Updated August 23, 2011.
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg
Public records document transactions between citizens and their government. Washington's public records law (Chapter 40.14, Revised Code of Washington) defines "public records" and provides for their preservation.
Many state agencies make available searchable databases of public records on the Internet. The following list identifies public records databases of potential interest to legal researchers. The list is organized by topic. Entries include the agency responsible for the records and a brief description.
Department of Licensing:
professional license query system
Covers dozens of professions regulated by the Licensing Department, including architects, bail bondsmen, cemeteries, collection agencies, court reporters, engineers, firearms, funeral directors, geologists, martial arts, notaries, private investigators, security guards, travel agents, and others.
Department of Revenue:
Covers registered business.
Search by business or individual name or by UBI or tax registration number.
Provides tax registration or UBI number, legal entity name, "doing business as" name, mailing address, business location, and type of entity.
Department of Financial Institutions:
Financial services licensee
Covers check cashers and sellers, consumer loan companies, currency exchangers, escrow agents and companies, franchises, money transmitters, mortgage brokers, mutual funds, payday lenders, and securities filings.
Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises: Minority and women-owned businesses
Secretary of State:
Covers corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships, other partnerships, etc.
Public Disclosure Commission: Campaign contributions and expenditure reports
Secretary of State: Registered charities and commercial fundraisers
State Patrol: Criminal records
Includes convictions and arrests. Searchable. Fee-based ($10 per search).
Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs:
Covers Level II and III registered sex offenders.
Search by street address and zip code; offender's name; or offense.
Provides offender information, including photographs, descriptions, and offense(s).
An assortment of public record datasets, including building, electrical, and land use permits; crime statistics; traffic cameras; etc.
An assortment of King County public record datasets, including budgets, election results, food inspection reports, jail bookings, pet licensing sites, etc.
|Occupation / Profession||Agency / Description|
|Multiple occupations & professions||Department of Licensing
|Accountants||Board of Accountancy
|Acupuncturists||See Healthcare providers|
|Architects||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Attorneys||Washington State Bar Association
|Chiropractors||See Healthcare providers|
|Contractors||Department of Labor and Industries
|Court reporters||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Dentists & dental assistants||See Healthcare providers|
|Elevator technicians||See Contractors|
|Engineers||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Funeral directors||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Healthcare providers and facilities||Health Professions Quality Assurance
|Massage therapists||See Healthcare providers|
|Midwives||See Healthcare providers|
|Notaries||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Nurses||See Healthcare providers|
|Pharmacists||See Healthcare providers|
|Physicians||See Healthcare providers|
|Psychologists||See Healthcare providers|
|Social workers||See Healthcare providers|
|Travel agents||See Multiple occupations & professions|
|Veterinarians||See Healthcare providers|
For other certified, licensed, and/or registered occupations and professions, see the Licensing Department's List of Licenses.
Department of Revenue: Unclaimed property
Search by first and last name OR business name.
Department of Licensing: Uniform Commercial Code filings