Tracing Immigrants Arrival Court Records

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Tracing Immigrant Origins
Country of Arrival
Court Records
Tracing Immigrant Origins
Wiki Topics
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News and Events
Part 1. General
Part 2. Country of Arrival

 Country of Arrival Search Tactics
 Country of Arrival Record Finder
 Country of Arrival Record Types

Part 3. Country of Origin

 Country of Origin Search Tactics
 Country of Origin Record Finder
 Country of Origin Record Types

For Further Reading
The FamilySearch moderator for Tracing Immigrants Origin is GoAncestry


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Court records may name family members and may mention property descriptions from the country of origin. They are more helpful for colonial times than later periods because colonial court record transcripts are usually published with comprehensive indexes. Examples of sources taken from court records are—

Court records are valuable in establishing origins—especially when the emigrant ancestor was involved as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness. More than 50,000 English immigrants to colonial America and 150,000 to Australia were exiled convicts. Courts watched such immigrants closely.

Immigrants who had business or professional employment are more commonly listed in court records than are laborers and farmers. Once you know an immigrant ancestor was involved in a court case, review all documents related to the court action. The case file, or packet, is particularly vital because it contains the testimony transcripts, depositions, affidavits, and other documentary evidence. Depositions and affidavits are the documents most likely to cite places of origin.