8 Ways on How to Search Public Records Online (2023)

People now understand that almost anything can be found on the internet in the past few years. You can find the closest saloon, the nearest warehouse, some resource materials about a course, and even public records – anything! Sometimes, what you think is private, the internet could give you a clue about it, and that would be all you need to find what you are looking for.

Talking about public records, it could be pieces of information about someone such as property tax, licenses, and criminal records or those about government policies. However, the former is what most people commonly look for – online. Unfortunately, not everyone knows where to find free public records online, so this article was put together to help.

How to Search Public Records Online?

Getting the public records of people online isn’t so difficult if you try using any of the following.

8 Ways on How to Search Public Records Online (1)

1. Use Google

One of the best places to find someone on the internet is Google. It is an effective search tool because it provides results bearing the digital footprint of anyone. And the interesting thing is that you don’t pay for it. All you need to do is enter the person’s name and do a Google search. You will most likely get results containing their workplace, address, socials, phone numbers, and other important info. With Google, you may find what you are looking for and might not need to try out other options. Indeed, it can be such a great place to begin finding public records free online.

2. Utilize People Search Tools or Public Records Providers

If Google doesn’t work, Public Records Providers or People Search Tools will. There is only one thing these service providers are saddled with – to get a comprehensive report of someone’s data. They, however, make use of every material available online – on federal, state, and local sources. They collect these materials and make a report containing information such as an address, phone number, workplace/employment history, and sometimes, criminal records. The only thing you will need to provide to get all these is the person’s name and their location(s).

Public Records Providers could offer free or paid services. You can check out those that offer for free online, but you should know you might be getting a report lesser than the paid investigative work.

3. Search Vital Records

When you try to get public records online, the one thing that always comes to mind is searching for their vital details, such as name, date of birth, etc. However, what could make it all simple for you is to search for them from different sources. You may be able to find what you are looking for about such a person. These vital records include birth records, death certificates, census information, and marriage or divorce records.

You can try out a Family Search website for the birth records, where you have to provide their name and relations.

You can search genealogy sites or visit a state’s records website for the death records. Likewise, you will have to provide the person’s full name and date of birth. To get this information is free.

You may not find the license online for the marriage and divorce, just the records. And you can find this information through a state’s department of health. However, depending on the state, you might have to pay a fee to get this information.

Finally, the census information has most of what you might be looking for. It dates back 72 years ago. Information is available on the U.S. Census Bureau’s site. However, you will need to be specific with your search, i.e., zip code, county, and city. Unfortunately, the limitation of this census search is that you can only access your info – you cannot do it for someone else.

4. Search Civil and Criminal Records

If you are looking for a civil or criminal record, you have to determine the person’s jurisdiction before anything else. The reason is that there are different court records decided at different levels, i.e., state, city, or federal.

To find public criminal records online free at the city or county level, you can visit a county clerk’s site or an Access Criminal Court site. You have to enter details such as appellate’s and defendant’s first and last name when you do. You might also have to enter the case number in some states.

To find public arrest records online at the state level, you can visit a state’s website to view criminal records. Or better still, you can use a search engine to find the site for state convictions. When you find the one that applies to your location, you will have to enter specific details like first and last name.

The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) may be the best option to use at the federal level, considering how much information it gives about active or passive litigation.Public records

5. Check Immigration Records

Maybe the person you are trying to look for their data isn’t a citizen of the United States; what you should do is check immigration records. The National Archives is definitely a place to look for that kind of information. It keeps a comprehensive report about an immigrant. And contrary to popular opinion, the National Archives is not hard to access. Visit the website and follow through the catalogs to find the info on someone you are looking for.

Alternatively, you can check immigration portals like Ellis Island, Castle Garden and Plymouth Colony. These portals hold the information of many immigrants. However, you might need to submit a form to access someone else’s information on these portals.

6. Search Property Records

While you search public records for free online, you might also want to consider looking at property records. A U.S. county manages them. These records contain ownership information and property taxes. So, in case you are looking to find the legitimacy of a person’s building or property, it is what you need.

To search for property records, you will have to visit the county’s website and enter specific details such as full name and address. If you don’t know the county’s site for it, you can just search “property records for XYZ state” on Google.

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7. Look Up Voters’ Registration

Since a state’s website is one of the places to get free public records online, you might as well use it to your advantage. For instance, if you need to look at someone’s voters’ registration, it might be good to do that through the site. Every state has a board of elections constantly tracking every registered voter within the jurisdiction. Now, this board of elections has voter registration data available online and within a state’s office. For the former, all you have to do is enter the state, “board of elections,” or “voter registration records” on a search engine, and you may find what you seek.

8. Search Government Spending Records

One more thing you can do is search government spending records. If you will be doing this, then it isn’t for an individual but for federal projects, financial assistance, or expenditures. The federal government passed the Federal Accountability and Transparency Act to keep citizens informed about how money is spent. It is a public record available on the USASpending.gov website. There, you will see what federal spending has the most and the least priority, construction contracts, etc. There is also that for states, congress, and individual campaigns.

How Can Radaris Help?

Radaris is an open-source website designed to utilize various federal, state, and local sources to provide a well-detailed report about an individual or company. With this platform, you won’t have a problem as long as you have specific details to narrow your search, such as full name (first and last), location, and phone number. Overall, the site makes things easier for you to find.


If you’ve always wanted to know how to search public records online, you just need to figure out exactly what you are interested in and the jurisdiction involved. That means you can search on Google or visit various websites to search for vital, marriage, criminal, or property records. Alternatively, you can use Radaris. It is the best way to search for people’s information that is publicly available online. And as a reliable public records provider, you can have a comprehensive report for free.


What can I do with a public record?

If you know where to find public records online free, you can visit such a place to get a full report. Now, as a person, you can keep such a record for moments when you will be requested of it during applications, i.e., jobs. On the other hand, if you are checking for someone, whatever you find might help you make decisions on such a person, i.e., if they are suited for the role or have a clean record. Whatever it is, you can find this information online if you use the right method(s).

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