Early Rhode Island Court Records now available online

The following teaser is from My Backyard News.

The-Rhode-Island-Historical-Society-logo_250pw

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – The Rhode Island Historical Society has launched the digital archive “Colonial Justice: Preserving and Digitizing Early Rhode Island Court Records.” These specific collections were selected by RIHS curators for digitization based on their rarity, as well as their unique documentation of the colonial justice system in Rhode Island.

From a single online location, users can now access selected 1729-1812 records from the courts of Providence County, Kent County, and what was known as Kings County (now Washington County). The online archive is free and open to the public.

Read the full article, with links.

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

The Collin County, Texas County Clerk’s Marriage Records 1884-1949 Scanned and Searchable

Texas-Marriage-License-1898-217pw

The following is from the Collin County, Texas County Clerk’s website:

Collin County [Texas] County Clerk Stacey Kemp has come up with a great tool for those documenting their Collin County roots. The archive of marriage licenses, dating back 126 years, can be searched from a new Genealogy Corner on the webpage.

More than 8,000 licenses, dating from 1884 to 1949, have been scanned and are now searchable. But we went one step more: for those who’d like a copy of these licenses for a project or family album, there are three different options that are available for a small fee.

Check out the “Genealogy Corner.

Check out the Collin County Historical Marriage License Search.

Stacey Kemp was just nominated for County Clerk of the Year Award.

West Virginia Court Records Being Digitized

The following excerpt is from an article by Andrew Brown, written for the Charleston Gazette – and posted May 4, 2015 at govtech.com.

…Since 2013, West Virginia Supreme Court employee Matt Arrowood has been assigned to move the state’s antiquated county court system toward its digital future, where paper copies are a 20th-century notion and lawsuits can be filed with a click of a mouse.

Even as he has suffered through the long drives from courthouse to courthouse, the dark, dank basements of old jails and the company of the snake that took up residence in some of the court records he was saving, Arrowood has successfully moved the state’s 55 county courts one step closer to the computerized era.

In less than two years, Arrowood has brought every county in the state up to speed on scanning and digitally saving new court records, and within the past four months, he’s overseen the adoption of the state’s first e-filing systems in two counties, where lawyers can file motions directly from their computers to the state’s electronic system.

The transformational effort is the result of a recent push by the West Virginia Supreme Court, led by Justice Brent Benjamin, to digitally save and archive all of the state’s court records, starting with present cases but eventually going back over 150 years of legal history…

Read the full article.

The Alaska State Archives Has Accepted the Alaska Railroad and Territorial Court Records from NARA

Alaska Railroad

On Friday, the Alaska State Archives took official ownership of about 3000 cubic feet of records from the now-closed National Archives branch in Anchorage. This was done in a signing ceremony attended by court officials, judges, lawmakers, state historians, and museum volunteers. Since the records are being transferred from one archive to another, they all come ready to store in acid-free file folders and boxes. On August 4, 7 & 8, the records will begin to arrive in three 40-ft shipping containers. The containers will hauled on the Alcan Highway to Haines, after which a ferry will complete the transfer to the Juneau. The Alaska State Archives and Museum is currently under construction in Juneau with a portion of the storage space already completed, allowing a place to put all these records.

Twelve hundred of the records are from the Alaska Railroad. Included in the railroad records are items like lists of stoppages. According to State Archivist Dean Dawson in an interview with KTOO’s Matt Miller, “It might be we picked up five tons of coal from Healy, for example. Some of those are just garden variety records that make the trains run on time. Others, for example would go back to the early teens – a hundred years ago – and document why certain decisions were made regarding routes, regarding services, and so forth.”

The railroad records will be catalogued over the next year, and those that are considered to have no permanent archival value may be offered back to the Alaska Railroad itself.

Included in the transfer were about 1800 Alaska Territorial Court Records that date back to 1884. These records may be available to researchers in Juneau within a month or so.

