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Adoption Research: Court Records

Court Records

Adoption records are usually part of the civil case files in the district courts. The Researching Court Records guide provides more information on these records.

Where courts' adoption records are found: 

  • For adoptions before 1950: The library has civil case files many counties in Minnesota. 
  • For adoptions after 1950: Most of these more recent civil case files are held by the county district court. 
  • In some cases--notably Hennepin County--the county court has retained selected civil case files, including those dealing with family matters such as adoption, for all years.


The court records of adoptions are arranged by civil case file number for the district court in the county where the adoption occurred. 

The library has indexes to civil case files for several counties. 

If there is not an index, you will need to contact the county to get the case file number.

Judgment books are a useful tool for finding records of adoptions.

How do I obtain a court record of an adoption?

Note: Adoption record restrictions may apply to all these collections. 

Visit the Library

Researchers can search for and locate materials on-site, usually with assistance from Library staff. Photocopy orders may be placed for a fee at the Copy Services window

For more details on visiting the library, please see our Using the Library guide.


Order Online

The Minnesota Historical Society Library offers a variety of research services including court record search requests.  

To order a court record:

  • Fill out the order form on the Court Case Search Request page in our online store. Please include any and all information you have about the record you are looking for.   


Court Record Links

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.