United States. District Court (California).
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.
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.
The state of California has four judicial districts.
(1) The Northern District includes the counties of Alameda, Contra Costs, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma.
(2) The Eastern District includes the counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolomne, Yolo, and Yuba.
(3) The Central District includes the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
(4) The Southern District includes the counties of Imperial and San Diego.
From the description of Agency history record. (National Archives Library). WorldCat record id: 145406814
In 1851, after the Mexican American War, the United States Congress created the Board of Commissioners to Ascertain and Settle the Private Land Claims in the State of California (commonly known as the Board of California Land Commissioners). The Board heard 813 cases between 1851 and 1856, and in 604 of those cases the titles were confirmed. Appeals could be made to U.S. District Court in San Francisco, then on to U.S. Circuit Court and U.S. Supreme Court. Confirmed titles were appealed as a matter of procedure -- all but 3 of the 604 cases confirmed by the Board were appealed to U.S. District Court. Between 1852 and 1892, 857 cases were brought to U.S. District Court, 458 in the Northern District and 399 in the Southern District (see "Information for Researchers" for a note on case number discrepancies). While the majority (97%) of these cases were resolved by 1885, a few cases were litigated into the 1940s. 94 cases appeared before the U.S. Circuit Court, and 114 before the U.S. Supreme Court. Because materials from cases appealed to the Circuit Court and and Supreme Court are interfiled with the District Court Cases, there are documents in the Land Case Files dated later than 1892. The full date range, including interfiled materials from higher courts, is 1852-1942. Of the 604 titles confirmed by the Land Board, 582 received patents.
U.S. District Court records of these cases were transferred to the U. S. Surveyor General's Office in San Francisco (sometimes called the San Francisco Land Office) in 1892. While much of the material in the Spanish Archives was burned in the 1906 earthquake and fire, some land case records -- including the U.S. District Court Records and some original expediente materials -- were stored in a iron safe and thus survived. These records were transferred to the Public Survey Office in 1925, and then to Glendale when the Public Survey Office moved there in 1932. In 1937 the records were requisitioned by the San Francisco District Court to be filed with the Circuit Court land case records. Between 1939-1942 a Works Progress Administration project flattened the cases (previously kept in rolls), paged and stamped each case with a case number, and placed them in clearly marked portfolios. At this point the oversize diseños were separated from the cases, mounted, and filed in drawers. In 1961 the District Court at San Francisco deposited its records of the private land-grant cases in The Bancroft Library on permanent loan. The surviving expedientes materials from the Spanish Archives remained in the National Archives (Record Group 49.3.4, National Archives, Cartographic Branch), as did California Board of Land Commissioners records (Record Group 49), the Circuit Court records (Record Group 21), and the records of the U.S. Attorney General related to Supreme Court Cases (Record Group 60).
From the guide to the Documents pertaining to the adjudication of private land claims in California, circa 1852-1892, (The Bancroft Library)
The maps, or diseños, that comprise the Land Case Maps collection originally formed part of the private land claims ajudicated by the U.S. District Courts of California (Northern and Southern Districts) and the U.S Circuit Court (9th Circuit) from ca. 1850 to 1860. The records of the private land claim cases, along with the maps, were held by the U.S. District Court, San Francisco until 1951 when they were transferred to The Bancroft Library.
From the guide to the Maps of private land grant cases of California, [ca. 1840-ca. 1892], (The Bancroft Library)
|creatorOf||Maps of private land grant cases of California, [ca. 1840-ca. 1892]||Bancroft Library|
|creatorOf||United States. District Court (California). Agency history record.||Denver Art Museum|
|creatorOf||Documents pertaining to the adjudication of private land claims in California, circa 1852-1892||Bancroft Library|