Since the National Archives closed its Anchorage facility in June, most of the NARA records from Alaska are being sent to Seattle, to be consolidated with those records already housed there.

For more information, check out the following entries.

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/e441744fb42e474cbd7af7433a23ecb3/AK–Historical-Records

http://www.ktoo.org/2014/07/27/state-archives-accepts-alaska-railroad-territorial-court-records/

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/e441744fb42e474cbd7af7433a23ecb3/AK–Historical-Records

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/07/28/3306906/territorial-court-records-will.html?sp=/99/296/359/

http://www.adn.com/article/20140530/national-archives-records-stored-anchorage-bound-juneau-seattle

Land Causes, Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826 – 50% Off Thru Thursday, May 15

FRPC just bought a quantity of a popular Virginia Eastern Shore source book to run as this weekend’s FRPC Exceptional Bargain offer. It’s titled Land Causes, Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826. If you’ve got Eastern Shore Virginia ancestry, this is a great hard back book to add to your collection. Normally $28.50, it’s 50% off, making it just $14.25 – now through Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Following is a review written by Andy Pomeroy.

cf4177I cannot imagine writing a better summary for Land Causes: Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826, than the one provided in its preface:

The records included in this volume are invaluable to anyone interested in Eastern Shore genealogy, and, the compiler believe, will prove to be a valuable addition to Virginia genealogy in general. The Land Causes or chancery suits for dower, division of lands, ejectment proceedings & c., give in full the declaration of the plaintiff, the answer of the defendants, the verdict of the jury, depositions, in many instances giving the date of birth, death and marriage of the parties; land is traced form the original patent to about 1825, showing the various owners and their descendants and next of kin through many generations. The records include those of the District Court as well as those of the County Court. In suits for division or ejectment when any of the interested parties have left the county or State, their then place of residence is given.

The abstracts in most cases are the special verdicts of juries, which sum up and give in concrete from the declarations and answers – Depositions of unusual interest, or which show anything not set out in the verdict, are also fully abstracted.

The compiler wishes to acknowledge his appreciation to Mr. John D. Grant, Jr. Clerk, and his Deputies, for the many courtesies extended him while making these abstracts.
 

If Land Causes: Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826 has the type of record you are looking for, then Family Roots Publishing has a copy waiting for you.

 

Following is a surname index for the volume.

Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records

“Court records, including those for the territorial or colonial periods, provide vivid details of our ancestors’ action and those of their relatives and neighbors. Whether a plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, jurors, local justices, signatories, or appointed officials, most Americans were named in court records at some point in their lives.”

gpc1626This quote comes from the “Overview” out of the latest laminated guide to hit the shelves, Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records by Wendy Bebout Elliott. Wendy’s new guide reviews the complicated American court system and helps genealogists understand just what

The one thing I always enjoy about these laminated guides is how straight forward the topics are covered. At four pages, the simple reality there is no room for fluff. Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research. This means the authors have to get straight to the point, compressing years of knowledge into concise statements and short sections.

While this approach may not give the researcher “all” the knowledge they may seek on a given topic, it does allow them to carry a very useful tool with them anywhere they go to conduct research. In this guide, Wendy does a fabulous job of covering all levels of court systems, local, state, and federal in the space provided. She start with a simple list of quick facts (a common, and useful, feature of the Genealogy at a Glance series). Here is a sample of those quick facts:

  • Various count courts heard most cases and generated judicial orders and decisions for its citizens; this, the registers of these courts can provide explanations for people’s actions and details about who was involved, when, and where
  • Though county courts generally contain the records of most interest to genealogists, some older records may have been transferred to state, regional, or federal archives
  • Court documents usually identify individuals and relationships

Sometime with these guides, the best way to get review the contents is to simply list them. From the list below, you will see just how much Wendy was able to squeeze into just four pages:

 

Contents

Quick Facts

Overview

Getting Started

  • Search Strategies

Major Types of Court Records

  • Probate Records
  • Non-probate Court Records
    • Adoption
    • County Activities
    • Land
    • Naturalization

Building a Knowledgeable Base

  • Understanding Laws, Courts, and Records
  • Vocabulary

Sources

  • Intact County Court Registers
  • Published versus Original Digitized or Microfilm
  • Lost, Destroyed, or Misplaced Court Records
  • Online Records
  • Indexes

Major Repositories

 

Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copy of Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records available at Family Roots Publishing.

