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{{Infobox NIFGS|June 2012|{{Research Alberta Ancestors Course}}|Arlene Borgstede}}  
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{{Infobox NIFGS|November 2013|{{US Court Records Course}}|C. Ann Staley, CG}}  
  
=== Finding Your Ancestors In Alberta ===
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=== Brief Overview of the United States Judicial System ===
  
For the family historian seeking genealogical information within the province of Alberta, the trail is fairly well-defined. Considering that the prime settlement took place between 1885 and 1914, and that the majority of these settlers were homesteaders, this is the logical place to begin the search. Homestead records are well maintained and an index will assist in locating early families.  
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The United States has three branches of Government―legislative, executive and judicial. Each has some control over the other and provides for checks and balances .  
  
Local histories are published, which in total, cover most of the province. Large collections of these books are held by the Provincial Archives and the University of Alberta. Many scholarly publications are found on ethnic settlement or other historical subjects.
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==== Colonial Courts ====
  
Census returns are readily accessible through archives, larger libraries or inter-institution loans. Although civil registration records prior to 1905 are sparse, some do exist and have been indexed for convenience. Church records are available through both church and public archives. Cemeteries are continually being transcribed and the records published.  
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The judicial system of the American colonies (early to 1775) was generally the practices of the British judicial system—English precedent. At that time the British courts were
  
Two books are recommended for your search. ''Tracing Your Ancestors in Alberta'' by Victoria Lemieux and David Leonard, lists both the obvious and the more obscure records available and at which archival institution they can be found. The information includes a concise description of the material and the archival call number.  
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#Common Pleas (private law);
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#King’s Bench (criminal law); and  
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#Chancery (equity). The American Colonial System consisted of a variety of similar courts.
  
''Genealogical Resources in the Edmonton Area'' by the Edmonton Branch, Alberta Genealogical Society, is quite an in-depth look at all research-related institutions in Edmonton and surrounding district. Although published in 1991, and therefore out-of-date with regard to some locations and phone numbers, the listed holdings of these institutions are extremely valuable. Archival and library call numbers, and search directions are very useful.
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==== After Independence ====
  
Researchers are reminded that local museums and historical societies may provide information on their ancestors.  
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Following independence the United States provided for two sources of court control―the federal government (Federal Courts) and the individual states (states have a sovereign capacity and courts are established under state statutes). This dual system, surprisingly, still works today .
  
==== Abbreviations ====
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=== Types of Law ===
  
Abbreviations and acronyms are quite common. Here are just a few abbreviations, mainly for names of societies and organizations, you may find during your research.<br>
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The types of law which govern the judicial system of the United States come from six basic sources:
  
{| border="1" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="600"
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*Constitutional - Federal and State.<br>
|-
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| AGS
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| Alberta Genealogical Society
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|-
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| ANA
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| Archives Network of Alberta
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|-
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| BMD
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| births&nbsp;(baptisms), marriages, deaths
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|-
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| CPL
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| Calgary Public Library
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|-
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| CPR
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| Canadian Pacific Railroad
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|-
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| EPL
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| Edmonton Public Library
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|-
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| FSC
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| FamilySearch Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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|-
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| HBC
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| Hudson Bay Company
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|-
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| ILL
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| Interlibrary Loan
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|-
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| LDS
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| Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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|-
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| OMI
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| Oblates of Mary Immaculate
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|-
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| PAA
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| Provincial Legislative Library
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|-
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| PLL
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| Provincial Legislative Library
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|-
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| SASE
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| Self-addressed stamped enevelope
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|}
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==== Settlement Patterns  ====
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*Case Law - Made by court through the interpretive process. Commonly referred to as common law which originated in England as a result of decisions by courts based on precedent. The common law is not written in statutes or codes, but by decisions of the courts.<br>
  
In 1871, just one year after accepting responsibility for Rupert’s Land from the Hudson Bay Company, the federal government put in place the pieces for its National Policy: the security of a national police force; a railway traversing the country from sea to sea, and settlement of the prairies. Two&nbsp;decades passed before the third plank in this policy was to have any effect on Alberta.  
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*The Bill of Rights.<br>
  
