District of Columbia Free Public Records Directory


District of Columbia Public Record Directory

The District of Columbia, also known as Washington, D.C. or just Washington, is the capital of the United States. It is not a state or a part of any state; the entire Unites States is sometimes referred to as “all 50 states and the District of Columbia.” It is actually a territory under the control of the federal government, although it has some limited powers of self-government. The U.S. Constitution provides for the establishment of a district to be the seat of government, but does not specify a location. The Residence Act, passed by Congress in 1790, called for a capital district to be created along the Potomac River. The exact location was chosen by George Washington, who had been elected President the year before. Land for the District was donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. The City of Washington, named for the President, was founded in 1791. The federal district was named Columbia, a term often used during that time to describe the Americas. Today, the City occupies all of the territory of the District.

Originally a square of 10 miles per side, Congress neglected the area south of the Potomac. That area was returned to Virginia in 1846. The District’s current size is only 68.3 square miles, much smaller than any state. On the other hand, its population of nearly 694,000 is greater than that of the states of Vermont and Wyoming. The District has a humid subtropical climate, with cool winters and hot, humid summers. Average temperatures range from 38 in winter to 80 in summer.

The District of Columbia Home Rule Act, passed by Congress in 1973, gave the District limited self-government, including an elected mayor and 13-member council. The council’s powers are limited to local law and ordinances, and are subject to the approval of Congress. Because the District is not a state, it has no voting representation in Congress. It has a non-voting delegate to the House, but no representation in the Senate. It does have an elected Attorney General and an independent court system.

Washington D.C.’s economy is based mainly on federal government employment and tourism. Other contributors include foreign embassies, international organizations such as the World Bank, higher education, finance, and scientific research.

To find District of Columbia public records, visit our directory below of all types, including criminal records, birth and death records, and public documents.

Dc
Abbreviation DC
Population 693,972 (2017 est.)
Area size 68.34 sq. mi
Demonym Washingtonian
Primary languages spoken English
Mayor Muriel Bowser
U.S. House Delegation 1 Democrat (non-voting)
Time Zone Eastern: UTC −5/−4
*The map and data in the table are from Wikipedia.

Browse by Public Record Category

There are two types of public records: 1) personal public records that document major life milestones such as birth certificates, death certificates, divorce records, and marriage records, etc.; and 2) government records that are made public such as property tax records, recorded land records, voter records, crime data, jail inmate records, and court records. The Freedom of Information Act is a national law that releases government agency public records and makes it possible to view most public records. Since there are a multitude of records available, it can be difficult to know how or where to access them.

The District of Columbia’s first public records law was passed in 1973. It makes most local government agencies’ records available to the public with very limited exceptions. Many records are already posted on agency websites, where they can be examined without a formal request. There is no central office to handle requests; each request must be made directly to the agency responsible for the record. Both the Mayor’s Office and the Council of the District of Columbia provide guides to the law.

When you are ready to start your search, you’ll find our Public Records Directory website easy to use since all of the records can be searched by federal, state, county, city, town, or type of record. The links provided will connect you to the best website for the record search, provide details about the record, or provide contact information for those records without search capabilities.

Find District of Columbia Statewide Public Records

Fast access to District of Columbia public record sources at the state level.

Additional District of Columbia public records links can be found on our District of Columbia county and city level pages using the navigation links above.

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Other District of Columbia Public Records

Many states have laws and regulations attuned to their own local culture. The District of Columbia, although it is not a state, has some odd local laws of its own. For example, you may not play any game involving a ball in any street, avenue, or alley. Fortunately, the penalty is only $5.00. The District of Columbia also has some unique types of public records, including police major case and unsolved homicide files, tax refund status, and ward maps. More examples of public access records available in the District of Columbia may be found below.

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District of Columbia - Statewide Public Records Links
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