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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 ($).
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.
|| Journals of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-1817. RG 233. 17 reels. |
|| Bill Books of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1814-1817. RG 233. 1 reel. |
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 8th Congress, 1803-1805. RG 233. 5 reels.|
|| Territorial Papers of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1873. RG 46. 20 reels.|
|| Records of the Senate Select Committee that Investigated John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, 1859. RG 46. 3 reels.|
|| Journal of the Legislative Proceedings of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1817. RG 46. 28 reels.|
|| Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1823. RG 46. 3 reels.|
|| Journal of the Impeachment Proceedings Before the U.S. Senate, 1798-1805. RG 46. 1 reel.|
|| Journal of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1845. RG 46. 1 reel.|
|| Bill Books of the U.S. Senate, 1795-1845. RG 46. 2 reels.|
|| Transcribed Reports of Committees of the U.S. Senate, 1817-1827. RG 46. 2 reels.|
|| 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. |
|| Transcribed Treaties and Conventions Approved by the U.S. Senate, 1789-1836. RG 46. 2 reels. |
|| Engrossed Bills and Resolutions of the U.S. Senate, 1789-1817. RG 46. 5 reels.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 8th Congress, 1803-1805. RG 46. 5 reels.|
|| Petitions Submitted to the U.S. Senate for the Removal of Political Disabilities of Former Confederate Officeholders, 1869-1877. RG 46. 14 reels.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, Fifth Congress, 1797-1799. RG. 46. 5 reels.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 6th. Congress, 1799-1801. RG 46. 8 reels.|
|| Unbound records of the U.S. Senate, Ninth Congress 1805-1807. RG 46. 7 reels.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ninth Congress, 1805-1807.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. Senate, 10th Congress, 1807-1809. RG 46. 10 reels.|
|| Unbound Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 10th Congress, 1807-1809.|
|| 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.|
|| Records of the Seventh Congress, 1801-1803. RGs 46 and 233. 1 reel.|
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.
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