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National Archives Court Records

For Court Records less than 15 Years Old

Please note: Generally, federal court records less than 15 years old are not held by the National Archives and are still in the possession of individual courts.

To obtain access to those records, researchers must contact the appropriate federal court.

Online access to case and docket information is provided for a fee by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts through PACER. The court may refer you to a Federal Records Center to obtain copies.

Locate and Order court records in the Federal Records Centers

Records of the U.S. federal courts held at the National Archives include records created by:

  • district courts
  • circuit courts
  • courts of appeal
  • Supreme Court

The types of records are primarily case files. Categories of case files include:

  • civil
  • admiralty
  • equity
  • law
  • criminal
  • bankruptcy cases (all files in Kansas City)

In addition to case files, other type of records are:

  • dockets
  • transcripts
  • minutes
  • administrative files
  • execution books
  • order books
  • rule books
  • final record books

The earliest court records in our holdings date to approximately 1790.

Finding Federal Court Records Held by the National Archives

To identify and locate court records held by the National Archives, consult the National Archives Catalog.

For convenience of access, most of our holdings from the federal court system are stored at National Archives locations around the country. For instance, records of the New Hampshire federal courts are currently located at the National Archives at Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Records of federal district courts and courts of appeal in different states are located at the following National Archives locations:

State Location of Records
Alabama National Archives at Atlanta
Alaska National Archives at Seattle
Arizona National Archives at Riverside
Arkansas National Archives at Fort Worth
California (Northern) National Archives at San Francisco
California (Southern) National Archives at Riverside
Colorado National Archives at Denver
Connecticut National Archives at Boston
Delaware National Archives at Philadelphia
District of Columbia National Archives at Washington, D.C.
Florida National Archives at Atlanta
Georgia National Archives at Atlanta
Guam National Archives at San Francisco
Hawaii National Archives at San Francisco
Idaho National Archives at Seattle
Illinois National Archives at Chicago
Indiana National Archives at Chicago
Iowa National Archives at Kansas City
Kansas National Archives at Kansas City
Kentucky National Archives at Atlanta
Louisiana National Archives at Fort Worth
Maine National Archives at Boston
Maryland National Archives at Philadelphia
Massachusetts National Archives at Boston
Michigan National Archives at Chicago
Minnesota National Archives at Chicago
Mississippi National Archives at Atlanta
Missouri National Archives at Kansas City
Montana (Early case files) National Archives at Seattle
Montana National Archives at Denver
Nebraska National Archives at Kansas City
Nevada (Las Vegas) National Archives at Riverside
Nevada (except Las Vegas) National Archives at San Francisco
New Hampshire National Archives at Boston
New Jersey National Archives at New York City
New Mexico National Archives at Denver
New York National Archives at New York City
North Carolina National Archives at Atlanta
North Dakota National Archives at Denver
Northern Mariana Islands National Archives at San Francisco
Ohio National Archives at Chicago
Oklahoma National Archives at Fort Worth
Oregon National Archives at Seattle
Pennsylvania National Archives at Philadelphia
Puerto Rico National Archives at New York City
Rhode Island National Archives at Boston
South Carolina National Archives at Atlanta
South Dakota National Archives at Denver
Tennessee National Archives at Atlanta
Texas National Archives at Fort Worth
Utah (& Territory of Utah) National Archives at Denver
Vermont National Archives at Boston
Virgin Islands National Archives at New York City
Virginia National Archives at Philadelphia
Washington National Archives at Seattle
West Virginia National Archives at Philadelphia
Wisconsin (& Territorial Court of Wisconsin) National Archives at Chicago
Wyoming National Archives at Denver

Records of Courts of Appeal are stored at these locations:

Court Location of Records
First Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City
Second Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City
Third Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal National Archives at Kansas City
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Fort Worth
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal National Archives at Chicago
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal National Archives at Chicago
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at San Francisco
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals National Archives at Kansas City

Records of the Supreme Court are located at the National Archives at Washington, DC, with the exception of some special media materials and Watergate files which are at the National Archives at College Park.

An exception to the national distribution of court records is when certain holdings that are infrequently used may be centrally stored at a National Archives facility in Kansas for efficiency. In those instances copies may be ordered, or may be consulted at the National Archives at Kansas City by special arrangement. Whenever this applies to records this information is noted in the National Archives Catalog.

Additional Resources

For more information about the history and organization of the federal courts, see:

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