In 1882, the prairies were divided into four districts: immediately west of&nbsp;the province of Manitoba were the Districts of Saskatchewan and Assiniboia dividing the southern two-thirds of present day Saskatchewan. The District of Alberta occupied the same part of the present day province. Covering the northern portion of both provinces was the District of Athabasca. The entire area made up the Northwest Territories with its administrative centre, or capital, in Regina.  
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*Administrative Law - Made and enforced by regulatory agencies (i.e. Environmental Protection Agency, Internal Revenue Service, etc.).<br>
  
The whole of the present day Alberta was occupied by nine Indian tribes:
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*Statutory Law - Made by legislative bodies such as Congress or a state legislature.<br>
  
*a few white traders around major fur trade posts such as Edmonton, Lac La Biche and Fort Chipweyan
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*Common Law (English) - Originated in England as a result of decisions by courts based on precedent. The common law is not written in statutes or codes, but by decisions of the courts.
*North West Mounted Police posts in Calgary and Fort Macleod
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*descendants of Red River Settlement Métis in Catholic Missions such as Lac Ste Anne and St. Albert
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*and some Methodists from London, near Red Deer
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In 1881 it is estimated that only about one thousand white men considered Alberta home. However, the land was ready for settlement. The Dominion Land Survey, begun in 1871 in Manitoba and continued west through Saskatchewan, was well underway in Alberta. As early as 1873, the special land grants provided to the Hudson Bay Company as part of their deal with the government of Canada, were surveyed around posts in Edmonton, Lac&nbsp;La Nonne, Victoria, Rocky Mountain House, Assiniboine and over half a dozen others, amounting to some 3,000 acres.
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=== Branches of American Government  ===
  
Four years later, the 14th base line was surveyed near Edmonton and, in&nbsp;1878, surveyors ran the points of the 4th meridian. By 1881 work was started, surveying the townships in and around the Edmonton and Fort Macleod areas.  
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Copyright 2011, Iowa Judicial Branch. Reprinted from Iowa Judicial Branch. [http://www.iowacourtsonline.org/wfdata/files/Courts_at_a_Glance.pdf “Courts at a Glance: For Everyone From Students to Seniors”] (accessed Dec 2011), p.2. Used by permission, all rights reserved.  
  
When the initial township survey was adopted by the government, the&nbsp;settlements of St. Boniface (Red River Settlement), Qu’Appelle and Prince Albert in Saskatchewan, and Fort Edmonton in Alberta; communities already settled in the French Canadian river lot style—narrow lots extending back one to two miles along one or both sides of a river, were designated to retain their River Lot surveys. Métis settlements at Batoche in Saskatchewan and St. Albert and Lamoureaux in Alberta were ignored. So, in 1885, when the dissatisfaction of the Saskatchewan Métis manifested itself in the Riel Rebellion, an army of soldiers was sent to deal with the rebels. Their victory solidified the prairies as the domain of the English-speaking white man.  
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[[Image:Branches of American Government.jpg|center|Branches of American Government.jpg]]
  
The North West Mounted Police was firmly entrenched, maintaining her majesty’s law and order among Indian and whites alike. The Canadian Pacific Railway pushed past Calgary by 1883. An unfinished segment around Lake Superior was finished in 1885, thereby establishing the final link between Eastern Canada and the rich, fertile land to the west, some&nbsp;75,000 square miles, which lay, marked with iron stakes, awaiting the settler’s plough.  
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'''The Colonial Court System'''<ref>Copyright 1997, MyFamily.com, Inc. Reprinted from ''The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy.'' Used by permission, all rights reserved.  For further family history resources visit [http://www.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com.]</ref>
  
However, still Alberta bided while free lands in the Dakotas in the U.S. and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan claimed the settlers.  
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[[Image:Colonial Court System.jpg|center|Colonial Court System.jpg]]
  
The exception was the most southern part of the District of Alberta where, in 1881, the government made crown lands available for grazing. Ranchers or cattle companies could lease up to 100,000 acres for one cent an acre and many Americans and British took advantage of the opportunity. These&nbsp;enterprises added another thousand people to Alberta’s population.  
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'''American Court System, 1789-Present'''<ref>Copyright:1997, MyFamily.com, Inc. Reprinted from ''The Source: A guidebook of American Genealogy.'' Used by permission, all rights reserved.  For further family history resources, visit [http://www.ancestry.com Ancestry.com.]</ref>
  
____________________________________________________________ <br>
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[[Image:American Court System.jpg|center|American Court System.jpg]]
  
