Alaska Court Records
District courts had jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters before statehood. Federal district judges were appointed as early as 1884. The entire territory had only one district, administered by a judge in Sitka, until 1903, when three districts were created with judges at Juneau, Saint Michaels, and Eagle City. The fourth district was added in 1909, and the four seats were placed in Juneau, Nome, Valdez (moved to Anchorage in 1943), and Fairbanks.
The areas served by these districts are as follows:
- Juneau, District 1: Southeastern Alexander Archipelago and the cities of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Sitka, and Juneau.
- Nome, District 2: North, including Nome and Barrow.
- Anchorage, District 3: South, including Anchorage, Kodiak, and the Aleutian Islands.
- Fairbanks, District 4: Central, including Fairbanks, Bethel, and Toksook Bay.
Since 1959 district court jurisdiction has been limited to minor civil and criminal matters such as issuing marriage licenses and arrest warrants, hearing misdemeanor cases, and acting as the temporary custodian of the property of deceased persons.
A superior court, a supreme court, and magistrate courts have also served Alaska since 1959.
The Family History Library does not have copies of any court records from Alaska. The Alaska State Archives has most of the territorial court records (except probate records) for the first district and some for the second and fourth districts. The archives has the court journals but not the complete case files for the first district.
The case files of the first district, the records of the third district (1900-59), and some miscellaneous records of the other districts are at the National Archives—Alaska Region. Copies of documents not at these two archives can be obtained by writing to the appropriate local clerk's office.