Public records are the documents of information that are not officially confidential and pertain to conduct of government. The thought of public records is as old as the civilization itself. Reports of marriages, births, deaths date back to the Babylon period where the dates were etched in clay tablets.
The government agencies and courts at all levels-be it local, state or federal are making these public records readily available these days. While some jurisdictions are starting, others have done so since 1990s. There are ways through which these records are accessible electronically. On one hand, some jurisdictions post the records on government sites, providing low cost or free access to the records. On the other hand, the courts and government agencies also sell public files to the information brokers and data compilers.
The concept behind public records is self explanatory. It includes the official reporting of facts that are accessible to members of the community. But you need to understand that just because they are accessible to public, that doesn’t mean that they are easy to retrieve.
Governments have different regulations like:
What type of details can be made public?
How details will be distributed
Where the information will be stored
Further, there are different kinds of public records. If we talk about individual records, they include:
 Marriage and divorce certificates
 Birth and death certificates
 Criminal records
 Deeds, mortgages etc
 Court records
 Sex offending records
 Licenses
 Missing persons
 Driving records
 Election and voter registration records
Government records often take note of some disciplinary measures and can be divided into annual or quarterly reports. Some examples are:
 Government spending records
 Census records
 Judgments, bankruptcy and liens fillings
 Legislation minutes
 Asset appraisals
 Consumer protection details
Some of the details available through these records are meant to be available for safety of public. One of such example is sex offender registry and this is why you can easily see how close you stay to any sex offender. Other protective details may include things such as recalls and safety reports surrounding some products and materials.
Public record information is used for various purposes like ensuring that the child support payment is made as determined by courts, helping the credit bureaus in exact data and helping to pay the pension benefits to the retirees. Other records which affect our lives and that we need to use in everyday social life include marriage records, driver’s license, property deeds, voter registration records, arrest records, tax records and social security numbers etc.
While some privacy laws may restrict how much information is provided to general public within a person’s lifetime, there are some records as well that are made easy available as society needs them for its proper functioning. So, we hope you must have understood why public records are important and for what reasons they are used. Just be careful when searching for these records for some important decisions and processes.