Public Records

DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles

public recordsYour State DMV is one of the most well known, most frequently used repositories of information used to track somebody down. Provided the person drives a car, it may all you need to locate a person. You will first want to request the person’s driving record. Depending on the state, the driving record may contain any of the following: Home address, SSN, date of birth; Physical characteristics – such as eye & hair color, height, and weight; Traffic violations, accidents, speeding tickets, license restrictions, etc.. Even if you do find the information you want, the address may no longer be valid, as people do move. If this occurs, but the driver’s record shows traffic violations or accidents, the next step is to ask for information about the violations, which will likely be much more current. If it’s a safe driver who doesn’t get tickets and moved, you may have a problem. If you have a license plate number, that can be used to request the vehicle registration record. Motor vehicle registrations must be renewed annually, so information there is more likely to be current than driving records, which are updated far less frequently. The vehicle the person is driving may be registered to someone else, but even this provides another lead, often to someone who does knows the person.

United States Post Office

When people move, most remember to fill out a change of address card with the Post Office. Change of address information is held onto by the post office for 2 years and is available to anybody who asks for it in person or by US mail. To request, simply main a post card or envelope to the invalid address with it marked ‘DO NOT FORWARD – FORWARDING ADDRESS REQUESTED’ and the post office will write the forwarding address on the envelope and them send it back to you using the return address. For those using a PO Box, the post office will not provide their real home address, in order to protect the person’s privacy, however, in the case of a business using a PO Box, the post office is required to provide the business owner’s address somebody who requests it.

Vital Records

This consists of birth, death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce records. Depending on the state, the general public may or may not have access to all this information. These types of records are often still kept on paper at the local courthouses, even in the information age. These are open for free to public viewing on their premises, which will of course require a trip to the local courthouse, and more than likely, plenty of coins for the parking meter.

Allbeit address information in these records may no longer be valid as people do move and get married, etc.., they may contain contacts or leads that can be useful for requesting public records from other sources Ie: date of birth from a birth certificate or parent’s address. If a person happens to be a woman but you are unsure if she has since gotten married or re-married or divorced, a name search at the appropriate agency could prove useful for disclosing her current name.

Voter Registration

Voter registrations are public record in most states, and may be requested using the person’s name. It’s always a good idea to try to have a full middle name. Depending on the state, this is obtained from a centralized source or county or township level. This will usually get you a home address but, also often a date of birth and occasionally a SSN.

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State can be a useful resource for obtaining information about a business or corporation, but can also be very helpful in finding a person’s address, in the event they hold some type of license issued by the state. Every state has different occupations, that require a special license. To find out if somebody has a license, request a name search from the appropriate S of S agency. Some of these state agencies have gone online.

Hunting & Fishing Licenses

It’s possible somebody whom you are searching for enjoys fishing or hunting, so you could try requesting a name search from the appropriate agency. In a few states with strict gun laws such as Massachusettes, there is mandatory gun registration & licensing. If found, most states will return an address and date of birth. It’s also a way to find out if somebody owns a gun.

Vessel-Boat Registrations

In most states, boat owners are required to register their boats. There are increasingly online search databases for these registrations.

Aircraft Registrations

In the US, aircraft owners are required to register their airplanes and helicopters. This information is open to the public and will contain the owner’s address.

Bankruptcy Records

Everyday, Americans are filing for bankruptcy in record numbers. These records are openly available to the public and very often offer a wealth of information, including assets, SSN, address, date of birth and employment history. To determine if any bankruptcy records exist, request a name search from the appropriate US bankruptcy court.

Corporation, Fictitious Name & UCC Filing Records

Corporations and businesses records are available in each state. Most of these are public records and offer a great source of information should somebody own or be involved in a business or corporation. Uniform commercial code (UCC) transactions are public record in most states. If somebody has ever borrowed from or lent money or other tangibles to a business, they would be listed within the UCC records. Many of these databases are now online.

Social Security Death Index

You can verify if somebody has died using the SSN Death database, which is available for free online.

County Courthouse

There are many public records available at your local County Courthouse. Most of these records can be searched for using just a person’s name.

Here are a few examples:

Assumption Agreements
Agreements (for deed, not to encumber)
Amended Judgments
Assignments – Liens, judgments, leases, mortgages
Breaches (Lease, contract, agreement)
Business records
Certificates (Tax, approval, merger, organization, title)
Change of name
Corporation records
Court records
Discharge or Dismissal records
Lien records
Power of Attorney
Support Agreements
Tax Warrants
Tax records

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