Search Pennsylvania Court Records
Searching court records in state of Pennsylvania
Court records in Pennsylvania can contain a lot of personal information about the person or people you are looking for. Whether you are conducting research into your family tree, or you are an employer in Pennsylvania wanting to check out an applicant’s criminal record, or you are just interested in finding out if a new partner is exactly who they say they are, then court records can be a great source of information. Court records in Pennsylvania will contain certain basic information about the person, such as their full name, date of birth and address at the time of the incident or hearing, as well as many details about the criminal or civil case they were involved in. Criminal cases are those when a felony has been committed and someone has been arrested and charged with a crime, whereas civil cases usually tend to be about money; either someone is being sued or they are being chased for unpaid debts. The kind of cases you are interested in may depend upon why you are searching for an individual in the first place. For example, if you are assessing a loan application that has been made in Pennsylvania then you might be more interested in learning that the individual has defaulted on loans previously, rather than the knowledge that they were convicted of a minor assault while at college!
There are often restrictions on who can access court documents, or at least what kind of information they are allowed to see. If you are unsure of the rules in Pennsylvania and whether a court records search is actually going to return the information you need, then you can always consult one of the staff at your local County or Pennsylvania courthouse, as these are the experts when it comes to searching legal documents in Pennsylvania. In fact, the staff at Pennsylvania courthouses are a great source of information and advice for carrying out searches of the documents they maintain, especially if you are looking at much older court records that are unlikely to have any restrictions placed upon them, for genealogy research.
In fact, if you are planning to carry out searches on older court records in Pennsylvania, then courthouses or perhaps the Pennsylvania archives might be the only place you can look. Even those people wanting access to more recent documents can still go down to the courthouse and carry out a physical search of the documents that are kept on file there, though this can be a very time consuming process. Also, not everyone who wants access to Pennsylvania court records actually live anywhere near Pennsylvania! Although courthouse staff may carry out searches on your behalf, if you contact them by mail or by telephone, they do have other things to do and you will end up waiting a long time to see the results or documents you are looking for.
It is much quicker, and much more convenient, to carry out a search of Pennsylvania court records online. Most recent cases, since around the 1990s, are recorded on computers, making it very easy to search for the person you are looking for in Pennsylvania and get access to whatever information you are allowed to see. In some cases, older court records may have also been transferred to computers, although you cannot expect older searches online to be as accurate as more recent ones.
You can carry out a Google search to see what kinds of records Pennsylvania has available to the public online, although you would need to be sure that the person you are looking for lived in Pennsylvania at the time of the incident, otherwise you could waste a lot of time searching for a record that isn’t there! There are many online search sites that allow you to input certain basic details, such as the name of the person you are searching for and where you think they lived, which will then search computer databases all over the US, including in Pennsylvania, for you. This is undoubtedly the quickest way to search for records in any Pennsylvania in the US, including Pennsylvania. However, many of these sites require you to pay a fee in order to access the search results that are returned.
If you are looking for more general information on a court cases that happened somewhere in Pennsylvania, then you can always search the archives of local newspapers too. Most newspapers in Pennsylvania now have websites, which make searching past news stories much easier, while older issues are often kept on file or on microfiche in local libraries. This might not be sufficient for an employer who is carrying out a background search into an applicant, but may be enough for those who are researching their family tree.