District of Columbia Court Records

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Major courts that kept records of genealogical value for the District of Columbia were established as follows:

  • 1801-1863:  Circuit court kept records of civil and criminal cases.
  • 1863-1928:  Supreme court replaced the circuit court.
  • 1928-present:  Superior court replaced the supreme court.
  • 1801-1871:  Levy court governed Washington County outside the City of Washington and assessed taxes.
  • 1800s-present:  District court for the District of Columbia is the federal court that serves the general area, with jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases.

The Family History Library has copies of a few District of Columbia court records, but most are at the National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland. That collection includes Washington County District Court docket books (1801-40), minute books (1801-42), case papers (1802-40), and indentures of apprenticeship (1801-74).

The Virginia State Library has circuit court order books (1801-27) and minute books (1825-46), and U.S. district court minute books (1801-25).