Typically we are supplied 3 usable identifiers for an applicant:
- First and last name (sometimes a middle name or initial)
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Social Security Number (SSN)
The researcher will utilize these identifiers when reviewing the criminal index. A typical match is made using first and last name and DOB. The recent trend has been for courts to withhold SSNs from public indexes due to concerns over identify theft. When present, SSN will be utilized in the match. Civil and Federal civil and bankruptcy searches are almost exclusively name match only searches. Because civil cases are not criminal in nature, there is not a booking process that gathers identifiers. Instead, cases are filed by plaintiffs in civil court. In some instances the address of the defendant may be available for matching purposes.
Federal criminal searches do involve a booking process and identifiers are gathered. However, this information is generally held by the U.S. Marshals Service and is not part of the case file information stored by the Federal District Court.