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Chicago Public Records: How to Perform a Chicago Public Records Search

Chicago Public Records: How to Perform a Chicago Public Records Search
November 12, 2022

The United States operates a public record inspection system that is accessible to the public for the most part, and Michigan is one of the many states that subscribe to this system. 


These public records include criminal, arrest, court, inmate, and vital records, among several others that make it to the record repository. 


In Michigan, you can find these Michigan public records in their traditional state-run record custodians and obtain them for a fee.


You can also find these Michigan public records by searching on third-party websites where you get to run a search against the name of the record owner, and the place where it is filed. 


So if you need to find a public record in Michigan, there is no shortage of options to explore, and this article seeks to suggest a few of them. 

Chicago Public Records: Criminal Records

Criminal records in Michigan are mostly filed by law enforcement officials over the course of their interaction with offenders. 


The courts also play an important role in the filing of these Michigan public records as evidenced by the tons of case-related information (dispositions, warrants, charges, sentences, etc) that feature in the criminal records. 


A number of the state's law enforcement agencies have developed online-based databases that contain the criminal history of offenders statewide.


One such is the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), an online resource created by the Michigan State Police for use in running background checks. 


For a $10 per subject search fee, you can view the criminal history of a person by running a search against their name, while personal background checks require a fingerprint. 

Chicago Public Records: Court records

A vast majority of Court records in Michigan make their way to the state's public record database. 


Unless the court record is sealed and access to it is statute-barred, it can be disseminated to the public, as per MCR 8.199, and the files will become Chicago public records. 


This means that you can contact the record custodian (usually the court clerk) of the court where you have history and request access to your case files. 


You can request a certified copy of a court record for a $10 fee and have it sent to your mail in a bit.


Online access to court records is provided by the Michigan Courts website through a Case Search feature. 


There, you can find electronic copies of court records from search queries featuring links to PDF copies of the sought-after case file. 


The search parameters available for use include the following options—Search By Docket Number, Search By Party Name, and Search By Case List of Attorney. 

a subpoena sticker next to a gavel

Chicago Public Records: Marriage Records

As the chief repository of Vital records in Michigan, the MDHHS is the place to find marriage records in the state. 


Marriage records that cover civil unions dating as far back as 1867 are available in this state agency.


Requesters get to download and complete a request application form and include the appropriate search fee in a check or money order. 


These are later to be included in a self-addressed stamped envelope and then submitted in person or mailed to the following address:


Vital Records Request,
P.O. Box 30721,
Lansing, MI 48909

Chicago Public Records: Divorce Records

While Michigan Divorce records are primarily maintained by traditional state agencies, they can also be found on third-party websites, as with most other vital records in Michigan. 


The MDHHS is usually the official divorce record custodian in Michigan, and it responds to in-person or mailed application requests.


Requesters are required to fill out and submit an application form to the Vital Request division. 


And while they're at it they must ensure to include the necessary payment and a valid means of identification in their enveloped application packet, stamped and self-addressed. 

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Chicago Public Records: Death Records

You can check for public death records at the Michigan Genealogical Death Indexing System. 


The only caveat of note is that you'll only be able to find birth records that account for deaths that were recorded at most, 100 years ago. The MDHHS accounts for more recent deaths.


For requests of this nature, you are expected to provide a government-issued photo ID and a payment slip along with the completed application form. 


You can now tuck all of the aforementioned in a self-addressed stamped envelope and have it mailed to the address below:


Vital Records Request,
P.O. Box 30721,
Lansing, MI 48909

a woman's hand taking out a file from a cabinet drawer

Chicago Public Records: Birth Records 

All of the instructions and requirements relating to requests applications for death records as previously described here apply to birth records requests as well. 


The Vital Records Office receives mailed applications that are accompanied by the requester and the requester's identification card.


Of course, these applications have to be sent in during working hours 00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays - Fridays (except on holidays). 


In addition to that, online searches for these Michigan public records are sometimes provided on third-party websites as they are on government websites.

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