Click here to see a full listing of  laminated guides available from Family Roots Publishing.

Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records

“Court records, including those for the territorial or colonial periods, provide vivid details of our ancestors’ action and those of their relatives and neighbors. Whether a plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, jurors, local justices, signatories, or appointed officials, most Americans were named in court records at some point in their lives.”

gpc1626This quote comes from the “Overview” out of the latest laminated guide to hit the shelves, Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records by Wendy Bebout Elliott. Wendy’s new guide reviews the complicated American court system and helps genealogists understand just what

The one thing I always enjoy about these laminated guides is how straight forward the topics are covered. At four pages, the simple reality there is no room for fluff. Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research. This means the authors have to get straight to the point, compressing years of knowledge into concise statements and short sections.

While this approach may not give the researcher “all” the knowledge they may seek on a given topic, it does allow them to carry a very useful tool with them anywhere they go to conduct research. In this guide, Wendy does a fabulous job of covering all levels of court systems, local, state, and federal in the space provided. She start with a simple list of quick facts (a common, and useful, feature of the Genealogy at a Glance series). Here is a sample of those quick facts:

  • Various count courts heard most cases and generated judicial orders and decisions for its citizens; this, the registers of these courts can provide explanations for people’s actions and details about who was involved, when, and where
  • Though county courts generally contain the records of most interest to genealogists, some older records may have been transferred to state, regional, or federal archives
  • Court documents usually identify individuals and relationships

Sometime with these guides, the best way to get review the contents is to simply list them. From the list below, you will see just how much Wendy was able to squeeze into just four pages:

 

Contents

Quick Facts

Overview

Getting Started

  • Search Strategies

Major Types of Court Records

  • Probate Records
  • Non-probate Court Records
    • Adoption
    • County Activities
    • Land
    • Naturalization

Building a Knowledgeable Base

  • Understanding Laws, Courts, and Records
  • Vocabulary

Sources

  • Intact County Court Registers
  • Published versus Original Digitized or Microfilm
  • Lost, Destroyed, or Misplaced Court Records
  • Online Records
  • Indexes

Major Repositories

 

Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copy of Genealogy at a Glance: Court Records available at Family Roots Publishing.

Click here to see a full listing of  laminated guides available from Family Roots Publishing.

160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, North Carolina

This is one of a countless number of 19th century records seized by the North Carolina Archives and burned on December 6, 2013
This is one of a countless number of 19th century records seized by the North Carolina Archives and burned on December 6, 2013

The story of the 160 year-old documents intentionally destroyed in Franklin County, North Carolina is now nearly two months old. I haven’t blogged about it, but many others have. Click here to read about this travesty at the Stumbling in the Shadows of Giants website. Be sure to read the comments… That’s where it really gets interesting.

Old Allen County, Indiana Records to Go Online

According to an article in the July 13, 2013 edition of the Journal Gazette, Allen County, Indiana records dating from 1816 to 1969 will soon be available for a fee online.

On Friday, Allen County commissioners approved an enhanced online search system for the County Recorder’s office. A $58,500 3-year contract with Cott Systems will allow the records to go online and be available to the public. Included in the online records will be:

  • Deeds and mortgages,
  • Military discharges,
  • Property plats,
  • and Title insurance records.

Allen County Chief Deputy Recorder Anita Mather said, “We spent $250,000 to image all the documents, and this will make them easier to access online,” It is expected that the Recorder’s Office can recoup the one-time contract fee through user fees. The fee for such records will run between $5 and $6 with the Recorder’s Office keeping a dollar of a $5 user fee. Four dollars will go to Cott Systems.

