Court Files in 'Burned' Counties


6 March 2014

Last Thursday's tip pointed out the difference between "record copies" held in local government offices and the "true originals" originally cached in packets in the court clerk's office.

In counties with record destruction, one court practice provides some replacements. When legal cases were appealed from the local level to a district or state court, local clerks made copies of all documents in the original files and submitted those copies to the appellate court. When we are faced with local record-losses, we should search the published court-reporters and files or the appellate court to determine whether our person-of-interest was involved in an appealed case of legal significance.

EE's chapter 8, "Local & State Records: Courts & Governance," provides much more instruction on this class of records. Selected pages from this chapter can be found at

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