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course {{Research Alberta Ancestors Course}} offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com 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 [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com] <br>  
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<br>
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==== Levels of Courts  ====
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[[Image:Levels of Courts.jpg|center|Levels of Courts.jpg]]
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=== American Court Systems  ===
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==== Trial Court  ====
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The court of local jurisdiction is where evidence of facts and law are presented and ruled upon by a jury or judge. Generally they are divided into two types:
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''“courts of general jurisdiction'', which are general trial courts that usually handle felony criminal trials and major civil cases”
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''“courts of limited or special jurisdiction'', which typically have jurisdiction to try misdemeanor cases, conduct preliminary hearings for felony offenses, try traffic cases, adjudicate civil matters involving small amounts of money, and handle wills and estates.”
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==== Appellate Court - Intermediate and Last Resort (Supreme Court)  ====
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This is a court which has the power to review the judgment or decision of a lower court. When a decision is appealed, a copy of the records (or, infrequently, the originals) of the trial court are provided to the appellate court.
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=== Additional Information  ===
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*[[United States Court Records|United States Court Records]]
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=== References  ===
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<references />
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<br>____________________________________________________________ <br>
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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course {{US Court Records Course}} offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com 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 [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com] <br>  
  
 
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
 
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
  
[[Category:Canada]]
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[[Category:United_States Court Records]]

Latest revision as of 16:48, 17 September 2014

 
National Institute for Genealogical StudiesNational Institute for Genealogical Studies.gif

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 ($).

Contents

Brief Overview of the United States Judicial System

The United States has three branches of Government―legislative, executive and judicial. Each has some control over the other and provides for checks and balances .

Colonial Courts

The judicial system of the American colonies (early to 1775) was generally the practices of the British judicial system—English precedent. At that time the British courts were

  1. Common Pleas (private law);
  2. King’s Bench (criminal law); and
  3. Chancery (equity). The American Colonial System consisted of a variety of similar courts.

After Independence

Following independence the United States provided for two sources of court control―the federal government (Federal Courts) and the individual states (states have a sovereign capacity and courts are established under state statutes). This dual system, surprisingly, still works today .

Types of Law

The types of law which govern the judicial system of the United States come from six basic sources:

  • Constitutional - Federal and State.
  • Case Law - Made by court through the interpretive process. Commonly referred to as common law which originated in England as a result of decisions by courts based on precedent. The common law is not written in statutes or codes, but by decisions of the courts.
  • The Bill of Rights.
  • Administrative Law - Made and enforced by regulatory agencies (i.e. Environmental Protection Agency, Internal Revenue Service, etc.).
  • Statutory Law - Made by legislative bodies such as Congress or a state legislature.
  • Common Law (English) - Originated in England as a result of decisions by courts based on precedent. The common law is not written in statutes or codes, but by decisions of the courts.

Branches of American Government

Copyright 2011, Iowa Judicial Branch. Reprinted from Iowa Judicial Branch. “Courts at a Glance: For Everyone From Students to Seniors” (accessed Dec 2011), p.2. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

Branches of American Government.jpg

The Colonial Court System[1]

Colonial Court System.jpg

American Court System, 1789-Present[2]

American Court System.jpg


Levels of Courts

Levels of Courts.jpg

American Court Systems

Trial Court

The court of local jurisdiction is where evidence of facts and law are presented and ruled upon by a jury or judge. Generally they are divided into two types:

“courts of general jurisdiction, which are general trial courts that usually handle felony criminal trials and major civil cases”

“courts of limited or special jurisdiction, which typically have jurisdiction to try misdemeanor cases, conduct preliminary hearings for felony offenses, try traffic cases, adjudicate civil matters involving small amounts of money, and handle wills and estates.”

Appellate Court - Intermediate and Last Resort (Supreme Court)

This is a court which has the power to review the judgment or decision of a lower court. When a decision is appealed, a copy of the records (or, infrequently, the originals) of the trial court are provided to the appellate court.

Additional Information

References

  1. Copyright 1997, MyFamily.com, Inc. Reprinted from The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Used by permission, all rights reserved. For further family history resources visit Ancestry.com.
  2. Copyright:1997, MyFamily.com, Inc. Reprinted from The Source: A guidebook of American Genealogy. Used by permission, all rights reserved. For further family history resources, visit Ancestry.com.


____________________________________________________________

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 wiki@genealogicalstudies.com 

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 17 September 2014, at 16:48.
  • This page has been accessed 762 times.