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.
To Access Records
You can see a limited number of court case files in the National Archives Catalog. However, at this time most of the information available on this website describes the records, rather than shows them to you. Start with search tips for the National Archives Catalog.
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
- Start with our main Court Records page
- Finding Aids and Research Guides from the Regional Archives
- See also detailed finding aids for court records held in Chicago, Kansas City, and Fort Worth.
- Lists of electronic records in our holdings.
For Civil Rights Related Cases, see:
- 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
Other web sites:
• 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).
Court Records in the Guide to Federal Records
- 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.
• Records of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, RG 116.
Note: You can also find the location of bankruptcy records based on the state or territory where the case was filed.