Oklahoma Court Records
Names of many Oklahoma residents may be found in civil court records of actions such as disputes over property or settlement of estates. Criminal court records have information of people involved in confrontations, thefts, or destruction of property. These records may give a person’s age, residence, occupation, and family relationships. Friends and neighbors may have given depositions as witnesses.
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.