Any completely free public-records website that hasn't blocked a search engine or search engines from 'spidering' (accessing, indexing, recording) its content may have most of its data available publicly simply by using the search engine finders (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Google) search function to look locate the records for persons sought.
Public records contain a plethora of information about people: names, addresses, property owners, birth, death and marriage records, etc.
There's been a massive move by most global government agencies to commit their data to e-form where it can be accessed by search engines and the public. (Making the info available online provides a valuable service and it also significantly reduces recording-agencies' expense in communicating with people via mail, email and phone conversations.)
The combination of search-engine growth and efficiency, and peoples' propensity to transfer public tomes to the Internet translates to a convenient means of accessing someone's records by just opening a browser and searching for it. If the data isn't found in one search service, try another as one search engine won't have all or the same information as others, nor will search services present search results in the same order of priority and relevance.Also see: Argentina, Europe, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico Address, Peru, Saudi, Singapore, Thailand, UK, Ukraine and World.
Some people do block search engines from crawling (accessing) some or all of their public records mostly because they don't want the responsibility for or liability of releasing private information to the public.
Examples of non-public information are drivers license and social-security numbers, health records and credit-bureau profiles.
Such sources may still be 'searchable' by personal visits to the locations harboring the records, by private investigators and authorities having legal access, by doctors and insurance companies with patient permission, and by people and businesses with privy to 'secrets'.
For example, when searching for the owner(s) of real estate, most search engines are going to return for-sale listing services (Zillow, Trulia, real-estate agents, et al), related ads (Craigslist, local classifieds) but alas, no ownership information. For that we have to know to where to go online to conduct the proper search, and that would require knowing the county in which the property is located. Finding the county is easy enough then we trek over to the website for the county and look for a function to search property records, entering the address or the property ID number (if known).
Peoples' social-security numbers are not 'supposed to be' public information but searching a known number just might turn up the number's owner. (Well, 'we' don't own the numbers. They belong to the issuing agency.) Surprisingly (and disappointingly) such a reverse search might often produce results. (This author's number turned up from a long-ago registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a Registered Investment Advisor. Shock.)
Police have access to reverse lookup of a license plate, a drivers license and raps sheets, to name a few. Employees at a credit bureau have access to credit reports. Private investigators are granted access to non-public records case by case with proper proof of licensing. Bank officials can access customers' account information with limitations. In some countries paying enough bribe money to people will open doors to hidden secrets.
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