understand, and use public data and works to provide people with access to public records that were formerly only available to big companies and people with deep pockets in a way that is easy, affordable, and fast.
Spokeo is a people search directory which was founded in 2006, the service provides users with information about people in the United States. You can run an extensive search which will grant you access to public records about any individual in the US. Spokeo will search through over 12 billion records that are aggregated on the site and provide results on any person you are searching for in the form of an online report.
Founded in 2003, Intelius offers a reliable place to search for people, telephone numbers, addresses, background checks, criminal records, and more. Many other sites use Intelius for their large collection of records. The interface of the website is very well designed allowing for a seamless search. Intelius has a trusted rating from both users and consumer reports.
US Search is a subsidiary site of People Connect Inc. which was founded in 1994. The company claims to have records of 1.5 billion people on the website, including almost 260 million in the US. The prices for US Search are very well rounded, ranging from $3 for a basic report detailing address history and relatives to 40$ for a very comprehensive report. A people search is their main service but the site will also provide you with public records about the individual you are searching for.
Since its inception in 1997, USA Trace offers a large array of online services. USA Trace described itself as a website dedicated to enabling people to find lost friends and family or any other person in the US. According to USA Trace, 43 Billion of online public records are hosted on the website's servers. Recently, USA Trace has developed a new partnership with PeopleFinders.com in order to combine their public records.
Instant CheckMate is one of several professional people search and background check sites these days rated very highly by its users. The company was founded in 2010 and is based in San Diego, California. One of the best features of Instant CheckMate is the people search. The search will provide results about people based on their name, city of residence, state of residence, middle name, and age. The results can provide a vast array of information including contact information, personal information, financial and professional Data, residential records, addresses, social media accounts, criminal/police records as well as civil judgments.
Pipl is one of the largest and most accurate people search engines. Using this service you can find information about individuals based on their name, phone number, email, and social media usernames. If you intend to use Pipl for personal purposes, it is free of charge.
The Justice Department website has a database of links that include both State and Federal court sources. You simply need to click on the state in which the record you are looking for is located and that will lead you to the various courts that exist in that area. There are two methods of locating the court, either through the interactive map on the website, or a text-based link resource. When you click on the state in which the record is located, you will be forwarded to a hyperlinked list of courts in that area.
Whitepages provides detailed background check reports about people in the United States; with Whitepages you can find contact information, property listings, addresses, criminal records, liens, court records, and more. You can also track down people in the country and contact those you have lost touch with. The searches require you to provide the full name, phone number, address, or business name of the person/business you are searching to give you access to public records.
Mylife is a background check website that provides access to public records and allows you to monitor information registered to your name. With Mylife, you can find phone numbers, email addresses, education history, physical addresses, names of relatives and much more details about individuals and about yourself as well.
PeekYou is unique in the sense that it provides information based on social media usernames, email addresses, and web profiles. The site also provided its users with information from blogs, news sources, and websites, so you get this information in addition to the public records that are available on the site.
Center for Disease Control
For accessing public vital Records, the Center for Disease Control offers a useful database linking the relevant offices you will need to access the records. The service is free but it will only provide you with the correct address to find these records. This service is useful for people looking to find official public records.
You can run a search through all the public government records that are available online on the Freedom of Information Act website. You can begin by going to the bottom of the home page and selecting from a drop-down menu which government agency’s documents you want to search through. If the document you are looking for is not listed you can start the process on the website to request a document. A request that is very general, such as I want “everything you have on Vietnam”, or “all information on my cousin” will not get any results, you need to specify which document you want. This service is free if you can provide a reason why there should be a fee waiver.
Search Systems is a family-owned business that has organized over 70,000 databases by type and location to assist in finding a property, criminal, court, birth, death, marriage, divorce records, licenses, deeds, mortgages, corporate records, business registration, and many other public records. The service is free to search one city, county, or state at a time, but you will have to pay for premium service that allows you to search nationwide. This is a useful resource if you know the general area in which the record you are looking for is located. The site works by asking you to select the method of your search, you can choose by record type, state, county, or city.
National Center for State Courts (NCSC)
The National Center for State Courts is a non-profit organization that was founded at the behest a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in order to centralize court information to help with research and court improvement. While the organization was created for court purposes, it is also a valuable tool in accessing public records.
The NCSC website has a number of web tools to help both courts and individuals access case files, these tools include a database of links to state courts listed by the state in which they are located. You will need to locate the court in which a record is located and run a search on that website.