Jefferson County, Ohio Courthouse Records Digitized

The following excerpt is from an article in the February 21, 2013 edition of the Herald Star:

WINTERSVILLE [Jefferson County, Ohio] – The Ohio Genealogical Society, Jefferson County Chapter, has completed another chapter in its work for digitizing original records obtained from the Jefferson County Courthouse that include common pleas records, naturalizations, criminal records, coroners’ records, inventories to estates, veterans’ documents and various other records.

A complete updated listing can be found on the free website at www.jeffcochapter.com.

Now all probate packets have been digitalized through the work of Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints missionaries Albert and Lynn Mooney, who have been working to get the important documents from 1797 to 1930 unfolded, the wrinkles ironed out and mended when needed and rehydrated, making papers ready to lay flat on the photography table for missionaries Bill and Beverly Pace to digitalize for prosperity.

Read the full article.

The Burlington Court Book of West New Jersey 1680-1709

“In 1676, shortly after the English seized the territory from the Dutch, New Jersey was divided into the colonies of East and West Jersey. Under the Duke of York–the original proprietor–East Jersey was settled predominantly by small landowners and entrepreneurs, while West Jersey was settled by Quakers, and was in fact the first Quaker colony in America, preceding Pennsylvania by six years. Organized by a group of Quaker proprietors in London in 1676/7, West Jersey was governed initially by nine commissioners who held court at Burlington. Besides its legislative authority over the colony, the court at Burlington had jurisdiction over local matters and served as the court of appeals for Salem and other towns in West Jersey after 1683.

Quaker justices continued to hold court in Burlington until May 1703, losing their right to self-government following the end of proprietary rule and the creation of the united Province of New Jersey under royal charter the previous year. While non-Quakers would eventually overshadow the Quaker inhabitants of West Jersey, Burlington remained a Quaker stronghold throughout the period of proprietary rule.

The minutes of the Burlington court, transcribed and published originally by the American Historical Association in 1944, and now available in this facsimile reprint, contain the day to day minutiae of Quaker temporal life, just as the meeting records illuminate Quaker spiritual life.” The current published title is The Burlington Court Book of West New Jersey 1680-1709.

“While they reflect virtually all facets of life in West Jersey, the majority of the court minutes concern property rights, civil suits, grievances involving slaves, servants, and Indians, and all manner of domestic complaints. They constitute not only the most important judicial record of the colony of West Jersey but are a goldmine of clues about the early inhabitants of West Jersey. A mirror of the life and times of this almost forgotten colony, the minutes of the Burlington court offer rare possibilities for genealogical research, for many of the cases brought before the court, such as inquests, petty civil suits, and criminal cases, give the names of spouses, children, and other related individuals. Since the majority of the persons named in The Burlington Court Book were Quakers, researchers may be able to profit even further from the clues it contains by probing among New Jersey Quaker meeting records for the same period.

With an index containing over 15,000 references, this little known work is sure to attract the attention of all researchers with an interest in early New Jersey.” At 46 pages, the Historical Introduction alone makes an interesting dive into the areas unique beginnings.

 

Table of Contents

Editorial Note

Historical Introduction, by H. Clay Reed

  • The Quakers of West Jersey
  • Swedish, Dutch, and English Predecessors
  • Fenwick’s Colony
  • The Burlington Settlement, 1677-1680
  • Government in West Jersey, 1680-1708
  • The Courts and their Work, 1680-1709

Burlington Court Minutes, 1680

The Burlington Court Book, 1681-1709

Index

 

The Burlington Court Book of West New Jersey 1680-1709 is available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $39.20.

Scottish-American Court Records: 1733-1783

Many early Scottish immigrants were enterprising individuals. In fact, many were engaged in such economic endeavors like the tobacco trade, which prior to the Revolution was controlled by Glasgow-based merchants and their factors. As is always the case, where there are business transactions there are lawsuits. Scottish-American Court Records: 1733-1783 lists North American residents engaged or involved in litigation in Scotland and came before the Court of Session (the highest civil court) or the High Court of the Admiralty (which oversaw all seafaring and maritime cases).

