A filing cabinet with an open drawer containing Manila envelopes filled with paper

Photograph: Sigdem (Shutterstock)

You should use the web to search out something: an excellent restaurant, recording a half-remembered previous advert, suggestions for an excellent guide, a podcast about mainly something and, sure, even General records. Though most of our private data (often) can’t be discovered on-line, you’ll be able to might Discover objects equivalent to delivery certificates, marriage and divorce data, funerals, licenses, and mortgage and chapter data. Proceed studying to study the place to search out public data on-line.

First, a quick observe

All the following web sites and search strategies are utterly free until in any other case said. There are a lot of web sites on the market that publicize as free, however when you enter the small print of what you might be in search of, they may attempt to cost for his or her providers even then they often don’t offer you something and you’ll not be discovered. If it’s a must to pay for one thing, it typically entails going to a bodily location (i.e., a court docket) to get a duplicate of a public doc.


You should use Google to search out numerous primary details about somebody. Google their identify, then you can begin accumulating an excellent path (if they aren’t chosen) Pay for a service like DeleteMe, Scraps their common data from the web). If you understand person-affiliated golf equipment, workplaces, pursuits, and so forth. – or their handle – your search will probably be simpler. If addresses and cellphone numbers are listed, you should utilize Google to view them.


Search engine Zabasearch Apparently Cheating, But it surely provides outcomes solely from supplies which are already publicly accessible by way of the Web; All of it comes collectively in a single place. Zabasearch solely provides you earlier addresses and cellphone numbers after a search by identify (you may as well cut back it by including a state). For something extra vital, you may be requested to earn some cash Intelius, An exploratory service for public funds. (No thanks.) Zabasearch is nice for locating addresses and cellphone numbers (and perhaps birthdays) shortly and simply.

Essential reviews

Listed here are the perfect mega websites to start out an necessary document search:

Cellphone books

In case you are in search of one thing apart from an unlisted or cell phone quantity (sure, sorry), you will discover it on-line utilizing these directories:

  • However: White pages, telephone book, worldwide listings and free listing.
  • Infobel: Worldwide Phone Listing; Extraordinarily in depth.
  • Internet 800 Directory: Enter product identify, service, firm identify or toll free quantity.
  • Wikipedia page for international calling codes: Here is an excellent ‘un – Wikipedia has considerably complicated however complete accounting of name codes for nearly each geographical location on the planet.


Must discover a skilled license for somebody? No drawback:

  • Directory of FindLaw: Licensed Legal guidelines state-government database of orney.
  • DocInfo: Discover details about licensed physicians in america with this software on the State Medical Council Convention.
  • You are able to do a easy Google search to search out different licensed professionals.


You should use the net to discover a funeral:

  • Legacy.com Funeral: Sort the final identify, and you’ll obtain a listing of newspapers with reviews on the Social Safety Demise Index.
  • Social Security Death Index: For higher outcomes, kind in as a lot data as you understand; Excellent software.
  • Death index: A really broad state when it comes to state (and state) dying data, dying certificates indices, and so forth.
  • Cindy’s list: Glorious checklist of dying and invalid websites; Ranges from common indicators to location-specific.

Crime data

Crime data are comparatively simple to search out, relying on the state.

  • The FBI is most needed: Consists of alerts, options fugitives, and so forth.
  • Sex offenders: Point out the checklist of sexual predators and the place they dwell.
  • Federal Prison Prison Detention Center: Use first and final identify to go looking a database of inmates nationwide.
  • Google your state + “Correctional division” or your state + “dying row” and you’ll search prisons.


There are a lot of different nice websites for public reporting. Listed here are a few of my favorites:

  • Real Estate Reports: To seek for property tax data, search for widespread property data and details about who owns a selected property.
  • National Personnel Report Center: The primary place to start out for navy data.
  • NNDB: “The NNDB is an clever entire and we now have recognized the dwelling and the useless as excellent people.” Attention-grabbing web site.
  • U.S. Copyright Office: Search reviews, registrations and paperwork; It helps to get as a lot data as potential to start out your search.
  • Compilation of weekly presidential papers: A lot because it appears; Launched each Monday.

This checklist is under no circumstances conclusive. Have a favourite public document search website? Please be a part of within the feedback.

This text was initially revealed in 2007 and was up to date on October 22, 2020 by Joel Cunningham with up to date data, new hyperlinks and a brand new header. Content material has been revised to satisfy present Life Hacker fashion pointers.