What Types of Public Records Are Available to the Public?

Public records are available to the public through local, state, and federal government agencies. The types of records that are available to the public vary depending on the agency, but common types include birth and death records, criminal records, and property records. Keep reading to learn more about the types of public records that are available to the public.

Public Record Information


Public records are documents or materials that are created or received by a public agency in the course of its official business. They are available for inspection and copying by the public, subject to certain exceptions. Many agencies offer free public records online, but certain records may require a small fee.

Some states also have online databases where members of the public can search for specific records. For example, the Texas State Archives has an online database where members of the public can search for birth and death certificates dating back to 1903. Many different databases offer public records, and most of them are searchable by name, state, and even city.

If you are looking for specific types of records, such as birth certificates, death certificates, or marriage licenses, you may want to try searching for online archives. These archives are usually searchable by name and date.

Types of Public Records

There are many different kinds of public records, including birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, property deeds, and court or criminal records. The specific records that are available vary from state to state. However, most states make at least some types of public records available to the public free of charge.

Court records are documents filed in civil or criminal court proceedings. Court records can include pleadings, motions, orders, judgments, and other records related to the case. Most court records are available to the public, although some may be sealed or restricted.

Birth and death certificates are also public records in the United States. This means that anyone can request a copy of a birth or death certificate. The person’s name, date of birth or death, and place of birth or death are all listed on the certificate. Death certificates are often used to prove someone’s death and to obtain estate or life insurance proceeds. They may also be used to prove citizenship or military service.

Property records are a compilation of all the official documents that pertain to a particular piece of property. They can include anything from deeds and mortgages to surveys and zoning ordinances. The primary purpose of property records is to provide a comprehensive history of the property, from the time it was first surveyed to the present day. This information can be helpful for a variety of reasons, including verifying ownership, researching the history of a property, or obtaining a copy of a deed or survey.

Public Records Requests


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that allows any person the right to access federal agency records, except for those exempted from disclosure by the FOIA. The FOIA provides that all persons have a right to request access to records from any federal agency and that the agency must provide a response within 20 business days. To make a request under the FOIA, you must submit your request in writing by mail, email, or fax.

Your request must include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The name of the federal agency you are requesting records from
  • A description of the records you are seeking
  • The date range for which you are requesting records

You should also be aware that there are certain exemptions to the FOIA that may prevent an agency from releasing certain types of information. For example, if the requested documents contain information that could jeopardize national security or law enforcement investigations, then the agency may not be able to release them.