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Public Records

What Are Public Records?

Public records are information maintained in documents or files of the city, county, state, and federal governments. Some records are provided by professional or non-profit organizations.

The following is a list of some commonly used public records:

  • Consumer Affairs maintain information on professional licenses and specific businesses
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles maintains information on operator’s license and vehicle registration. Each state has separate rules, regulations, and purposes for access to the data
  • Federal Courts maintain information regarding civil, criminal, and bankruptcy filings
  • Fictitious Business Names are information on statements filed by individuals or corporations doing business under assumed names. These records could be maintained with the city or county
  • Municipal Courts maintain information regarding small claims cases, civil complaints for under $5,000.00, misdemeanor criminal cases, and traffic citations
  • Newspapers maintain obituary, news clippings, and historical data
  • Public Libraries maintain microfiche, city directories, and genealogy assistance
  • Recorder’s Office maintains deeds, grantor/grantee indices, judgments, and tax liens
  • The Secretary of State maintains information on corporations, providing their articles of incorporations, statements of officers, and uniform commercial codes, which are liens on business equipment
  • Superior Courts maintain information regarding civil, criminal, divorce, and probate cases
  • Tax Assessors Offices maintain information on secured (real) and unsecured (personal) property
  • Vital Statistics are information regarding birth, death, and marriage. It can be maintained by either city, county, and state offices
  • The World Wide Web maintains data, resources, and websites to locate data
  • Workers Compensation Appeals Board maintains information on workplace injuries

Reverse Directories and Microfiche Library

James Wiggins & Associates maintains a collection of Polk City directories, reverse city directories (Pacific Bell or General Telephone) with information for Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Marin, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Ventura counties.

The microfiche collection has data for all 58 counties within the state of California. The data on file ranges from 1875 through 1998. Included in this collection is city directories and microfiche for the states of:  Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

In most cases, the collection provides the following:

  • Court Filings
  • Dates of Birth
  • Death Filings
  • Fictitious Business Names
  • Marriage Filings
  • Names From Telephone Numbers
  • Professional Licenses
  • Real Property by Name or Address
  • Telephone Numbers for Addresses 
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