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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in November 2013. It is an excerpt from their course US Court Records  by C. Ann Staley, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Contents

Statutes at Large

The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large, is the official source for the laws and resolutions passed by Congress. The published volumes of the Statutes began in 1845 under authority granted by Congress. In 1874, Congress transferred the authority to publish the Statutes at Large to the Government Printing Office, which has been responsible for producing the set since that time.

Every law, public and private, ever enacted by the Congress is published in the Statutes at Large in order of the date of its passage. Until 1948, all treaties and international agreements approved by the Senate were also published in the set. In addition, the Statutes at Large includes the text of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, amendments to the Constitution, treaties with Indians and foreign nations, and presidential proclamations.

Judiciary Act of 1789

In keeping with Article III of the Constitution, one of the first acts of the Continental Congress was to enact the Judiciary Act of 1789. This Judiciary Act created thirteen districts and places eleven of the districts (coinciding with the original thirteen states) in three circuits: the Eastern, Middle, and Southern. The district courts of Maine and Kentucky (parts of the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia respectively) exercised both district and circuit court jurisdiction.

House and Senate Journals

From its inaugural session in 1789, the United States House of Representatives has kept a journal of its proceedings in accordance with Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which provides that:

Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.


The printed version for 1789-1875, published by order of the House of Representatives, is presented in electronic form on the Library of Congress website. The legislation information for the current Congress can be found on the Library of Congress THOMAS project website.

Likewise, under Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, the U.S. Senate has kept a journal of its proceedings. Those proceedings are available for 1789-1875 on the Library of Congress website.

Resources

M1264
Journals of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-1817. RG 233. 17 reels.
M1265
Bill Books of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1814-1817. RG 233. 1 reel.
M1404
Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 8th Congress, 1803-1805. RG 233. 5 reels.
M200
Territorial Papers of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1873. RG 46. 20 reels.
M1196
Records of the Senate Select Committee that Investigated John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, 1859. RG 46. 3 reels.
M1251
Journal of the Legislative Proceedings of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1817. RG 46. 28 reels.
M1252
Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1823. RG 46. 3 reels.
M1253
Journal of the Impeachment Proceedings Before the U.S. Senate, 1798-1805. RG 46. 1 reel.
M1254
Journal of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1845. RG 46. 1 reel.
M1255
Bill Books of the U.S. Senate, 1795-1845. RG 46. 2 reels.
M1256
Transcribed Reports of Committees of the U.S. Senate, 1817-1827. RG 46. 2 reels.
M1257
Transcribed Reports and Communications Transmitted by the Executive Branch to the U.S. Senate, 1789-1819, and Transcribed Reports of Senate Committees, 1798-1817, 1798-1819. RG 46. 4 reels.
M1258
Transcribed Treaties and Conventions Approved by the U.S. Senate, 1789-1836. RG 46. 2 reels.
M1260
Engrossed Bills and Resolutions of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1817. RG 46. 5 reels.
M1403
Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 8th Congress, 1803-1805. RG 46. 5 reels.
M1546
Petitions Submitted to the U.S. Senate for the Removal of Political Disabilities of Former Confederate Officeholders, 1869-1877. RG 46. 14 reels.
M1704
Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, Fifth Congress, 1797-1799. RG. 46. 5 reels.
M1706
Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 6th. Congress, 1799-1801. RG 46. 8 reels.
M1708
Unbound records of the U.S. Senate, Ninth Congress 1805-1807. RG 46. 7 reels.
M1709
Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ninth Congress, 1805-1807.
M1710
Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 10th Congress, 1807-1809. RG 46. 10 reels.
M1711
Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 10th Congress, 1807-1809.
M1897
Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii Submitted to the U.S. Senate in 1897 by the Hawaiian Patriotic League of the Hawaiian Islands. RG 46. 1 reel.
P2000
Records of the Seventh Congress, 1801-1803. RGs 46 and 233. 1 reel.

Finding Aid

George P. Perros, James C. Brown, and Jacqueline A. Wood, comps.,Papers of the United States Senate relating to Presidential Nominations, 1789-1901, SL 20 (1964).


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Court Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 17 September 2014, at 19:54.
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