How Public Records Work

Today, thanks to online databases, it is surprisingly easy to pull up public records on an individual, known as personal public records. Many of these online repositories are operated by private organizations or companies that charge a fee in order to retrieve information. On the flip side, the local government also provides public records, this time without any fees, although it does take longer for them to get back to you.

Either way, it is safe to say that obtaining personal information on a person is a relatively uncomplicated endeavor. As mentioned previously, public records can be quite extensive. Information and documents contained in a personal public record include:

  • Full names
  • Age and date of birth (DOB)
  • Addresses
  • Marriage records
  • Family relationships
  • Related judiciary records
  • Criminal records
  • Sex offender records

Of course, there are many other records and pieces of information that can be compiled in the record. Due to the fact that personal public records contain so much sensitive information, the government has a say in how this information is distributed, how it is stored, and what information is made public.

Example of Public Record

You’re curious to see what is on your public record. With a quick search online, you find a database for personal public records and get to work. All you have to do is type in your name and possibly the general location of where you live, make sure you have the right person, wait for the results to load, and then, in most cases, pay a fee to see the results.

You find a list of your full name, age, birthday, current address, marriage records, the names of other people in your family, and much more information. Surprised by the amount of information that your personal public record has on you, you also decide to bring up the business public record of the company that you own. After another search online, you find another database, this time for business public records, pay a fee, and pull up the records.

The first thing that you notice is that it lists your name as the head of the company and maybe even some of your co-workers' names. You also see the company's credit score, the number of employees, spending reports, and reported annual revenue, among other information.

Public Records vs. Business Records

Public records can also be made for businesses and companies, known as business or corporate public records. While business records can also be made available to the public, they're not exactly the same thing. Normally, business public records are reported as quarterly or annual reports and include information like this:

  • Credit score of the business
  • Annual revenue
  • Spending report(s)
  • Names of people who run and influence the company
  • Number of employees
  • Bankruptcy filings made by the business and other records concerning the monetary standing of the company

Similar to personal public records, business public records can be found either online or through the government.