Barbara Van Woerkom: Backgrounding individuals public documents research tips and links
BACKGROUNDING INDIVIDUALS PUBLIC DOCUMENTS RESEARCH TIPS AND LINKS Barbara Van Woerkom May 9, 2012
Collect the Vitals Get as many details as you can• Full name, nicknames, alternative spellings• Age, birth date, places of residence• Family members, spouses, kids Check social media and vital record• Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Pipl.com, WhitePages.com• US Social Security Death Index and Vital Records
Search Engines• Regulars, like Google, Yahoo, Bing• DuckDuckGo• Google Advanced search - focus in with “Domain” and “Site” search functions• Images
Search the NewsLocations for news media My Public Library’s Databases• Advanced Google news• Patch.com• Blogs• local newspapers websites• Local TV news websites• Your public library’s research databases – ProQuest, Gale, EBSCO
Court Cases• PACER – Federal District, Appellate, Bankruptcy $• Google Scholar – Federal Appellate, District, Tax, Supreme, state legal opinions• Sex offender national registry• Courtreference.com – links to all courts by state, county• Justia.com – legal blog search• BRB Publications – links to online court cases
Gateways to Public Records• BRB Publications - public records publisher offering links to government agencies that provide free online access to public record information• http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/ - Pick a state, at the top of the screen you can choose your county, find official records• http://publicrecords.searchsystems.net/ - property, criminal, court, birth, death, marriage, divorce records, licenses, deeds, mortgages, corporate records, business registration, etc.• http://www.statelocalgov.net/index.cfm - One-stop shopping for state agencies, city and county governments, by state or topic• State Occupational Licensing Boards – through BRB• Portico - helpful collection of public records sites, particularly for professional records and property records by county and city.
Business Records• Company websites – Investor information/annual reports• SEC – search 10-K, DEF14A, full-text• Secretary of State business filings by state – BRB Publications or search for your state plus terms: secretary of state business records search• OSHA inspections – search by entity, state• WARN Act sites for each state - state Departments of Labor• Reynolds Center for Business Journalism - free seminars on business information
Final words• Practice with your own identity or significant other• Be skeptical – verify• If you don’t see the record, it might not be online – phone contacts and ask• Don’t get discouraged• Go forth and search! Questions: email@example.com
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