District of Columbia Court and Emancipation Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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District of Columbia Court and Emancipation Records, 1820-1863
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
District of Columbia, 
United States
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US Flag July 4, 1820 - July 3, 1822 (23 stars)
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Record Description
Record Type Federal Court and Commission Records
Record Group RG 21 and 217: Records of the District Courts of the United States (RG 21) and Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury (RG217)
Collection years 1820-1863
Microfilm Publication M433. Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Relating to Slaves,1851-1863. 3 rolls.
  M434. Habeas Corpus Case Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia,1820-1863. 2 rolls.
  M520. Records of the Board of Commissioners for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia, 1862-63. 6 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 4314538 6277088
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of images of National Archives records from three microfilm publications:

  • Records of the Board of Commissioners for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia, 1862-1863, M520, 4 rolls in Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department the Treasury, RG 217
  • Records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia relating to slaves, 1851-1863 M433, 2 rolls
  • United States, Circuit Court (District of Columbia), Habeas Corpus Case Records, 1820-1863, M434, 2 rolls in Records of the District Courts of the United States in RG 21. The collection covers the years 1820 to 1863.

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Related Publications

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

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To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for District of Columbia Court and Emancipation Records, 1820-1863.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name
  • Age or birth date (these may be approximated)
  • Gender
  • Name of former owner
  • Residence
  • Names of other family members or witnesses
  • Document dates

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual
  • The approximate court date or emancipation date

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the NARA Roll Number and film description to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age to find vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in censuses
  • Emancipated individuals may still have family members who are slaves. Be sure to look for other individuals who may be related
  • Look for the slave holder and records they kept which may provide information about those who were enslaved

I Can't Find the Person Who I'm Looking For, What Now ?[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of District of Columbia.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying you sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.