Search Systems Public Record Search Help Guide

Table of Contents

I. Getting Around Our Public Records Directory

II. People Search & Background Checks

III. Searching Criminal Records

IV. Searching Bankruptcies, Judgments & Tax Liens

V. Helpful Tips

VI. About Search Systems Public Records


Our directory is designed to make it easy to find public records.  We started this project in 1996 and have worked since then to find every national, state, county, local, and international government web site to find just where to go to get the information you need.  You can begin your search for public records now by utilizing our up-to-date link database.

Of course you can always use search engines to find online public record information.  The problem with using search engines is: 1) you don't know if the information you want is even available online; 2) you may get so many results that it would take hours to sort through all the results to find what you want; and 3) the link you find may not be current.

The information you'll find here is current.  We run a program daily that tells us if there are any dead or broken links on the site, and we work each day to find the new links or locate an alternative resource.  Once you get to the database you want, you'll find that it's the most current information available, as it is provided by the public entity that gathers it.

The Directory is easy to use.  It's organized primarily by geographic location, so if you're looking for records in Ohio, use the “Search Free Public Records” tools at the top of the page. Use the drop-down menu called "By State" to select Ohio. Or, scroll down to the directory in the lower half of our home page and click the section titled "United States Free Public Records by State." At the next page, click on "Ohio Public Records." The links there are statewide resources. If you're looking for information in a particular city or county in Ohio, use the links at the top of the Ohio Public Records page, or use the search fields for “By County” or “By City” at the top of the site in the “Search Free Public Records” tool bar. Those fields allow you to type in a name and then select from the matches below.

Local records such as property, deeds, mortgages, etc. are usually found at the county level. If you're looking for property in the city of Cleveland, you'll find it in Cuyahoga County. From the Ohio page, click on the subcategory "Cuyahoga County."

With our new search features, you can locate the county directories even if you don't know the corresponding county for a city. To do this, use the search field called “By City” in the tool bar at the top of the page. Type in "Cleveland" and click on the match for “Cleveland, OH” that will appear below. The next page will have links to both Cleveland city databases, and the corresponding county databases (Cuyahoga County).

We've also taken the most popular categories of public records and put them into a section of their own called "Free Public Records by Type of Record." So if you're looking for professional licenses in Nevada, use the tools at the top of the page and click on the drop-down menu for “By Category” then click on "Licenses." At the Licenses page, click the link for "Nevada Licenses." Similarly, if you're looking for property records, use the drop-down menu for “By Category” then click on "Property," then select a state and you'll be taken to a list of all the property databases that we've located in that state since we started this service in 1997.


If you need to locate a current address for someone, or find birthdates and phone numbers, consider using the People Search from Intelius or USSearch. From the home page, click the People Search tab on the left, under the heading "Main Menu." Your Intelius People Search report will include phone numbers, age, birthdates, address history, household members, home value, income, and more.

We also have a tab called "Background Check." Those Intelius reports include, when available, criminal and registered offender checks, lawsuits, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, home value & property ownership, marriage & divorce records, and more.


If you need help finding criminal records (criminal records search), read our Free Guide to searching criminal records and criminal records checks.

For criminal record checks, the best results come from using our Premium database AND our Criminal Records Directory. Any results returned by the Premium database can be followed up with a search in the Directory of the particular county (or counties) where the offense(s) appear. This is where the links in the Directory can be useful to get even more details (such as docket information and defendant addresses) on a criminal case.

The Directory simply gives you a huge advantage over using a single online database. For example, a true New York statewide criminal record search is only available through the New York State Court service—and we provide a link to it in our Directory. The only way to access Massachusetts criminal records is through the state, and we provide a link to that resource as well. Another example is Nevada. We provide access to Nevada corrections records in our Premium Criminal Record Database (like any other private online provider), but in our Criminal Records Directory we also provide access to information on how to obtain criminal histories from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, along with a direct link to the statewide Department of Corrections inmate database, Clark County (Las Vegas Area) court records, Washoe County (Reno Area) court records, the Nevada U.S. District Court PACER criminal and civil records database, as well as county and city links to inmate databases and crime maps.

