Census Bureau site is designed to make finding census information easier. Included are community profiles, reference and thematic maps, and population and housing facts. Deaths of U. Citizens in Foreign Countries Information on reports of Americans who have died abroad. Guidance is provided for obtaining reports from U. It also provides links to the graves of thousands of famous people around the world.
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Published in the Fall issue of Prologue , it is an invaluable source of family history. Birth records give such information as the name of child, date and place of birth, sex, and race; nationality, residence, and ages of parents, occupation and full name of father, maiden name of mother. Stillbirth records include the name of undertaker and place of burial. Death records include the name, sex, color, age, occupation, marital status, nationality, birthplace; date, place, and cause of death; date and place of burial.
In , the Associated Press made a request for the emails and daily schedules of state legislative leaders speakers of state Houses and presidents of state Senates in all 50 states; a majority denied the request. Of particular significance was the evolution of the common-law right "to access court records to inspect and to copy".
What threats do online public records create?
The expectation inherent in the common law right to access court records is that any person may come to the office of the clerk of the court during business hours and request to inspect court records, with almost instantaneous access. Such right is a central safeguard of the integrity of the courts.
Any decision to conceal court records requires a sealing order. The right to access court records is also central to liberty: There is no conceivable way to exercise the Habeas Corpus right, deemed by the late Justice Brennan  as "the cornerstone" of the United States Constitution, absent access to court records as public records.
In the United States the common law right to "access court records to inspect and to copy" was reaffirmed by the U. Supreme Court in Nixon v Warner Communications, Inc , where the court found various parts of the right to access court records as inherent to the First, Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. As court records become increasingly more accessible online, concerns about the undermining of private information has become a significant issue.
In the past, obtaining court records required people to physically go to a courthouse and request documents, making privacy concerns essentially obsolete. However, with the relative ease at which people can now access these records, highly sensitive information i.
Access to U. Requests for access to records pursuant to FOIA may be refused by federal agencies if information requested is subject to exemption, or some information may be redacted deleted. There are many degrees of accessibility to public records between states, with some making it fairly easy to request and receive documents, and others with many exemptions and restricted categories of documents. One state that is fairly responsive to public records requests is New York , which utilizes the Committee on Open Government to assist citizens with their requests.
Public access to arrest and booking records is seen as a critical safeguard of liberty. With the advent of the Internet and the information age, access to public records in the United States to anyone who wishes to view them has dramatically increased.
Third parties such as the information broker industry make regular use of public records to compile readily accessible profiles on millions of people, and may make a profit from the service of recompiling and mining the data. Public record data is used for multiple purposes, such as ensuring that child support payments are made as determined by the courts,  assisting credit bureaus in keeping accurate data  and helping to pay pension benefits to retirees.
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Individual criminal histories are generally considered to be public records in the United States and are often accessed via criminal history background checks , but "access and use of FBI -maintained criminal history record information has been traditionally limited and controlled in large measure to protect the privacy of the individuals to whom the records pertain. According to the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press , in the United States, arrest records "are generally open to the public unless they concern an active or ongoing investigation.
There's no shortage of places on the web to look for someone
A few states restrict the information that can be obtained from an arrest record, especially when it concerns individuals who were never charged, were acquitted or had their records expunged. Again, the determination will often result in a balancing test comparing the public's interest in disclosure against the individual privacy interest.
In early , the National Archives put up a webpage, "Unauthorized Disposition of Federal Records," to publish all instances of investigations into possible unauthorized destruction of records.
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How to Find Public Records Online
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