Court Records


Court records come in a myriad of types. We have always been a litigious country, and genealogical gems can often be found lurking in the records. It takes a little skill to wade through the court system and you may need help. Court records include items as diverse as naturalization, criminal acts, land disputes, raising money for the poor, probate, church attendance, taxation, licensing, building roads, setting moral standards, libel, property damage, defense, guardianship, lunacy, adoption, courts martial, and debts.

Determining the proper court can be tricky. There are city, county, district, circuit, state, and federal courts. There are criminal and equity, inferior, common and superior courts. Some have strange names like surrogate, ordinary, exchequer, assize, prothonotary, chancery, and admiralty. The different names are due to the locations and time periods of the courts; for example, names of courts in New England may differ from the ones in Louisiana.

Help Me!  Determine what courts have jurisdiction in my area for my time period.

Help Me!  Find the address for a court clerk in my research location.

Help Me!  Find out if court records have been published for my location.

Help Me!  Obtain the records.

Help Me!  Define a legal term.

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.