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California Public Records

California Public RecordsCalifornia provides strong public access to records, meaning there are just few restrictions in place. Although certified copies of vital records are restricted, anyone may request an informational copy. The California Department of Public Health maintains all birth, death, marriage and divorce records, although birth, death and marriage records may be requested from the local County Recorder and divorce records from the local Superior Court. California public records also include access to California court records, both civil and criminal. Each Superior Court offers access to court and divorce records specific to its county and many offer online access. California criminal records, maintained by the Department of Justice, are restricted and can only be requested by the person of record for review purposes. To access historic California public records, like California cemetery records, military and vital records, and obituaries, visit the California GenWeb Project Archives website.

  • The California Department of Public Health satisfies requests for birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Requests for these CA public records are only accepted by mail.
  • California birth records, death and marriage records can be requested at the County Recorder where the event occurred, either in person or by mail.
  • California divorce records can also be requested from the Superior Court that handled the case, as can civil and criminal court records.
  • View California cemetery records, military and vital records and obituaries online through the California GenWeb Project Archives.
  • Request your own California criminal records from the Department of Justice by mail.
  • About California Public Records

    Although California does restrict access its vital records, there is an important exception to this rule. The restriction applies to requesting certified copies, which can be used for identification purposes. An informational copy, however, of California birth records, death, marriage and divorce records can be requested and obtained by any individual. Those authorized to request certified copies are the person of record, an immediate family member or a legal representative.

    Although these California public records are available from the Department of Public Health, the wait time can be quite long since California is such a large state. Instead, consider requesting birth, death and marriage records directly from the County Recorder where the event took place. These can often be requested in person, by mail or online through VitalChek with a reduced waiting time.

    Obtaining California Public Records Online

    Although California has a central Administrative Office of the Courts in place, there is no central repository for court records online due to California’s immense size. Instead, individual Superior Courts hold the county’s civil, criminal and divorce records. Many of these local Superior Courts offer these California public records online. Some charge a fee to access the public web portal, while others do not. Most online access provides an overview of the case and details on where to find the physical records. Most Superior Courts allow you to request copies of California court records in person, by mail or over the phone.

    In general, most California public records are not available online. Since criminal records are protected in California, anyone who wishes to review his own criminal record must mail the request to the Department of Justice along with a set of fingerprints to establish your identity. Although a name-based search is easier, it can turn up false positives or false negative results. If you want to learn whether someone else has a criminal history, it’s best to perform an online public records search for California criminal court records, which aren’t protected from public inspection.

    Performing a California Public Records Search

    For those interested in genealogy or conducting family history research, a good place to begin is with the California GenWeb Project Archives. This site has compiled an impressive amount of historic California military records, cemetery records, some vital records and obituaries, many of which are broken down by county. These historic records have been digitized, meaning you never have to leave your home office or favorite coffee shop while performing family research.

    A California public records search can begin and flourish online. It’s likely that a California genealogy search could lead far from home, making an online source of California public records invaluable. There is no fee to access the California GenWeb Project Archives, and there are additional resources listed, many of which are online, to further your search without leaving ever home.



     
    State of California Resources & Statistics
    Separator Line

    Population:
    36,666,756

     
    Under 18:
    9,924,383

     
    Over 65:
    4,593,003

     
    Employed:
    20,491,525

     
    Land in Square Miles:
    155,959.34

     
    Acres of Farms:
    27,027,589

     
    Births:
    548,882

     
    Deaths:
    237,037

     
    Infant Deaths:
    2,883

     
     
    Murder:
    2,142

     
    Forcible Rape:
    8,903

     
    Robbery:
    69,385

     
    Assault:
    104,743

     
    Total Violent Crime:
    185,173

     
    Burglary:
    237,835

     
    Larceny \ Theft:
    650,385

     
    Motor Vehicle Theft:
    192,572

     
    Total Property Crime:
    1,747,080

     
    California Public Records Locations
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    Accident Reports
    PO Box 942884
    Sacramento, CA 94284
    Phone:
    800-777-0133










    Attorney General's Office
    Justice Department
    PO Box 944255
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
    Fax:
    916-323-5341










     
    State Department of Health Svcs
    Office of Vital Records - MS 5103
    PO Box 997410
    Sacramento, CA 95899-7410









    Secretary of State
    Information Retrieval/Certification Unit
    PO Box 944260
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
    Phone:
    916-657-5448 Ext. 1










     
    State Department of Health Svcs
    Office of Vital Records - MS 5103
    PO Box 997410
    Sacramento, CA 95899-7410
    Phone:
    916-445-2684










    Department of Motor Vehicles
    Information Services Branch
    PO Box 944247, Mail Station G199
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2470
    Phone:
    916-657-8098

    Fax:
    916-657-8098










     
    ETS - GED Records Center
    PO Box 4005
    Concord, CA 94524-4005
    Phone:
    866-370-4740










    Governor's Office
    State Capitol Bldg, 1st Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone:
    916-445-2841

    Fax:
    916-558-3160










     
    Dept of Corrections
    Corrections & Rehabilitation ID Unit
    PO Box 942883
    Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
    Fax:
    916-327-1988










    California State Legislature
    State Capitol
    Room B-32 (Legislative Bill Room)
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Fax:
    916-322-1257










     
    Department of Justice
    Sexual Offender Program
    PO Box 903387
    Sacramento, CA 94203-3870
    Phone:
    916-227-4974

    Fax:
    916-227-4345










    California State Archives
    1020 "O" St
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone:
    916-653-7715

    Fax:
    916-653-7363










     
    Administration Office of Courts
    Office of Communications
    455 Golden Gate Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94102-3660
    Phone:
    415-865-4200

     
    415-865-7740

    Fax:
    415-865-4334










    Business Programs Division
    UCC Section
    PO Box 942835
    Sacramento, CA 94235
    Phone:
    916-651-9885










     
    Department of Motor Vehicle
    Office of Information Services
    PO Box 944247, MS-G199
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2470
    Phone:
    916-657-8098

    Fax:
    916-657-7243










    Division of Workers' Compensation
    Headquarters
    1515 Clay Street, 17th Fl
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Phone:
    510-286-7100

    Fax:
    510-286-3470