Each name is listed with its corresponding reference. Each is also listed with the names of those on whom the litigation is against, usually with a location and date. Some of these entries include the names of  relatives. Here are a few examples:

  • Craigdallie, Janet. Janet Craifdallie, daughter of Hugh Craigdallie, surgeon in Princess Anne County, Virginia, eldest son of Gilbert Craigdallie, glover in Perth, V. Thomas Anderson, merchant in Perth, & Lawrence Reid, maltman in Perth, 14 Feb. 1776.
  • Crawford, George. George Crawford, merchant in Glasglow then in Jamaica, V. Andrew Crawford in Fearlinebank, 7 Aug. 1777.

There are over 800 names listed in the index.

 

Scottish-American Court Records: 1733-1783 is available at Family Root Publishing; Price: $17.64.

 

Niagara County to Move Endangered Public Records at Cost of $125,000

The following excerpt is from a short article published in the October 3, 2012 edition of The Republic:

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Millions of a western New York county’s birth and death records, adoption papers, investigative files and real estate records — some dating back more than 200 years — will be moved into new storage space, and out of a leaky old building where they’re in danger of being lost.

Niagara County lawmakers voted Tuesday to lease 28,000 square feet of storage space in Newfane. Many county records are currently stored at a facility in Lockport that was largely abandoned 10 years ago.

Read the full article.

Pinellas County, Florida Civil/Probate Records Retention Center Opens

The following excerpt is from an article published in the August 13, 2012 edition of tbnweekly.com:

CLEARWATER – The Clerk of the Court announced that its records and information management civil/probate records retention center is open to the public as of Monday, August 13.

The records retention center is a newly-created area located in the Swisher Building, 509 East Ave. S. in Clearwater. The entrance is located off of East Avenue, north of the main building entrance.

The civil/probate retention center is a full service office, just like the 49th Street record retention facility. Parking is available across the street and in the large overflow lot located south of Turner Street and west of the railroad tracks.

Read the full article.

Delayed & Corrected Birth Records

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 8: When you contact the state vital statistics office in your home state and ask if they are “online,” and they respond, “on what?,” you may have a problem.

Sources for learning the names of a person’s parents that may be overlooked are extraordinary vital records, such as delayed or corrected birth records.

Delayed Birth Records

It was during the late 1930s and early 1940s that the federal government encouraged people to register delayed birth records. The advent of Social Security, which began in 1935, was an important inducement for people to have a written proof of their birth, and a delayed birth record was a way of doing that. Regular birth records are usually recorded first at a town, city or county office, and a record copy of the original record is then sent to a state’s vital statistics office. However, genealogists may discover that delayed birth certificates are only available at the county level and copies of them never made it to the state office.

My grandfather, Elmer Ross Wiles, turned 65 years old in 1941. His eligibility for a Social Security pension required that he have some proof of his birth. But, Elmer never had a birth certificate on file. So, he obtained a delayed birth certificate from the place he was born. The delayed birth certificate he requested was issued by the Clerk of the District Court of Union County, Iowa after he provided several photostatic copies of items attesting to his birth date and place, including a notarized copy of a page from a family Bible, and signatures of relatives who acted as witnesses. That delayed birth registration is still recorded in Union County, Iowa today, but to my knowledge, there is no copy of that delayed birth record at the Iowa State Vital Statistics unit in Des Moines. I would never have found a copy of Elmer Wiles’ delayed birth registration without checking the sources available at the Union County Courthouse in Creston, Iowa. And, that delayed birth record gave the exact maiden name of Elmer Wiles’ mother, evidence that I may not have found from other sources.

