Open sources are simply records that are available to the public. A few examples of open sources are court, criminal, property, bankruptcy, voter registration, probate, vital, tax, church, marriage, and divorce records. Many of these records can be accessed at your local courthouse, state repositories, or even some nationally-held locations. Some can be located online or over the phone, many times for a fee. Others can only be accessed in person.
There are professional courthouse researchers whose job is to conduct courthouse research. This should tell you that this kind of research is not an easy undertaking. There are rules, fees, etiquette, schedules, and specialized knowledge of where to find what it is you are looking for and how to properly access it.
Open sources contain a wealth of information but are, unfortunately, often overlooked by private investigators. Open source research can be extremely tedious, dirty, and frustrating work. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and valuable in nearly any type of investigation.
Uses for Open Source/Public Records Investigations:
- determining bankruptcy status
- uncovering personal property information
- finding criminal & civil court proceedings
- checking criminal records for individuals
- picking apart divorce records
- locating people
- providing supplemental to any person or birth parent/adoptee search
- conducting portions of due diligence adoption search
- discovering basic facts about an individual
- uncovering a person's assets
- proving/disproving an individual's claims
- providing supplemental to any background, domestic, divorce, chid custody, employee, workers' compensation, or other investigation
- preparing criminal or civil litigation