Australia, Victoria, Petty Sessions Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Victoria, Australia
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Flag of Australia
Victoria in Australia.svg.png
Location of Victoria, Australia
Record Description
Record Type Petty Sessions Registers
Collection years 1851-1937
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Public Record Office - Victoria

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes court cases from the Petty Sessions Registers which covers the years from 1851 to 1937.

In collaboration with the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) and FindmyPast, FamilySearch is able to publish this collection of Petty Sessions court records. The Court of Petty Sessions was originally intended to hear minor criminal cases. These cases included, but were not limited to drunkenness, minor assaults, and for matters under twenty pounds; typically, without a jury. Court cases are heard before the magistrate. The original records are housed at the Public Records Office Victoria in North Melbourne, Australia.

Collection Content

Sample Image

Petty Sessions Registers may contain the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Address of ancestor
  • Role of ancestor in case (plaintiff or defendant)
  • Complaint
  • Date of complaint
  • Ruling on case

How Do I Search the Collection?

When searching:
It is helpful to know such information as:

  • Your ancestor's name
  • Some identifying information such as residence
  • Other ancestors who may be named in the complaint
  • Possible years he or she may have been involved in a criminal case

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "Year" category
⇒Select the "Inquest Number" category which takes you to the images

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

  • If a residence is listed, locate records that may have been created in that location.
  • Locate other court records that dealt with the same case. Those additional records may include more information about your ancestor.
  • Check newspapers for articles about the court case. Sometimes articles were written about the cases brought to court.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name in the Petty Sessions Register, be sure and check additional court cases for the name.
  • Remember that there may several people named in the court case.
  • Be sure to mindful of nicknames or different names at used at different times by your ancestors.
  • If your ancestor had a common name, research in other records may be required before concluding that the individual in the Petty Sessions Register is your ancestor.
  • Titles listed in the Petty Sessions Register may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the records of nearby localities (or military units, counties, parishes, etc.).
  • Not everyone in a given locality will be in these records, only those involved with minor court cases.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:

"Australia, Victoria, Petty Sessions Registers, 1851-1937." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing Public Records Office of Victoria, North Melbourne, Australia.

This citation is included only if the collection is browsable by image.

Image Citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.