How to Access County Public Records for Free

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Do an online search. Many jurisdictions are making their recent public records accessible for free on the Internet. You may be able to find free public records at the website of the clerk of the court, sheriff's office, registrar of deeds, and department of vital records. Keep in mind that not all counties have made their records accessible on the Internet and even in locations where records are available electronically, websites may not offer comprehensive records searches.

Go to the courthouse and county offices in person. The records office at your local courthouse and county office building can give you access to public records at no charge. Although most offices can accommodate walk-in requests for records during regular business hours, you may want to call ahead to verify the hours of operation and determine whether the office will require any identification to access public records.

Check your local public library. Most public libraries have hard copies of public records holdings or access to county electronics records databases. Reference librarians can also point you in the direction of resources specific to your county.

Visit private genealogy websites. Most genealogy websites offer free trials or no-cost limited subscriptions where you can access your county's marriage, divorce, birth, and death records.


About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiter Images © 2009