National Archives at New York City

Court Records in the Custody of the Courts

Researcher note on the dates of court records

Please note that your options for obtaining access to court records depend on whether a case has been legally transferred into the custody of the National Archives at New York City, or whether it still legally belongs to the court. Cases and related records are transferred into our custody according to our records disposition schedule. The actual date of transfer can vary depending on the type of case and particularly how long it occurred in the courts (meaning that cases that began in the same year will not necessarily be transferred to the National Archives at the same time).

Cases from the mid-1970s to Present: Researchers interested in cases filed in the mid-1970s to the present should contact the appropriate court where the case was heard before contacting the National Archives at New York City. The court will have indexes to indicate whether the material has been transferred to the National Archives, and they can locate cases that have not yet been transferred. Please note, the National Archives does not have access to these indexes for cases that still belong to the courts.

Federal Court Records, ca. late 1970s to Present
(Records Not in National Archives Legal Custody)

Access to the Records in New York

Closed business and personal bankruptcy case files, and civil and criminal case files from Federal District courts in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands dating from ca. the late 1970s to the present have not yet been transferred into the legal custody of the National Archives. We do not have access to these records here at the National Archives at New York City.

As legal owners of these records, the courts may provide access to these records through their offices in the New York area. You must contact each specific court directly for more information.

Contact the Court for Case Information

Before contacting the Federal Records Center, you must contact the court where the case you are interested in was filed. You can discuss with them any options they provide for obtaining access to the records in New York. You must also obtain from them the following information, before contacting the Federal Records Center to access the records through the FRC:

  • Case # (also known as case docket #)
  • Case name (not necessarily required)
  • Transfer # (also known as accession #)
  • Box # (or #s)
  • Location (shelf location where records are stored in the Federal Records Center)

Off-Site Storage and Access at the Federal Records Center

The National Archives stores these records for the courts at our Federal Records Center (FRC) in Lee's Summit, Missouri and makes them available for review. You can contact the Federal Records Center and discuss obtaining copies through the mail, or you can visit their facility to view the records and make copies.

Viewing Records/Obtaining Copies from the Federal Records Center

With the information you obtained from the court, you can request certain mail order copy services from the Federal Records Center in Lee's Summit, Missouri. You can do this by mail, delivery service, or fax using forms available from their web site on Access to Bankruptcy and Other Court Case Files in Lee's Summit, Missouri. You can also visit their facility to research the files and make copies in person.

You can also see Court Records Available via NARA's online system, for more information.

Please see the Lee's Summit facility's web pages on Access to Bankruptcy and Other Court Case Files in Lee's Summit, Missouri for more information, or contact them as follows:

National Archives Central Plains Region
200 Space Center Drive
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-1182
phone: 816-268-8100
fax: 816-268-8159

Further Information on Court Records in Courtesy Storage