Arizona Government records cover a broad range of genealogy subject areas that can help you as part of your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalization’s. Given that Arizona court records cover such a wide selection of topics, they could aid you in many different ways. As an example, they could aid you in finding ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, determine citizenship status, or shed light on relationships between individuals. The whole thing relies upon on the type of court records that the ancestors” names show up in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.
Arizona Courthouse records change extensively from county to county in both level of quality and volume. You will find different kinds of court records that are most likely to possess information related for your genealogical research below.
Arizona Court Records
Arizona’s has a common organization to its judicial system. Courts are heard locally and then move with complexity to larger and further removed jurisdiction. Civil and small claims come before the Justice of the Peace, while town and city violations go to municipal court. The court calendar and records in each county are maintained by a clerk of the superior courts. The superior courts hear appeals from the lower courts and civil and criminal cases, including divorces. The Supreme Court functions statewide and hears Extraordinary writs and appeals from the court of appeals in Phoenix and Tucson are heard by the Supreme Court. Writs and appeals from the county superior courts are also handled there. Many county court records are on microfilm at the FHL.
- Arizona Court Record Books (amazon.com)
Arizona Land Records
The area of present-day Arizona began as a Spanish territory, reverting to Mexico on its independence from Spain. Much of the land was purchased by the United States after the Mexican War, making it part of the New Mexico Territory in 1850. Arizona separated became its own official territory on February 24, 1863. The region of Pah-Ute County was ceded to Nevada in 1866. However, the population and settlement of Arizona was still relatively slow, primarily developing in the Tucson area. Several Native American peoples occupied the area, causing continuous wars that did not end until 1886. This heavy conflict was one of the deterrents to the expansion of Arizona’s frontier.
To research lands that were granted to the United States in 1848 and for private land claims, you can write to the National Archives—Southwest Region. Unfortunately fraudulent land claims were relatively abundant until the late 1800s, when U.S. authorities authenticated private land claims. These private land registers were transferred to the National Archives—Southwest Region, in 1960. Lands from the Gadsden Purchase can be researched at the Pima County Recorder’s Office at Tucson.
The year of Arizona’s admittance as a territory in 1863 was the same year that the U.S. Federal District Land Office opened. Land could be acquired directly from the federal government, making Arizona a public-domain state. Land offices that opened in Prescott in 1863 and Florence and Gila in 1873 moved to Tucson in 1881 and Phoenix in 1905. All offices were eventually replaced by the land office in Phoenix.
Early land claims consist mainly of mining enterprises. Consult the BLM Arizona State Office for patents, copies of tract books, and plat maps. The National Archives—Southwest Region should be included in any research on early land records in Arizona. You will find abundant resources there, including mining and homestead surveys, land claims, grazing service records, and rights-of-way claims and settlements for Gila, Salt River, and Navajo Meridians. There are also land entry case files at the National Archives—Rocky Mountain Region. Include the person’s name and state of Arizona in any correspondence. Arizona records before to 1908 have been indexed alphabetically, so you should also include whether or not your inquiry is for a date prior to 1908.
You can request land records from the county recorder, as this is where jurisdiction for county land transactions was held. It will help to understand what to expect as a result of how ownership was acquired in the state. Because Arizona was previously part of the New Mexico Territory, where pueblos had already been established, the federal government recognized the majority of prior claims. Therefore, it is common to read units of measurement represented by Spanish phrases such as “leagues” and “varas.” Most county land records in Arizona are on microfilm at the FHL. See Also Guide to U.S. Land Records Research
Arizona Probate Records
Proceedings concerning a person’s death, adoption, or guardianship are recorded by the probate courts. These are rich sources of genealogy data and can help you reconcile problems or inconsistencies with family relationships in your research. You can find these records in the offices of the clerk of the Supreme Court.
Whether a written last will and testament was prepared (testate case) or no will was written (intestate), the proceedings would have been heard in the county of residence or where property was held. If minor heirs are involved, you will find additional records in the files. Their names may appear in court records for as long as they remained minors. You should closely examine all indexes and related cases and court records to make sure you have the complete information on a probate file. Probate records for many counties are microfilmed at the FHL. See Also Guide to U.S. Probate Records Research
- Arizona Probate Record Books (amazon.com)
Arizona Tax Records
To research county taxes and related records, such as licensing and assessment rolls, see the Arizona State Archives. Some records hold multiple consecutive years while others are for a single tax year. There is a printed guide available, listed in Archives, Libraries, and Societies. See Also Guide to U.S. Tax Records Research
- Arizona Tax Record Books (amazon.com)
Arizona County & City Government Links
Arizona contains 15 counties. Each county is the local level of government within its borders.
Genealogist frequently fail to notice the benefits of County court, probate, and land records as a useful resource of family history and genealogy details. Hidden away in Arizona courthouses and archives just about everywhere tend to be the aspirations and frustrations of the many Arizona people. The possibilities are excellent that your potential ancestors have left a in-depth record of at least some factors of their lives in the court records. Even if your forebears is not brought up in a Court case, contemplate all of the other methods which often can have lead to her or him appearing in court records. There are three mainoffices to find most records of Genealogy importance, they are:
- The County Clerk of Superior Court issues marriage licenses, maintain marriage and divorce records, civil, domestic, criminal, juvenile and probate records, Notary Public Bonds and Commissions, and any other duties that the presiding judge may prescribe.
- The County Recorder has two principle duties. The first duty of the County Recorder is to record documents, as required by law, to be public record. Instruments recorded include real estate transactions, mortgages, deed of trust, family trusts, personal property, tax liens, mining locations, subdivision plats, records of survey, military discharges, official appointments of office, and other documents required to be made of public record. The second major duty concerns elections since the County Recorder is also the registrar of voters for the county. This involves maintaining the county register, conducting early voting, verifying petition signatures, lists for political parties and candidates, and jury lists.
- The County Tax Assessor has the statutory duty to locate, identify and value all taxable property in the county’s jurisdiction. The Assessor’s office maintains ownership of certain files, provides public services, value all land, improvements, and personal property annually, maps all parcels and maintains all tax authorities (area and boundaries). The utilization of recorded documents, deeds, plat maps and sub-divisions are among the tools used by the Assessor’s Office to accomplish several of these tasks.
The links in the table below link to county and city government offices and is limited to government-maintained websites. This list of county and city government links is limited to government-maintained websites. If you know of a Arizona county that has an official government web site but is not linked, or if the link is in error, please contact us so we may edit our database. Arizona State Government is located in Phoenix.