Louisiana, Orleans Court Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Louisiana, Orleans Parish Second District Judicial Court Case Files, 1846-1880  and Louisiana, Orleans Court Records, 1822-1880.

Record Description

The collection covers the years 1846 to 1880.

The records includes civil case files from the Parish Court, 1822-1840; Commercial Court, 1839-1846, First Judicial District Court, 1839-1842; Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Judicial Court, 1846-1880 and the Sixth and Seventh Judicial District Courts, 1854-1880. This collection is being published as images become available.

For a list of records by dates currently published in the Louisiana, Orleans Parish Second District Judicial Court Case Files, 1846-1880 collection, select the Browse.

For a list of records by dates currently published in the Louisiana, Orleans Court Records, 1822-1880 collection, select the Browse.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Louisiana, Orleans Court Records, 1822-1880" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing District Court. New Orleans City Archives.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in this collection may include:

Louisiana, Orleans Parish Second District Judicial Court Case Files DGS 4784831 844.jpg
  • Name
  • Death or recording date
  • Death or recording place
  • Name of administrator

They may also contain the following:

  • Names of heirs or other family members
  • Witnesses
  • Guardians
  • Relationships
  • Residences
  • Property descriptions
  • Inventory of the estate

How to Use the Record

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Court" category
⇒ Select the "Volume Title and Date Range" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The place of residence
  • The approximate death or probate date
  • The name of the deceased

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the names along with the residence to locate census, church, and land records.
  • Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • The information in the records may give clues to, or the names of relatives. *You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the primary individual; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but can occasionally be subject to errors by the transcriber.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1900.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties. 

General Information About These Records

Between 1846 and 1880, New Orleans had a system of nine numbered district courts. Despite their name, these district courts weren't divided by geographical location; each district covered the entire Orleans Parish. After 1853, however, each court handled civil mattersuits of a specific type:

  • First District Court -- Criminal Jurisdiction
  • Second District Court -- Probate Matters
  • Third District Court -- Family Matters
  • Fourth/Fifth District Court -- General Civil Jurisdiction
  • Sixth District Court -- Cases Pending in the City of Lafayette/General Civil Jurisdiction
  • Seventh District Court -- Possibly shared Family Matters with Third District Court
  • Eighth District Court -- Disputed Election Cases during the Reconstruction
  • Superior District Court -- Tax-related Cases

Related Websites

Guide to Genealogical Materials, Appendix D: The New Orleans Parish Court System

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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 FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Louisiana, Orleans Court Records, 1822-1880," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 03 July 2012), Third District Court > Docket 1850-1854 vol 2 no 3266-6727 (seroes 1) > Image 507 of 582; Jacob Kein vs John McCabe, Feb 14, 1854; Orleans Courts. Court Records. New Orleans City Archives, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.