Research Our Records

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

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:

  • district courts
  • circuit courts
  • select Territorial courts, prior to statehood
  • courts of appeal
  • Supreme Court

 

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

  • civil
  • admiralty
  • equity

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

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

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)

State Point of Contact
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, DC
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 (and Territorial Courts of 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 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 (and 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 (and Territorial Court of Wisconsin) National Archives at Chicago
Wyoming National Archives at Denver

*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

Record Type Point of Contact
Majority of materials National Archives at Washington, DC
Some special media materials and Watergate files National Archives at College Park

U.S. Supreme Court Appellate Case Files

U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Additional Resources

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

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