How to Search Free Public Records

Searching public records for information on an individual differs depending on which state and city you reside in. Most government public records are now kept online, so you can do your own background search on someone. However, don't be surprised if it takes a while to find the records you seek.

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Obtain all information that you can on the person including name, address and phone number, if available, before searching for background records or criminal records. Although many public records are online, don't underestimate the power of your local library. You can find many local public records through old newspaper clippings and articles. Start your search there if the individual is local.

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Use Google to look up the person's name, address or phone number. You might be surprised at what comes up. Google is one of the world's largest databases of information.

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Visit VitalRec, a website devoted to public record search. VitalRec does not automatically link you to the information but allows you to search by city and state. This website puts all the information you need to find vital records in one convenient place.

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Obituary searches are harder to conduct. If the person if local, head to your local library. Most libraries index old newspaper articles. In addition, there are sites online for searching obituaries. The Death Indexes site can aid you in your search, as can the Find A Grave website.

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Check with the U.S. government's official search engine, which can connect you with large databases of information. This site can open huge portals to the public records of the U.S. government, state governments and local governments.