California Public Records
Any "writing" filed with a government agency is a public record in California, and those writings may include agency minutes, emails, agendas, videos, and audio recordings. Though all public records are important as they provide transparency of government operations, we've concentrated on the California records that are kept in online databases and what you'll find here are the ones we feel are most useful to you in your daily life or to your business.
This page lists statewide California databases in alphabetical order. Click on "Popularity" to rank the list by number of visits. For county records, city records, license verification databases, or databases organized by category of record, use the menus in the left-hand column.
- Court System The California court system has three levels. At the first level are the Superior Courts. In 2000, under Proposition 220, all California counties unified their superior and municipal courts. Former municipal courts are now called limited jurisdiction superior courts. Civil, felony, misdemeanor, DWI/DUI, and juvenile cases are heard at the general superior courts, while felony preliminary hearings and smaller misdemeanors are heard at the limited superior courts. At the second level are the Courts of Appeal, which review decisions from the Superior Courts. At the top level is the California Supreme Court, which reviews decisions from all lower courts. California Court Records
- Criminal Records Penal Code section 11105 makes it illegal to provide a full statewide criminal history to anyone outside of law enforcement, except to the person who is the subject of the report and authorized "Applicant Agencies" such as schools, in-home care providers, agencies that provide for the security and care of children, private patrol operators, etc. For available free databases, legal ways to search criminal records in California and information on how to order a search from the state on yourself or someone else, go to our California Criminal Records page.
- Vital Records Vital Records are available from the California Department of Health Services, M.S. 5103, PO Box 997410, Sacramento, CA 95899. Use the "California by Category" menu at left or click here for Vital Records. On that page we have statewide births from 1769 to 1850, 1905 to 1995; county birth indexes; the Social Security Death Index for California; various genealogical death record databases, obituaries, funeral home records, and county death indexes; genealogical marriage and county marriage databases; and Superior Court databases that offer searchable family court divorce record databases.
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|California Official State Page |
Visit the official California state page for statewide resources, the state agency directory, employee directory, live help, departments, services, and other general and technical help. Use the search box at the top of the page to find to find services, forms, and information.
|Codes and Statutes |
Use this database to search any of the California codes and statutes. The most popular searches are the vehicle code, penal code, and the health and safety code.
|Criminal Records Pay Site|
Search the available California County Superior Court criminal records at once for $9.95. Immediate results.
|Death Records 1940 - 1997 |
Search for California death records from 1940 to 1997 by name, birth place or year, death place or year, gender, mother's maiden name, or father's last name. Gives full name, social security number, and age.
|DMV Personalized Plates |
Select "Order Personalized" to search for and order a personalized license plate configuration from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
|Genealogy Search |
Search the California USGenWeb Project for Genealogy information in California.
|Inmates | Death Row |
Browse the list of California death row inmates. Gives race, county/court action, date of offense, date of sentence, and date received. This is an Adobe Acrobat pdf file.
|Missing Persons |
Search for information about California missing persons. Provided by the California Office of the Attorney General.
|Recorders Offices |
Browse by County name for Recorders Offices in California. Provides name, address, and telephone number.
Find California statistics on births, cancer, hospital discharges, mortality, population, and pregnancy. Makes a table or a map containing the desired information.
|Superior Courts |
Browse this California Courts list of California Superior Courts for location, phone, and web site information. See our California Counties page for those counties that provide searchable databases.
|Tax Assessors |
California county assessors. Provides name, county, contact information, board member, and links to county homepages.
|Traffic Incident Reports |
View traffic incident reports from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in real time. Search by area or view a statewide map.
|Unclaimed Persons |
Search for deceased persons in California for whom no next of kin has been found. Gives case number, age, place of death, date of death, place of birth, and last known address. Also gives a number to call for more information on specific cases.
|Unclaimed Property |
California unclaimed property by name of owner (individual or business). Gives address, city, and type of property, as well as amount and how to claim property or money.
More Public Records
|Adoption Lawyers |
Search the membership directory of the California Adoption Bar Association by city to view member information including name, address, phone, fax and e-mail.
|Business Permit Requirements |
Enter business type, county, and city. Gives California business permits and other requirements for the city and type of business that you specified. Includes contact information for obtaining said permits.
|City and County Tax Rates |
Provided by the California State Board of Equalization: browse alphabetically by city or county for California City and County Sales and Use Tax rates.
|Coastal Photographs |
Wonderful database of aerial photographs taken of the California Coastline. Search by latitude/longitude or keyword of image captions; or browse the map for your favorite view.
|College Courses |
Provided by the California Virtual Campus Professional Development Center: Browse or search this catalog of distance learning courses from California colleges and universities.
|Corporations | Publicly Traded Disclosures |
Use this California Secretary of State service to search for all publicly traded corporations that have filed a Corporate Disclosure Statement with the Secretary of State.
|Correct an Address in California |
Input a postal address in California and this service will correct it and put the address into the proper U.S. postal service format, including the ZIP+4 code.
|Court Opinions 1850-Present |
Search this California Court Systems site for Court Opinions in the last 100 hours, last 120 days, or search the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, or the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (Div. 1, 2, or 3), 5th, or 6th Appellate District Court.
|Criminal Records | Applicant Agencies Information|
Statewide criminal records by law in California are NOT available to the public, but are available to qualified Applicant Agencies. Go here for more information on who qualifies as an Applicant Agency and how to order California searches.
|Eviction Records | Tenant Screening Pay Site|
Use Search Systems Eviction Records as part of your tenant screening. Search statewide in California for eviction records by tenant name (individual or business) for just $5 per search. For common names, you can also narrow on filings in a single city.
|Find People in California |
Easy to use, find people in California instantly! Find addresses and phone numbers. Free summary of names. Fee for detailed reports.
|Home Values - California |
Search for property comparables in California by address, city, state or zipcode. Service allows you to view comparables and adjust value for improvements.
Browse this "California Courts" site by county and name for California Superior Court Judges.
Search this California State Legislature database for California Assembly and/or Senate Bills by Bill number, Author(s), or keyword(s).
|Licenses | Professional, Medical & Business |
Search California professional, medical, and business license databases and license verification services. Click here or look over at the blue menu box at left and use the drop-down menu.
|Missing Children - California |
Browse this listing of missing children in California to view information including photo, name, DOB, case #, contact person/#, case type, physical description, date/city missing from and link to poster.
|Narratives 1849-1900 |
Search this Library of Congress "California as I Saw It" collection of first person narratives covering the period 1849-1900.
|Public Notices |
Search for public notices published in participating California newspapers. Notices include government contracts, foreclosures, auctions and sales, unclaimed property, court proceedings, business and corporate notices, and community information.
|Public Works Apprentice Programs |
Search for apprentice programs in California by county and/or occupation to view corresponding info and contact person and details.
|Registered Offenders |
Search the California Office of the Attorney General Megans Law offender registry.
|School Data |
Educational data on California schools, including demographic makeup, API targets, district spending, and more.
|School Quality |
California Department of Education school quality database. Search by school name.
Search this California State Lands Commission database for California Shipwrecks by ship name, type, county, latitude and/or longitude.
|Smog Test Results |
Search this Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair database by license plate or VIN for vehicle smog test results.
|Uniform Commercial Code Filings Pay Site|
Use the California Secretary of State Business Portal to search for California Uniform Commercial Code filings (UCCs). Registration is required. Most UCCs are documentation of secured loans and include the debtor name, secured party, and the collateral, but can also be Federal and State tax liens.
|Unsolved Crimes |
Browse by month for unsolved cases featured by the California Department of Justice.