Washington Court Records

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Major Washington courts that have kept records of genealogical value were established as follows:

  • Probate courts were the primary courts for probate matters until 1891, when this responsibility was assumed by the superior courts. In some areas, the probate court had concurrent civil and criminal jurisdiction with the district courts.
  • Superior courts have had county wide jurisdiction over criminal cases and major civil cases, juvenile matters, and probate matters.
  • District courts have district wide jurisdiction with the superior courts over misdemeanors, preliminary hearings for felony cases, and minor civil cases.

Supreme Court has statewide appellate jurisdiction.

The Family History Library does not have copies of Washington court records. They are available at the county courthouses, or some courts have transferred their records to the Washington State Archives at http://www.secstate.wa.gov/archives/.