United States. District Court (Massachusetts)

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U.S. district and circuit courts were created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 under the authority of the constitutional provision that the judicial power of the United States be vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as the Congress may establish. The Judiciary Act provided that these courts were to have original jurisdiction in cases involving crimes, remedies of common law, and aliens suing for a tort. The district courts were to have exclusive original cognizance of civil cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, of seizures and all suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred, and of all suits against consuls or vice consuls. The circuit courts were to have jurisdiction over actions involving aliens or citizens of different States and, concurrent with the courts of theseveral States, equity suits where the matter in dispute exceeded $500. Provision was also made for appeals from the district to the circuit court.

Subsequent legislation and other factors caused the amount and type of work performed by the circuit and district courts to vary. The national bankruptcy acts, the first of which was passed in 1800, added a heavy burden to the district courts. In 1891 the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred to the newly created circuit courts of appeals, and the Judiciary Act of 1911 abolished the circuit courts and provided for the transfer of their records and remaining jurisdiction to the district courts.

Most States have had one district and one circuit court, with the State constituting a Federal judicial district. As the business of the courts increased the Congress authorized two or more district and circuit courts in some States. Some district and circuit courts were organized into two or more divisions, and court sessions were held at two or more locations. In 1838 the Northern District of New York became the first district to be divided into two divisions. Today at least 23 district courts are organized into divisions, and several courts have as many as six, seven, or eight divisions.

Naturalization Activities

The first naturalization act, passed in 1790, provided that an alien who desired to become a citizen of the United States should apply to "any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least." Under this and later laws, and under varying requirements, aliens were naturalized in federal, state and local courts.

Records of naturalization proceedings in federal courts are usually among the records of the district court for the district in which proceedings took place. These records may still be in the custody of the court or may have been transferred to the National Archives,

A federal naturalization record usually consists of a declaration of intention, petitions, depositions, and a record of naturalization. For more information about the types of information included in these records, see various publications of the National Archives dealing with genealogical research, available from the Publications Division, National Archives (NEP), Washington, DC 20408.

Judicial Districts

The state of Massachusetts has one judicial district.

From the description of Agency history record. (National Archives Library). WorldCat record id: 145406872

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). [United Shoe Machinery Company, of New Jersey, et al. court proceedings]. Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
referencedIn Columbia Pictures Corporation,. Miami Drive-In Theatre, Inc. v. Loew's, Inc., et al. Transcripts, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1941-1943. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Letters received, 1861-1864, by John Shepard Keyes. Boston Athenaeum
referencedIn Lowell, John, 1743-1802. Papers, 1629-1894 (inclusive), 1764-1803 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Goodale family. Goodale family papers, 1712-1845. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Davis, John, 1761-1847. Judicial opinions, 1811-1836. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Petitions and records of naturalization, 1868-1906. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Stenographic Record of Trial before Wyzanski, J., U.S. v. United Shoe Machinery Corporation, 1949-1952, District Court of the U.S., District of Massachusetts Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Boston Public Schools. Boston Public Schools desegregation-era records collection, 1952-1996 (bulk 1976-1985). City of Boston Archives & Records Management Division
referencedIn Chandler, Peleg W. (Peleg Whitman), 1816-1889. Peleg W. Chandler papers, 1829-1908; bulk: 1852-1866. Peabody Essex Museum
referencedIn Boston Public Schools. Boston Public Schools desegregation-era records collection, 1952-1996 (bulk 1976-1985). City of Boston Archives & Records Management Division
referencedIn Loew's Incorporated. Winchester Theatre Co. vs. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, et al., Transcript and records, 1937-1942. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Agency history record. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880. Peleg Sprague papers, 1826-1841. Duxbury Rural and Historical Society
referencedIn Columbia Pictures Corporation,. Miami Drive-In Theatre, Inc. v. Loew's, Inc., et al. Transcripts, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1941-1943. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Davis, John, 1761-1847. District Court dockets : Boston, 1810-1833. Boston Athenaeum
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners. Transcripts of testimony and exhibits relating to suit involving the Haverhill Gas Light Company, 1913. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Petitions and records of naturalization for military personnel, 1919. Denver Art Museum
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Petitions and records of naturalization, 1790-1868. Denver Art Museum
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Charles Francis, 1835-1915. person
associatedWith Boston Public Schools. corporateBody
associatedWith Brown, George William, 1812-1890. person
associatedWith Chandler, Peleg W. (Peleg Whitman), 1816-1889. person
associatedWith Dana, Charles A. 1819-1897. person
associatedWith Dana, Richard Henry, 1815-1882. person
associatedWith Davis, John, 1761-1847. person
associatedWith Dix, John A. 1798-1879. person
associatedWith Goodale family. family
associatedWith Keyes, John Shepard, 1821-1901. person
associatedWith Lowell, John, 1743-1802. person
associatedWith Lowell, John, 1824-1897. person
associatedWith Massachusetts. Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners. corporateBody
associatedWith Millward, William, 1822-1871. person
associatedWith Seward, Frederick William, 1830-1915. person
associatedWith Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872. person
associatedWith Shattuck, George Cheyne, 1813-1893. person
associatedWith Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880. person
associatedWith Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869. person
associatedWith Thomas, Lorenzo, 1804-1875. person
associatedWith United Shoe Machinery Corporation corporateBody
associatedWith Welles, Gideon, 1802-1878. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts
Salem (Mass.)
Massachusetts
United States
Boston (Mass.)
Boston (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Boston (Mass.)
Fort Devens (Mass.)
Subject
Citizenship
Habeas corpus
Naturalization
Immigrants
Spies
Judicial districts
Contraband of war
Occupation
Function
Citizenship
Adjudicating law
Immigration

Corporate Body

Information

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