Thursday, October 15, 2009

Public Records

Looking for ancestors and family means looking through public records. Sure, they may be public records from 300 years ago, but they also may be public records from last month.

A lot of sites compile links to different sources of public records that can be searched online. One of the best of these that I know of is the Public Records and Public Information page at Virtual Chase.

Though the site is geared to legal researchers, there's no reason we family history researchers can't make use of it as well. There is some interesting materials to be found here, like:

I hope there are no family members listed here.
  • Canadian bankruptcy (insolvency) filings back to 1978
  • INTERPOL wanted ciminals
  • Car Crash Reports in various states
  • Political Donors in federal and state elections
  • Inmate lookups
  • Court Case lookups
  • Workplace Accident Reports
  • Sex Offenders
  • Aircraft Owners

There's even a Lost and Stolen jewelry website.

And mixed in with all these modern-day records, you'll find a few oldies as well, such as state genealogy sites with birth certificates and death records back to the 1800's.

Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

24 comments:

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Free Public Records said...

You know there are free online directories that will help you find public records. If you want to look up your ancestors or other family members you should try searching online first.

Public Records said...

Nice post. All very good points. There are a few sites that I’ve registered at in order to comment, but they are few and far between.

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I think some scholars differentiate between genealogy and family history, limiting genealogy to an account of kinship, while using "family history" to denote the provision of additional details about lives and historical context.

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Derlierprossy said...

The State views death records as public information and therefore will provide an uncertified copy to anyone who is willing to fill out the online request form and pay the applicable fee. You will have to fill out a form for either a certified or uncertified copy of the death certificate and it’s important to provide as much information as you have so that they may more easily find the records you need.



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