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Public Records: Why Are They So Important?

Public Records
Public Records, What are Public Records, Public Records Search
By Rachel M.
3 years ago

What Are Public Records and to Perform a Public Records Search

Public records have become increasingly important in the past few years, as they became available via the internet, making it easier for people to access such records. Why are public records so important? The short answer is that public records catalog vital information about people, allowing them to get complete records of their lives whenever necessary. Public records can also reveal a great deal of information about people in your life, and if you are wondering why such records are so important and how you can get access to them, here are the answers.

What are Public Records?

Public records are files that contain information that is not confidential, either about the government or about individuals. Public records contain data that is gathered by official authorities, such as courts, and maintained in computerized and paper files.

Public records provide details about government conduct, guarantying transparency, and social critique when necessary. Personal public records, i.e. public records about people provide data about individuals that allows to find out valuable details about people for various reason.

Public Records

Public records and a public record search became possible in 1966, upon the legislation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that allows the public to access federal public records and personal records. In the United States, each state has its laws and regulations regarding public records, meaning that while certain such records are available in one state, they will not be available in another state. These laws, known as 'sunshine laws' state the government information is the property of the people.

Types of Public Records in the United States

When referring to people's public records, the following are the records that are available to the public:

  • Vital records – vital records include birth records, death records, marriage records, and divorce records. Such public records reveal people's date of birth and age, allowing us to confirm personal information and the identity of people.
  • Court records – certain court records are public records, such as liens, foreclosure records, eviction records, civil judgments, bankruptcies, and marriage and divorce records (marriage and divorce are court proceedings)
  • Arrest records – mugshots, arrest warrants, traffic violations, convictions, and more.
  • Sex offender records – convicted sex offender must register themselves with law enforcement agencies, and information about such offenders is available to the public. Sex offender records include the names of sex offenders, their mugshots, the crimes they were convicted for, place of residence, and more.
  • Contact information – much like in the old Yellow Pages, contact and business information is available to the general public. These types of public records provide information, such as name, location, phone carrier, additional phone numbers, and more about individuals and businesses.

The information available in public records greatly relies on each state's laws and the regulations set by agencies that provide access to public records.

What are Public Records

Public Records Search - How to Find Public Records in Each State?

As mentioned before, there are agencies, such as vital records offices, in each state that collect and maintain public records. Every agency holds different types of public records, but the access request process is similar for every agency:

  1. Fill out a request form (in person or online)
  2. Detail which records you are searching
  3. Pay for each copy of the records
  4. Wait until the copies of the records are ready (may take up to several weeks)

Depending on the type of public records that you are searching for, the number of copies you need, the state in which the search is conducted, and the agency that provide you public records access, each search can become quite costly.

If you need public records about several people, you might have to pay quite a hefty sum of money. To save yourself money and get quick access to public records, you can use an online public records search directory, like the one available to you on

Such websites have access to billions of public records of all kinds, allowing you to find data about people from all over the country. To find the information that you need, you can perform a search based on people's names/phone numbers/addresses. So, if for instance, you want to find details about an individual based on his/her phone number, you can perform a reverse phone number search and find public records related to said person.

Public Records Search

Each search lasts several minutes, so you can have quick access to public records online. Also, you do not need to pay for each search. With ProPeopleSearch, you will pay a monthly fee, which will provide you with unlimited searches with your subscription.

Public records are a vital tool that allows you to find information about government agencies as well as individuals. Thanks to public records, you can find out the truth about the people in your life in a quick and easy way every time you need access to such records.

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