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Court Records : Federal Courts

About Federal Courts

Not all court cases heard in Minnesota are heard in state courts; some are heard in Federal courts located in Minnesota.  

Federal Courts have jurisdiction over:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Certain civil cases (law, equity, and admiralty)
  • Certain criminal cases, including violations of Prohibition laws
  • Naturalization records filed after the Minnesota district courts ceased handling citizenship requests (between 1906 and the 1970s, depending on the county).  

There are two types of Federal courts, U.S. District Courts and U.S. Circuit Courts.  The circuit courts hear appeals on U.S. District Court cases.

Federal court records are not available at the Minnesota Historical Society Library.



Federal Courts Records at the National Archives

The Federal court records are primarily case files.  Case files are arranged numerically by the docket number assigned when the case was filed.. Transcripts are seldom part of the file.

Other available records may include:

  • Docket books
  • Minute books or journals
  • Lists of jury members
  • Names of attorneys admitted to practice
  • Text of orders appointing court officials
  • Text of orders of the court
  • Naturalization papers
  • Order or judgment books

Many historical records for Federal courts located in Minnesota are archived at the National Archives, some at the Kansas City branch and others at the National Archives Chicago location.  These records are among the holdings of the National Archives court records.  Federal court records are Record Group 21, and the records for Minnesota are Record Group 21.25

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