Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S. Circuit Court Criminal Case Files, 1790-1871 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
Original data:
  • Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Maryland, 1795-1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1010, 4 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1790-1853; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M885, 6 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1791-1840; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M986, 7 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans. Criminal Cases, 1870-1871; (National Archives Microfilm Publication P2102, 4 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

About U.S. Circuit Court Criminal Case Files, 1790-1871

This database contains images of criminal case files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the:

  • District of Maryland, 1795-1860

  • Southern District of New York, 1790-1853

  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1791-1840

  • Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, 1870-1871

These case files relate to crimes punishable under the laws of the United States, such as:

  • Assault and battery

  • Conspiracy to invade nations at peace with the U.S.

  • Counterfeiting and forgery

  • Evasion of custom duties

  • False reporting by U.S. census takers

  • Mail theft

  • Murder on the high seas

  • Mutiny

  • Perjury

  • Piracy

  • Sedition

  • Slave trade and harboring of fugitive slaves

  • Smuggling

  • Theft

  • Trading without a license

  • Unlawful fitting out and arming of vessels

Types of documents found in the case files include bills of indictment, presentments, please of defendants, recognizances, depositions, affidavits, subpoenas, writs, orders of the court, petitions, warrants, bonds, Presidential orders of pardon from imprisonment, and other papers filed in criminal actions.

The plaintiff in all of the cases was the United States.

The above information was taken from the Introductions (Descriptive Pamphlets) of each of the NARA microfilm publications included in this database. For further historical and background information regarding these record collections, please consult the Introductions. Each state’s Introduction is viewable by selecting it through the browse table below. For Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Introductions also include a listing of cases by defendant names and year. This may be helpful for finding a case relating to a specific individual.