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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in November 2013. It is an excerpt from their course US Court Records by C. Ann Staley, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
When the Confederate States formed a government, the Confederacy adopted many of the laws of the United States for their own purposes. Where U.S. District Courts were in place, the clerks, judges, and other judicial personnel generally remained in their previous position, when it was obvious that the individual supported the cause of the Confederacy. If his alliance was suspect or he was considered loyal to the Union, he was banished from his position. We frequently find that the Confederate clerk used the same bound volumes as his predecessor. The records of the Confederate court, the docket, the minutes, the case files, etc. were similar to those of the United States.
The business of war took priority. The most common court actions of the Confederate District courts related to matters of garnishment, sequestration, and admiralty. Students are invited to view the following examples of some Confederate Court records on the Woodward-Geiger.com website:
Many of the textual records of the Confederate States district courts survive and are in the collections of the National Archives regional facilities in Atlanta, Fort Worth, and Philadelphia.
The reels of microfilm are listed after the table of textual records.
| Confederate Court
(Textual unless otherwise indicated)
| Middle Division of the District of Alabama
|| Garnishment Case files, 1861-63
|Southern Division of the District Alabama|| Minute books, 1861-65; Dockets, 1861-65; Case files, 1861-64; naturalization, 1861-64; records of the clerk of court, 1861-64; and final record books, 1861-65
| Northern District of Florida
|| Minute books and execution dockets of the Middle Division (Marianna), 1861-1864; Case files, minute books, and dockets of the Middle Division (Tallahassee), 1861-65; Minute books of the Western Division (Pensacola), 1864; Minute books and a judgment docket of the Apalachicola Division, 1862-64.
| Northern Division of the District of Georgia
|| Minute book, 1861-64; Docket books, 1861-63; Case files, 1861-63; Lists of witnesses, 1862-63; Records concerning sequestration and garnishment cases, 1861-63.
| Southern Division of the District of Georgia
|| Minute books, 1861-63; Docket books, 1861-64; Case files, 1861-64; Records relating to sequestration and garnishment cases, 1861-67.
|District of Louisiana|| Docket, 1816-62; Case files, 1861-62; Records relating to sequestration, 1861-62.
| Northern Division of the District of Mississippi
|| District Court volume, 1858-98; and bar docket, August 1861 (in a U.S. District Court volume, 1852-82).
| District of North Carolina
|| Records of the Cape Fear Division (with seat in Wilmington; after February 1862, Salisbury), including general minute books, 1861-63; a docket, 1862-64; case files, 1862-64; and records concerning garnishment and sequestration cases, 1862-64; Records of the Pamlico Division (with seat in New Bern; after early 1862, Goldsboro), including general minute books, 1861-64; dockets, 1861-65; and records relating to garnishment and sequestration cases, 1861-63.
| Middle Division of the District of Tennessee
||Case files, 1862-65.||Atlanta|
| Southern District of Texas
|| Minutes and dockets of the Brownsville Division, 1861-65; Docket and other records of the Galveston Division, 1861-65.
| Western District of Texas
|| Minutes, dockets, case file, and other records of the Austin Division, 1861-64.
| Western District of Virginia
|| Miscellaneous case files of the Staunton Division, 1861-64; Sequestration case files of the Wytheville Division, 1861-64.
The surviving South Carolina Confederate District Court papers are filed with RG 109-War Department Collection of Confederate Records. Textual records housed at the National Archives facility in Atlanta are the South Carolina District Court sequestration cases and related records, 1861-64 with a docket to miscellaneous records, 1861-64.
Microfilm publications of Confederate Court records:
|7RA40|| New Orleans Confederate and Provisional Court Dockets.|
|7RA124||Austin Confederate Court Dockets, 1862-1864.|
|7RA125||Galveston Confederate Court Dockets, 1861-1865.|
|P2105||Docket Books from the Confederate States District Court for the District of Louisiana and the U.S. Provisional Court, 1861-1865.1 reel.|
|P2150|| Case Files, 1861-1862 from the Records of the Confederate States District Court for the District of Louisiana. 6 reels.|
|M436|| Confederate Papers of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 1861-1865. 1 reel.|
|M1430|| Confederate Court Records, Eastern District of North Carolina, 1861-1864. 1 reel.|
Below is a representative example of a Confederate naturalization.
Confederate Naturalization of Henry L. Reed
- ↑ A garnishment is a proceeding whereby the Confederate States (as plaintiff) filed suit against a citizen of the Confederate States who owed a debt to a person or company in the United States.
- ↑ Sequestrations were instituted by the Confederate States against tangible property belonging to citizens of the Untied States.
- ↑ Linda Woodward Geiger, comp.. Sequestration Case ExhibitfckLRThe Confederate States of America Vs. The Property of Amy Westfeldt, A.E. The Confederate States vs. The Property of Amy Westfeldt, A.E., Case File 88, C.S.A. District Court, District of Alabama Southern Division (Mobil), 1861–1865, Record Group 21, National Archives-Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia. All rights reserved.
- ↑ Linda Woodward Geiger, comp.. Wm. Moore vs. Capt. Ledyard, Case File , C.S.A. District Court, District of Alabama Southern Division (Mobil), Habeas Cor-fckLRpus Cases 1861-1864, Record Group 21, National Archives―Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia. All rights reserved.
- ↑ Compiled by Linda Woodward Geiger. The Confederate States vs. The Steam Boat Planter, Case File 4, C.S.A. District Court, District of Alabama Southern DivisionfckLR(Mobil), Admiralty Cases 1861-1864, Record Group 21, National Archives―Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia. All rights reserved.
- ↑ The National Archives at Atlanta (formerly known as National Archives Southeast Region) is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, Georgia 30260
- ↑ Confederate Naturalization of Henry L. Reed, Naturalization Records of District courts in the Southeast, 1790-1958; NARA micropublication M1547, roll 1.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Court Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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