Keep in mind that both systems have advantages and disadvantages. The Premium criminal record database covers a large number of records at once and therefore save time. The Criminal Records Directory allows you to do searches yourself, gives you greater detail, and provides access to databases not covered by larger all-inclusive state and nationwide databases, but takes more time. Best results come from using both.

For details on our criminal record research systems, click here.


We also offer a pay-per-search Bankruptcy, Judgment and Tax Lien database that contains over 100 million records. You may search statewide or nationwide for bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens by name, name and address, or Social Security number/Tax ID number (bankruptcies & tax liens only). Access this service through the “Bankruptcy, Judgment and Tax Lien filings” tab on the left side of the home page, or click here.


Searching for someone?

You can use the information found on our site to find current addresses.  Try searching property records for property ownership.  Try “Recorded Documents” where you can find a treasure trove of information such as deeds, mortgages, liens, military discharges, bonds, trusts, child support enforcement, DBA’s, power of attorney filings, financing statements, trusts, partnership documents, leases, and wills.  Some counties also provide birth, death and marriage certificates, and quite a few will give you copies of the documents online—for free. Court records can reveal activity by a person in a particular area.  Voter records aren’t available in all areas, but some states provide current address information.  Try searching for licenses.  You may not find a home address, but that person you’re trying to find might be a licensed CPA or tattoo artist (or both) and the license may give the business address.  Maybe that person owns or is an officer of a business.  Possibly they’ve borrowed money and a UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) document has been filed.  UCC’s provide address information as well as the name of the lender and other debtors.  Check death records.  If the person has passed away you’ll most likely find that information in Social Security Death Records (see the category “Deaths”).

A more comprehensive guide to locating people is found here.

Looking for a business?

Using the “By Category” drop-down menu from the tool bar at the top of the site, select “Corporations and Companies” to search business databases: corporations; LLC's (limited liability companies); LLP's (limited liability partnerships); LP's (limited partnerships); and DBA's & FBN's ("doing business as" & fictitious business names/assumed business names) sole proprietor or small business partnerships.

Is there a registered offender in your neighborhood?

Using the “By Category” drop-down menu from the top tool bar, select " Registered Offenders." That page has a link to the nationwide registry, as well as links to every statewide registered offender database in the U.S. (as well as many county and local databases).

Is your physician licensed?

Most likely he or she is, but it doesn't hurt to check the license status. The easiest way to get to our links to license databases is via the Licenses link in the drop-down menu under “By Category.”

Are you looking for lists of current data?

Many of our customers are looking for lists of recent filings or events, such as arrests, property sales, foreclosures, judgments, bankruptcies, probate filings, etc. Search Systems does not resell lists of most-current filings in any category. What we offer is a directory of links to the official government websites that will offer searches for these types of categories.

Example: If you want to know the arrests made in Weld County, Colorado over the past 48 hours, you should look in our Colorado directories, then click on the Counties directory, then scroll to Weld County to see if the police department there offers a website. In this case, the Weld County Sheriff's Department does offer an arrest database, but only covering the last 24 hours.

Another example: If you want to see all judgments filed in San Francisco during a particular week, use the “By Category” drop-down menu from the top tool bar, then click on Recorded Documents.  From the Recorded Documents page, click on California Recorded Documents, then scroll down to the San Francisco County Recorded Documents link. Click the link to visit that site, which offers the ability to search

For more information:

Check our Frequently Asked Questions page, or send us an inquiry through our Contact Us feature.  


In 1996 there were only a very small number of public record databases on the Internet and they were difficult to find.  Google hadn’t been invented yet and AltaVista was one of the more popular search engines.  Back then we were primarily a skiptracing (finding people) and background search company working for law firms, financial institutions such as Wells Fargo Bank, and title insurance companies such as Old Republic, First American, and Fidelity National Title. In order to help our employees and clients find public records on the Internet we developed a directory of links to public records called, which later became 

Since we started this service, we’ve found and added over 55,000 links to public record databases. These links are organized by geographic location and by type of public record, and a helpful description has been added to each one.  At Search Systems, we add new databases each day, and we continually evaluate each link to determine if it’s working.  If a link is not working, we repair it immediately.

We believe that Search Systems is by far the best resource for public records--especially criminal records--on the Internet.