Maine Court Records
This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
An extensive array of courts has existed in Maine since the beginning of the settlements in the early 1600s. Jurisdictional changes are quite complicated. A detailed publication of the early records can be found in Province and Court Records of Maine, 6 vols. (Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society, 1928), as well as on microfilm through the FHL. All of the original court records for York County are at Maine State Archives. Counties formed from York after 1760 (Cumberland and Lincoln) and 1789 (Washington) from York were also under Massachusetts jurisdiction, although these records appear not to have been microfilmed. Most extant court records to 1929 for all counties except Lincoln can be found at the Maine State Archives. Later court records after 1929 continue to be received by the archives. Lincoln County court records are at the courthouse in Wiscasset.
Before statehood, Maine’s court of appeals was the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature (1692–1780). This also served as the original court for some other cases such as murders. Records for this court are filled as “Suffolk Files” at the Massachusetts State Archives where they are indexed. The supreme judicial court replaced the superior court of judicature after 1780. According to the Massachusetts State Archives, their holdings include circuit court records for this court for Maine counties through 1793.
Online access to some private held indexes to court records can be found through Maine GenWeb.
At Ancestry.com, subscribers can access the following court records specific to Maine: