Public Records Search

Connecticut Public Records

Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, public records are all data produced, used, received or stored by a government agency, regardless of its form (print, tape records, photographs, etc.). However, this definition excludes a number of records. These include trade secrets and financial information that is not required by statute, police records that are at a pre-trial or trial stage, negotiations concerning pending litigation, personal information about students at any school in the state, personal records of employees, adoption records, petitions, and records of complaints, among others.

Records such as birth and death certificates, marriage and divorce records, business registrations, criminal records and court records are available to eligible members of the public openly or on request. In today’s digital environment, most agencies provide online search capabilities and public records request forms to make it easier for you to get the information you need. Not all, however, accept online requests and this is noted on the respective agency’s website.

Vital Records

Connecticut birth and death certificates, marriage, civil union and divorce records all are considered to be vital records and they are archived in two ways. The town in which the event occurred or was permitted will hold a complete archive of all records. The State Vital Records Office also maintains a copy of all records from 1897 to current. Records older than 1897 can be obtained from the State Library's History and Genealogy Unit.

CT Department of Public Health
Vital Records Office
410 Capitol Ave. MS#11VRS
Hartford, CT 06134-0308
(860) 509-7700

It is important to be aware that the State Vital Records Office does not accept online requests. It does provide a request form, but then it needs to be sent by mail or submitted in person either to the State Office or the Vital Records Office in the city or town where the event recorded in the document occurred. Requests sent to city or town offices take a shorter time to process, although this time varies from town to town. Requests sent to the State Vital Records Office, though, take quite some time: between six and eight weeks. If you really need to submit your request online or by phone, you could use the services of the only approved company that provides such a service, VitalChek. It charges an additional fee but it offers the only way to pay for the public record reference with a credit card. The Vital Records Office does not accept credit card payments.

Criminal and Court Records

The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch is the place to go to find information about a court case. The branch’s website has a database including records from Supreme and Appellate Court cases, civil and family cases, criminal, motor vehicle and housing cases, and cases from small claims courts. For criminal and motor vehicle cases you have access to convictions, daily dockets and pending cases, which you can search by docket number, defendant’s name, and the court or law firm involved. If you need information about a housing case, you should know that at the moment the only public records available on the Judicial Branch website concern summary process cases from the districts of Hartford, New Haven, New Britain, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Waterbury. For the districts of Tolland, Meriden, Danbury and Middlesex this information is available from the civil/family case search section.

Secretary of the State’s office

Here is where business entity records are kept and where you can search for any business information that is publicly available. These records are in custody of the Commercial Recording Division and include information about business names, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships and trademarks, since these are all registered with the Secretary of the State. If you need license information about broker-dealers, investments advisers, collection agencies or any other entity that does business in the area of financial services, you’d need to go to the Department of Banking. The same goes for insurance sector companies: for public records concerning such companies the agency in charge is the State of Connecticut Insurance Department.

Department of Motor Vehicles

As the name suggests, records about anything related to cars -- car insurance, registration and ownership, etc. -- are kept here. Driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, insurance information, and lists of violations can all be requested with a single application form. Since these records include personal information, the DMV requires that you specify one or more eligible reasons for access to the records of a person other than yourself. These include but are not limited to: acting on behalf of a government agency, seeking to confirm the accuracy of personal information that the person whose record you are requesting has already provided to you and acting on behalf of an insurance company in an investigation of claims relating to insurance policies. Obtaining the consent of the individual is also listed as reason enough to access their records. You also need to supply an identification document that contains your photo when applying for access to public records held by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

While not all public record custodians would ask you to supply valid identification when requesting to access these records, some may do so, depending on the type of record you want to access. For contemporary birth certificates, for example, you would have to supply proof that you are either directly related to the registrant, a legal representative of the person whose record this is, working for a state or federal agency that has authorized your access to the record, the chief elected official of the town or city where the birth occurred or the local director of health for the town where the birth occurred. Access is also granted to incorporated genealogical societies with authorization to do business in the state. So, bear in mind when making a request for access to a public record whether you are eligible to request such access and make sure to provide proof of this eligibility along with the request.