2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2017 5:30 PM by Research Services at the National Archives

    How do I find arrest reports and federal convictions documents relating to Prohibition?


      My mother's uncle and a friend of his were picked up for rum running during the years of Prohibition.  I'm trying to find the documents relating to that arrest and conviction.  I've been told by 2 different people that they were sent to a federal prison in Georgia, but one person said 4 years, while the other said 2 years.  Fortunately, the second person had more information about the arrest - it was off the coast of Mass by the Coast Guard, but there wasn't a year.  I do know the name of the ship - the Mary.  Where do I search?

        • Re: How do I find arrest reports and federal convictions documents relating to Prohibition?

          Good Morning Ms. Jarrell:


          Please contact us at the National Archives at Boston via our email with the following information:




          The men's names associated with the arrest

          the circumstances surrounding the arrest

          year when you believe the case was heard.


          we will look the case up in our dockets to see if we can find a case associated with the names. we can then make copies for you or you can come in to view the case, if a case can be found. we will let you know what we can find

          if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our reference desk toll free at 1-866-406-2379.

          • Re: How do I find arrest reports and federal convictions documents relating to Prohibition?
            Research Services at the National Archives Tracker

            Dear Ms. Jarrell:

            Thank you for contacting History Hub. We searched the National Archives Catalog and located  information that may prove useful to you in your research. One record group (RG) to start with would be RG 60 -- General Records of the Department of Justice, 1790-2002. Under Class 23 (Liquor Violations), there are Litigation Case Files, 1910-1970, which consists of prosecutions under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. Among the prosecuted offenses found here are customs violations involving liquor, the shipping of liquor into dry states, and violations of regulations on the interstate shipment of liquor. You can find the Catalog description for this series here. Class 23 also has two series on Alienated Case File Enclosures, one from 1919 to 1970 and the other between 1910 and 1970. These two series include U.S. Supreme Court and Circuit Court of Appeals briefs, transcripts of records and petitions, correspondence, and memorandums. The litigation series also includes case investigative reports, indictment charges, and newspaper clippings.

            Also within RG 60, there is a series titled Docket of Ship Seizures in Prohibition Cases, 1923-1927. As the Coast Guard was involved in the case you are researching, it is possible there may be information here. The series has a docket relating to vessel seizures for suspected prohibition violations, including vessel name, file number, registry and vessel type, location and date of seizure, type of cargo, date libeled, number of arrests, judicial district, type of case, and actions taken in the case. You can find more on this series here.

            In addition to these, you may also want to search through RG 26 -- Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785-2005. RG 26 has a series on Prohibition, with the online catalog providing search results for that series here. Finally, as this incident happened off the coast of Massachusetts, you can inquire of the National Archives at Boston as to whether their records may contain additional information. Their website (https://www.archives.gov/boston) has an Index of Subjects which can give you a brief idea of their holdings. You can contact that facility via e-mail at boston.archives@nara.gov.

            The best of luck in your research, and thank you again for contacting History Hub!