What Are Public Records? How to Search Records & Free Tools

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Do you want to get some paramount details and information about a particular person in your life, be it your spouse or family member? Carrying out a public records search can make this possibly easy. This article provides you with detailed tips to do a public records search.

Every record created or submitted in the conduct of official government activity is considered a public record.

There are records that can be accessed by anybody including funeral notices, court documents, arrest or warrant information, vital statistics like birth and marriage dates, and legal documents like divorce decrees and wills.

These documents are now being digitized by several government bodies and made accessible online. Public record research may be done for a variety of purposes.

Public records may be found quickly and simply using one of the numerous free web services, which is useful whether you're compiling a family tree, anticipating an arrest record check for a job, or just plain nosy.

In this article, I am going to show you how to do a public records search with ease.

How to do a Public Records Search Online in 2024

Public Records

1. Check Out the Research Resources on The Internet

In order to complete your background check, you must go to the main website of the applicable local, regional, or national government agency or court.

If you're seeking a certain user's public records, it's important to provide their entire name while searching the platform's database.

Divorce and marriage records are usually kept by the state or county. The local secretary of state's office is the place to go for access to death certificates.

The National Archives platform and other immigration websites both allow you to look for immigrant records. In addition, documents from criminal and civil courts are often kept in county and district archives.

2. Seek Access to Official Records

Public documents, such as those pertaining to car registration and finances, may not be readily available online but may be obtained by submitting a request to the appropriate state or county agency.

If you need to file a public records request, you may do it through email, regular mail, or online form depending on the specific needs of the federal agency you're approaching.

Any individual or organization may submit a FOIA request for himself or on behalf of another.

Considering that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been in effect since 1967, it is only fair that citizens be able to seek and receive copies of public documents from any government agency.

Keep in mind that disclosure may be withheld if it is determined that doing so would threaten the safety of any individuals, the integrity of any ongoing investigations, or any ongoing law enforcement procedures.

3. Utilize Public Records Search Services

Checking public records might help you learn more about the individual you're researching.

A great deal of time can be saved by utilizing a person’s search tool to rapidly get details like addresses, phone numbers, and social media accounts.

These resources compile and index public documents, making them accessible through online search engines.

Top Public Records Search Tools

1. PeopleFinders


  • Pricing: Membership costs 24.95 USD monthly

PeopleFinders ranks as one of the oldest and most reliable people search engines available today. It allows users to search public records from more than 6,000 databases and access white page listings.

You can utilize PeopleFinder to track down a person if you have their address, phone number, or name. It includes data on financial resources, properties, criminal histories, social networks, and family trees.

Value-conscious consumers have determined that PeopleFinders provides the most affordable monthly pricing overall.

2. Spokeo


  • Pricing: Free basic plan

Spokeo is one of the best public records research tools. It provides you with detailed profiles of search results.

Spokeo can help you locate and get in contact with individuals as well. If you keep an active Spokeo account, you'll get new reports as they become available. When additional information is stored in databases, it updates your reports to include that data.

3. Instant Checkmate

Instant Checkmate

  • Pricing: Unlimited individual reports cost 34.78 USD monthly

Public records checks are Instant Checkmate's specialty, and they conduct their searches using an extensive database of public information. Important data regarding U.S. residents may be found here.

If you suspect someone of having a violent past, a criminal records check can be run on their name over the internet.

Information on criminal charges, sexual offences, petty offenses, and traffic infractions are all available via the public arrest records search engine. A person's history of arrests and prison terms are revealed.

4. TruthFinder


  • Pricing: Unlimited reports cost 28.05 USD monthly

With TruthFinder, you can locate just about anybody living in the United States. You may search through millions of government documents.

It compiles data from local, state, and national databases and does searches in them. The report's layout is straightforward while yet providing a wealth of information.


Q. Is public records search legal?

Definitely. In the United States, researching public records is not only possible but also legal. Public data held by government organizations are open to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that was enacted in 1967. Information that might compromise national security, invade private, or otherwise go against law enforcement regulations is the lone exception.

Q. How do I use online public records searches without violating the law?

When used for non-commercial reasons, searching public records is completely lawful. Everybody you have or could have a romantic or platonic relationship with, as well as your neighbors, acquaintances, and relatives, are fair game for a background search.

Q. What are the advantages of searching public records?

If you're concerned about your personal security, you should do public records check to get papers that provide crucial information about other individuals. The identities and background information of other people have been verified via public documents. The information they provide provides insight into your loved ones' pasts and personalities.


Getting to know the individuals in your life might be difficult, so a public records check may be in order. And besides, public records are a great resource for verifying an individual's identity and learning about their background.

Data stored in public archives may be accessed by anybody who is interested. Despite the fact that the public may see these documents, it doesn't imply they're easily accessible online or come at no cost.

Thus, it is essential that you acquire the skills necessary to efficiently and effectively research public records.

With the tips and guidelines, I have shared in this article, it is my belief that you now have adequate knowledge about how to do a public records search.

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