The Law Library Staff prepares "Research Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs) for the convenience of our users to provide access to a variety of sources addressing particular points of law. These are general legal information sources, and are not to be construed as a substitute for personal legal advice from an attorney. Please seek legal counsel to help you determine the applicability of any of the information in these resources to your specific situation. The Law Library makes no recommendation as to whether you should purchase any services offered by the websites contained in this FAQ.
I. Public Records Law
II. Finding Public Records on the Web
- Property Records
- Westlaw ASSET-ALL database: For a fee, this database searches for real property, motor vehicles, stock, aircraft, or watercraft in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin islands.
- Butler County Clerk Statewide Property Search: Links to recorder's office for each county in Ohio.
- Medina County Auditor: Links to the auditor's website for each Ohio County.
- Statewide Real Estate Tax Search: Also from Butler County Clerk's office, links to county auditors' offices.
- Neo Cando: Property, tax and transfer information for properties in Northeast Ohio. Search by address, parcel number, census tract, ward or city.
- Portico: search by each county.
- Property Assessment Databases: search by each county.
- Also, try some of the other public records portals, listed above, such as NETRonline.
- Lexis ALLOWN: for a fee, searches Tax Assessor, Deed Transfer and Mortgage Records for selected states and counties. Can search all states and counties available at once.
- Lexis OHOWN: for a fee searches Ohio tax assessor records, deed transfer and mortgage records. Has real property data for 47 counties, which can be search simultaneously.
- Westlaw RP-ALL: Fee database: Tax assessor records, county recorder's records and registrars of deeds records. Includes records for transfer of property as well as foreclosure records. Coverage varies by county. Can search on Ohio database separately.
- OPENonline: For a fee, one can search real property records for 45 Ohio counties. Can also run searches for 44 other states, with records from selected counties in those states.
- Lexis ALLJGT: Combined judgments and liens. Also, Lexis has separate lien databases for each state. "Free" on library's Lexis plan.
- Ohio Department of Public Safety Online Vehicle/Watercraft Title Inquiry: Search by title number or VIN number.
- Traffic Violations from LexisNexis
- Carfax.com: Free search will tell you the year and make a vehicle, when a VIN number is entered. There are free searches for manufacturers buy backs under lemon laws, and for recalls. For a fee, you can find out how many people owned the vehicle and for how long, whether there are title problems, odometer problems and whether the car was in an accident or stolen. Carfax reports DO NOT provide the names of the former owners.
- Lexis, Westlaw and OPENonline also have motor vehicle searches for a fee. One can search for a person's name, unlike the BMV site above, to see what vehicles they own. The OPENonline site requires knowledge of the person's social security number.
- Criminal Records
- Inmate/Corrections information
- National Sex Offender Public Registry: Can search for names of sex offenders in multiple state databases at once. Does not have access to all states at this time. Can also generate lists of sex offenders by zip code or city.
- Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVI, formerly called DUI):
- If there is a permissible purpose for obtaining the information, the past three years of OVI offenses can be obtained from OPENonline.
- Try searching court dockets, below
- Social Security Numbers
- SSN Validator: Tells whether a Social Security Number is valid.
- Search Bug: Tells whether a Social Security Number is valid.
- Social Security Death Index: Verifies social security numbers for deceased people.
- Resources for Social Security Numbers: by SearchEngineZ. Contains a table showing the first three digits of the social security number, and which ones correspond to which state. This page identifies eight states that use Social Security Numbers as drivers license numbers, but this practice has been outlawed by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
- Social Security Number Verification: The Social Security Administration runs this site. Employers input names and social security numbers, to verify the social security numbers. Site requires registration.
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: "My Social Security Number: How Secure is It?" - discusses whether you must provide the government or a business with your social security number.
- Your Credit Report
- Your Access to Free Credit Reports: Information from the Federal Trade Commission on how to obtain your free annual credit report. (Credit reports are not public records)
- Federal Government's Excluded Party List
- Federal Government's Excluded Party List: Find out if person has been blocked from receiving certain types of financial or nonfinancial assistance from the federal government or is blocked from applying for government contracts.
- Finding U.S. Military Personnel
III. Document Retrieval Services
1 West Lakeside Avenue, FL4 Cleveland, Ohio 44113-1078 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (216) 861-5070 Fax: (216) 861-1606
August 16, 2004 -