Oklahoma Court Records
Information about many of your ancestors can be found in court records, perhaps as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. They may have participated in cases involving probate, naturalization, divorce, debt, adoption, guardianship, licenses, appointment to public offices, taxes, civil and criminal lawsuits, property disputes, crimes, or other matters brought before a court. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence. They often provide occupations, descriptions of individuals, and other excellent family history information.
Between the date counties were created and the date they were organized, which could be several years, some counties were attached to other counties for administrative purposes. This sometimes makes it hard to find the early records.
Researching Oklahoma Court Records
Major Oklahoma courts that kept records of genealogical value were established as follows:
1844- U.S. district courts
From 1844 to 1889, the present U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas had jurisdiction over criminal and some civil matters in the Indian Territory. Beginning in 1889, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas assumed this jurisdiction.
1890- District courts of Oklahoma
Beginning in 1890 the Oklahoma Territory was divided into several court districts that serve one or more counties. A district court judge now serves in each county. These courts are often referred to as county courts. They have jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, including probate records. The Family History Library has some of the early court records, such as 128 microfilms of Logan County territorial records, 1890 to 1907.
Oklahoma state courts
The Supreme Court is a statewide appellate court, as are the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Obtaining the records
Oklahoma offers online access for court dockets and legal research for most county courts and all Oklahoma appellate courts.
Some of the federal court records for the territorial era are at the Oklahoma Historical Society.
The Family History Library does not have county, supreme, or appeals court records. You can obtain copies of these records by contacting the clerk's office in each county. Genealogy.com offers contact details of each county court.