Georgia Court Records
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The earliest colonial court records were kept by the Common Council in England and the governor and council in Georgia. Later Georgia court records were kept by the General Court of Pleas and the Court of Quarter Sessions. None of these records exists today.
State Court Records
- The Family History Library has several state level court records including minutes of the U.S. Circuit Court with an index to plaintiffs and defendants, jury men, petitions, Southern Claims Commision approved claims and miscellaneous records. These are found at Georgia Court Records
- Genealogical material has been gathered from legal notices in early Georgia newspapers and abstracted by Folks Huxford. At various libraries (WorldCat), FHL book 975.8 P28L
County Court Records
After the colonial period, Georgia courts that kept records of genealogical value were established as follows:
- 1777-present Superior courts: These county courts kept records of divorce, civil and criminal cases, naturalization, military discharges, homesteads, slaves, and prisons. The Family History Library has superior court records, especially minutes, from the 1790s to the early 1900s. From Fulton County, for example, the library has 48 microfilms for 1854 to 1901.
- Two ways to find these in the FamilySearch Catalog: 1) Place search for a specific county, then select "Court Records" and 2) Author search for "Georgia. Superior Court." This will bring up entries for that court in all counties.
- 1777-present Courts of ordinary: These county courts kept records of probates from 1777 to 1798 and again after 1852. Other records kept by the court include homesteads, land warrants, licenses, indentures, paupers registers, voting registers, and marriage records. The Family History Library has many of the existing court of ordinary records, especially minutes and indexes, from 1800 to the 1900s.
- 1798-present Inferior courts: These county courts had jurisdiction over probates from 1798 to 1852, civil matters (except for divorce and equity cases), and minor criminal offenses. The Family History Library has most inferior court minutes from the 1790s to the 1860s.
Two ways to access these in the FamilySearch Catalog:
- Place search for a specific county, then select "Court Records"
- Author search for the name of the court, ("Georgia. Superior Court" or "Georgia. Court of Ordinary" or "Georgia. Inferior Court"). Since the author name has been cataloged consistently, this search will display entries for that court in all counties.
Courthouse Record Losses
Many of the courthouses of Georgia have suffered record destroying catastrophes, mainly from fires, war damage, and tornadoes. For further details in specific counties about the nature of the calamity and the extent of the record losses, see:
- Paul K. Graham, Georgia Courthouse Disasters (Decatur, Georgia: Genealogy Co., 2013). At various libraries (WorldCat).