Ain’t Nothin but a Corporate Hound Dog

Need to track down the registration of a Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

How do you find it f you don’t know where it’s registered? Where should you start?

Most U.S. Corporations still file in the U.S. and choose a state to file their primary registration. That state then considers it a “domestic” corporation. If it subsequently files in other states, those states considers it a “foreign” corporation in their state.

If you’re looking for a registration and you know the domestic state you can easily find it on our “Corporations and Companies” page where we provide an easy link to all of the searchable online state corporation (and LLC) databases.

So what do you do if you don’t know where a corporation is filed domestically, in other words, where their primary registration is located?

The best option is to pick a state that provides excellent access to online registration AND is a state where many U.S. Corporations want to do business because it’s so populous.

That state is Florida.

The Florida Division of Corporations Document Searches page is easy to use, provides you with a large number of search options, and even gives you copies of filed documents– all for free!

We were asked recently to find the registration for G.A.C. Financing, the company that provided lending for Chrysler automobiles thirty years ago.

It turned out to be a daunting task as there have been a large number of mergers in, mergers out, domestic state transfers, involvement with Daimler Benz (Mercedes), separation from Daimler Benz, and all manner of complicated transactions along the way.

All of this was traceable by using the Florida Corporations database. That either provided us with the documentation for each merger or transfer, or gave us enough information about where each corporation was filed domestically so we could go right to that state and get all the details.

In the end it took no more than an hour’s work– all done online using SearchSystems.net, and at no cost.

So check it out when you have a chance. Here’s the URL again:

Florida Division of Corporations Document Searches

By the way, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that corporations are people, but we’re beginning to have our doubts. We say good morning each day to Search Systems, Inc., but it has yet to say good morning back. Just rude.

Deeds and Mortgages and Documents, Oh Yeah!

A woman called us for help because she suspected that her boyfriend was married.  She had looked up marriage records in her county and didn’t find anything.  She knew that he may have married elsewhere, but didn’t know where to search. He was originally from Boston, and he could have married there, but neither the City of Boston nor the State of Massachusetts has an online marriage database.

She just wasn’t sure where to go next.

We suggested that she use our site to go to the recorded documents database in her county to see if he owned a home and how the property was vested (owned).  Sure enough, she found his address and all the documents that have been filed in his name at that address.  The documents showed that he had purchased, financed, and recently refinanced the property with his wife.  The vesting was “Married, filing jointly,” meaning that it was very likely that he was married.

The woman who asked for help thanked us, and promised that the man would get an earful the next time he called for a date.

What makes recorded documents so valuable?

Recorded Documents are generally considered to be deeds, mortgages, liens, and judgments, but they often contain so much more.  You can often find military discharges, bonds, trusts, child support enforcement, business registration, power of attorney filings, financing statements, Uniform Commercial Code filings, trusts, partnership documents, leases, and Wills.  Some counties also provide birth, death and marriage certificates, and quite a few will give you copies of the documents online—for free.

Try it yourself at the Maricopa County, Arizona Recorder’s database:

Maricopa County Recorded Documents

There’s no need to sign in and you can view the documents without paying a fee.

Or try the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Recorder’s offering found here:

Cuyahoga County Recorded Documents

Compare the two and you’ll find that many of the documents they provide are the same, but each provides additional categories that the other doesn’t offer.

Florida has a statewide service that they provide through myfloridacounty.com, but the database they provide isn’t as robust as what the local Florida counties provide directly.  But if you’re looking statewide for information it can’t be beat.

How do you find these treasures?  One of the difficulties in trying to find these databases is that they have so many different names.  Many people call these “grantor/grantee indexes.”  Florida calls them “Official Records.”  Georgia calls it their “Real Estate Index” (available statewide).  In some states you have to search the county “Clerk of Court,” while in others the records are filed at the “Registry of Deeds.”  The other problem is that the search engines have gotten so large that often the link that you want is buried behind hundreds of thousands of other results—if it even exists.

As you might know, we’ve been working since 1996 to find public record databases and provide an online directory of public records on our web site.  To make it easy for our visitors we try to keep the link titles as consistent as we can.  All recorded document links on our site are labeled as “Recorded Documents.”

To help you find the kind public records you want, we’ve grouped the most commonly used categories together.  Go to the left-hand column of almost any page on our site and you’ll find helpful search fields.  The drop-down menu on the top left in U.S. States says “By Topic.” Click on that and go to the “Recorded Documents” section for that state.

Or better yet, just click here:

SearchSystems.net Recorded Documents

Alternatively, pick a state and then county page that you want to search and check to see if that county makes recorded document information available online.  Or do a search by zip code, city and state, or county and state and click on the link to the county you want to search.

Keep in mind though that not every county provides their recorded document information online.  And many that do now charge a fee for document copies or contract with a third party for fee-based searches.

One last thing—all of our links are handpicked and qualified by our staff.  We also write a brief description of each link and add any helpful hints so that you’ll know what to expect from each database.

Let us know if you need help or know of anything we’ve missed.