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Minnesota Public Records

Chapter 13 of the Minnesota Statutes outlines the Minnesota Data Practices Act, created to regulate the collection, creation, storage, maintenance, dissemination, and access to government data. The Act mandates that government records (data, documents, photographs, etc.) be accessible by the public.

Certain records are exempt, such as private information about citizens, such as Social Security numbers and medical data; federal contracts data; educational data; records relating to open criminal and civil investigations; auditing data; library borrower data; personnel data; welfare and benefits data; and other records whose release might jeopardize public safety.

Common and useful statewide databases are listed below.  To find city, county, or licensing records, use the menu tools on the left.

  • Court System - The Minnesota court system has three levels. At the first are the District Courts, the trial courts that handle all civil & criminal cases. Municipal, County, Probate, and Justice of the Peace courts no longer exist in Minnesota; District Courts have inherited the caseload of those former courts. At the second level is the Court of Appeals, which reviews cases from the District Court. At the third level is the Minnesota Supreme Court, which can review decisions from all lower courts. Other courts outside of the Judicial Branch include: the Minnesota Tax Court; the Workers Compensation Court of Appeals; and the Minnesota Tribal Courts, for Native American disputes.  Minnesota Court Records
  • Criminal Records - You may search online for: criminal felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, traffic, and petty misdemeanor case court records; Department of Corrections inmate records; Methamphetamine offenders; or do a free criminal history search through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  For access and details, go to our Minnesota Criminal Records page.
  • Vital Records - Birth & death certificates are provided by: Minnesota Department of Health, Attention: Office of the State Registrar, P.O. Box 64882, St. Paul, MN 55164, (651) 201-5970, Fax: (651) 291-0101. Certified copies of marriage & divorce records are available from the Local Registrar in the county where the marriage license was issued, or the divorce was granted.  Visit our Vital Records page to research the historical birth databases; the Social Security Death Index for Minnesota, statewide historical deaths, and death notices, cemetery records, and obituaries from available cities & counties; statewide current & historical marriage databases, and marriages from available counties.

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