Less than 70% of Government maintained public records are found on-line. For example, 32% of State and Local Courts do not provide online access to criminal or civil data.
Government sites can be free or fee-based. Typically, fee-based sites are more robust.
Most free government public record websites contain no personal identifiers beyond the name. Obviously, this can be a significant problem when researching a common name.
The United States Attorney General’s Report on Criminal History Background Checks provided “No single source exists that provides complete and up-to-date information about a persons’ criminal history.” The report goes further to state “ The fact is that there is no single source of complete information about criminal history records. A check of both public and commercial databases and of primary sources of criminal history information such as county courthouses would, perhaps, provide the most complete and up-to-date information.”