Corrected Birth Records

Growing up, the story of my father’s birth was repeated in my family often. Albert Raymond Dollarhide was born 19 April 1905 while his parents, John and Addie (McNemar) Dollarhide and their eight children were en route from Northern California to Southeast Washington. The family was engaged in a 500-mile trip to a new homestead, traveling via two horse-drawn wagons at a rate of about 25 miles per day. The birth took place in the town of Oakland, Oregon, less than a third of the way to their destination. There was no hospital in town, but they did find the local doctor’s home in time for the delivery. Apparently, the birth delayed the family’s journey for only a couple of days, and they continued on their way.

Dad was raised in Columbia County, Washington on a homestead farm a few miles south of Dayton. He never went back to Oregon until he was an adult, but since he was born in Oregon, that is where his birth was officially recorded. A birth certificate was prepared and filed by the local Doctor at the Douglas County Courthouse, and a record copy of the certificate was sent by Douglas County to the Oregon State Vital Statistics office in Portland.

One of my early genealogical tasks was to request and receive a photostatic copy of my father’s original birth certificate from the state of Oregon. It was a real disappointment. Except for the place and date of birth, the birth certificate was incomplete and nearly useless as genealogical evidence. There was no name for the child or mother, just a name for the father as (blank) Dollarhide. The date of birth was correct, but most of the spaces were filed in with the words “don’t know” by the attending physician. The doctor who filled in the certificate did manage to write a few words of explanation at the bottom, which said, “These people left the county soon after the birth of this child.”

After my father died in 1977, I learned about a packet of papers wrapped in a brown paper bag that my mother had preserved. The packet of papers was stored for safe keeping in the freezer compartment of mother’s refrigerator (Mom said she got the idea from Reader’s Digest). For some reason, Dad had saved several items that were to be very useful to me, such as old driver’s licenses, insurance papers, and various membership cards. Also included with the papers was a copy of his original birth certificate, but to my surprise, another document was attached to the birth certificate, entitled, “Affidavit For Correction of a Record.” This document corrected every missing item on the original birth certificate! Items corrected included the child’s full name, date and place of birth; full maiden name of mother and her birthplace; and full name of father and his birthplace. Until the discovery of this corrected birth record, all references to the maiden name of my father’s mother had come from oral interviews. This was the first written evidence of that name!

I still don’t know all the details of how and why this document was created, but apparently, my father was encouraged to file an official correction to his birth certificate. He may have intended to file the correction in Oregon, but somehow managed to file it in California instead. The affidavit was a form printed at the top with “State of Oregon, County of Multnomah” but those words were crossed out and added below were the typed words, “California, Humboldt County.” The form was notarized and dated 25 August 1944. The correction affidavit form was witnessed by his sister, Mrs. Dewie Fernleaf, who lived in Eureka, California, and which may be the reason it was filed in California instead of Oregon. But I didn’t know it was possible to file a corrected birth record in a county (or state) different than the place where the birth took place.

I have become curious about this process, but I have made only a cursory review of what the rules are for corrected or delayed birth certificates. The rules seem to differ for each state. Obviously, there are some states where a corrected or delayed birth certificate can be filed at a county courthouse without regard for the place of birth of the person in question. But, there are other states where the correction or delayed birth registration must be done in the same state of birth. Florida, as an example, is one state where the corrected or delayed birth registration must be done in the same county of birth.

Hopefully, these brief examples will get you to check all the available, and sometimes forgotten sources. If you have bombed out on locating the birth certificate for a person, don’t give up – there may be a corrected or delayed birth certificate on file somewhere. Start at the county of birth, rather than the state of birth. Most counties in the U.S. have their earliest birth records on microfilm, and these images are being systematically digitized for free use on the Internet (by the Family History Library of Salt Lake City, Utah). My search in many counties reveals that when there is a set of “Delayed Birth Certificates” in any county, they are always included with the regular birth records on microfilm. So, the first place to look for delayed birth records is a place search in the Family History Library Catalog at www.familysearch.org. Corrected records, however, are filed in various ways at county courthouses, depending on the state. Find these records by doing a general search of records by title at any county of the United States.

For further reading: