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.
Court Records at the National Archives cover more than 200 years of court proceedings at the federal level. The earliest court records in our holdings date to approximately 1790. It is estimated that there are more than 2.2 billion textual pages of court materials in the National Archives. As the court retires materials annually, this number continues to grow.
Court materials are created by:
The types of records are primarily case files. Categories of case files include:
In addition to case files, other type of records are:
Finding Federal Court Records Held by the National Archives
For more detailed information about court records held by the National Archives, consult the National Archives Catalog.
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.
Locating Records of federal circuit and district courts and select territorial courts
(all bankruptcy case files are at the National Archives at Kansas City)
*States that are shared between two points of contact. Splits are generally by time periods. NARA staff will help you navigate these materials.
Locating Records of Courts of Appeal
|Court||Point of Contact|
|First, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth, Tenth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals||National Archives at Kansas City|
|Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals||National Archives at Fort Worth|
|Sixth and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal||National Archives at Chicago|
|Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals||National Archives at San Francisco|
Locating Records of the Supreme Court
For more information about the history and organization of the federal courts, see: