Looking for Documents created or used by:
- the United States Senate or the House of Representatives: the Congress?
See the Legislative Branch.
- the President or Federal agencies? See the Executive Branch.
- Bankruptcy case files?
See the research topic Bankruptcy in our Research area.
- Naturalization case files?
See the research topic Naturalization Records in our Genealogists/Family Historians area.
- Court records relating to slavery?
See the research topics African American Research in our Genealogy area, and the and American Slavery and the International Slave Trade in our Research area.
U.S. Government Manual
Comprehensive information on the agencies of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches.
Need to learn more about how to find and use archival records?
Records of the Judicial Branch
This information will help you identify and locate Federal court documents within our holdings. These documents are records of hearings and trials, often including exhibits offered as evidence, of Federal jurisdiction.
You can see a limited number of court case files in our Archival Research Catalog (ARC). However, at this time most of the information available on this web site describes the records, rather than shows them to you. Start with search hints for court records.
If the records you want to see are not available for viewing online, your options are:
- Visit the National Archives facility that holds the records
- Hire an independent researcher to explore the records for you
- Order a reproduction (unofficial copy) of the records
To view or order a copy, you should find where, among our facilities nationwide, the records are physically located and how they are organized (arranged) in the archives. The approximate date of the case also will help to determine if the records are in our holdings.
General descriptions of the broad scope of our Federal court records are available in:
- Federal Court Records.
Search the online microfilm catalog.
- From the main Microfilm Catalog page, click Advanced Search (next to the Search button)
- In the righthand column, under Subject Catalog, select "Federal Court Records"
- Hit "Search"
- Excerpts from our Guide to Federal Records in the Archives of the United States of America
- Court Records Highlights -
search selected online documents in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC)
- Finding Aids and Research Guides from the Regional Archives
- Lists of electronic records in our holdings.
For Civil Rights Related Cases, see:
- Information about School Desegregation Cases
- Cases Relating to Brown v. Board of Education
- Civil Liberties Cases held in NARA's Atlanta facility
- Civil Rights Movement records held in NARA's Chicago facility
If you know the state or territory where a case was filed, you may locate the National
Archives facility that may contain the records you seek.
Also, you can view a list of National Archives facilities that hold court records, and links to general descriptions of those records.
• Bankruptcy Case Files
• Naturalization Files
• Judicial Records relating to American Slavery
• Records of The Supreme Court of the United States
• Records of the District Courts of the United States
• Watergate-Related Case Files
• Research Guide to the Criminal Case Files of Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1866-1900
• United States Federal Judiciary, U.S. Courts to learn more about the Federal system of courts in the United States.
• The Supreme Court for information about current activities of the United States Supreme Court.
• The Federal Judicial Center for information about this official education and research agency for the Federal courts.
• United States Department of Justice for information about how the Department of Justice (part of the Executive branch of the United States Federal Government) represents the United States Government in courts.
• The National Center for State Courts for links to information about state courts and to web sites of state courts.
• More web resources relating to Federal Courts and Court Opinions from the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC).
- Records of the District Courts of the
United States, RG 21.
- Records of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, RG 116.
- Records of the United States Court of Claims, RG 123.
- Records of the United States Commerce Court, RG 172.
- Records of the Court of Claims Section, RG 205.
- Records of the Supreme Court or the United States, RG 267.
- Records of the United States Court of Appeals, RG 276.
- Records of the U.S. Tax Court, RG 308.
- Records of the U.S. Court of International Trade, RG 321.
Note: You can also find the location of bankruptcy records based on the state or territory where the case was filed.