New Orleans Public Library
Louisiana. Seventh District Court (Orleans Parish).
Acquisition: Deposited by Civil District Court, 1974
The Louisiana Consitution of 1868 retained and reinstituted the six numbered Orleans Parish district courts created by the Consitutions of 1845 and 1852 and added a new Seventh District Court. The constitution reiterated the exclusive jurisdiction of several of the courts (First District Court, exclusive criminal jurisdiction; Second District Court, exclusive probate jurisdiction; Third District Court, exclusive jurisdiction of appeals from justices of the peace). Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh District Courts were given exclusive jurisdiction in all civil cases, except probate, when the sum in contest was above one hundred dollars, exclusive of interest.
Act 7 of 1868 further ordered that all cases pending in the Third District Court, exclusive of appeals from the justices of the peace, be transfered to the newly created Seventh District Court.
With Act 2 of December 11, 1872, the Louisiana Legislature abolished the Seventh District Court (as well as the Eighth District Court) and created a new, controversial court, the Superior District Court. The act directed that all suits pending in the Seventh District Court that did not fall into the jurisdiction of the Superior District Court be transferred to the Fourth District Court. (The Superior District Court had exclusive jurisdiction over all cases or actions or any appeals from the Justices of the Peace courts that involved in any way "any office, State, parish or municipal" -- including the Board of Metropolitan Police and the Board of School Directors for New Orleans -- or that involved "any corporation established by act of the General Assembly, and domiciled in the parish of Orleans.")
The records are arranged in series as follows, all of which are records of the regular business of the court:
Suit Records, 1868-1880
Manuscript records of the proceedings in the civil suits filed before the Seventh District Court. Individual suit records range in size from one or two sheets in the simpler matters to hundreds of documents in the more complicated litigations. Records may include some or all of the following items: petitions, answers, oaths, bonds, transcripts of testimony, and orders & judgments of the court [in some cases the orders and judgments appear as separate documents, more common though was the practice of recording such judicial actions on the reverse of the original petition(s)]. Various articles of evidence may also be filed in individual suit records, including such items as newspaper clippings, plans, copies of original documents filed elsewhere, letters, and accounts/extracts from accounts from various financial records.
Access to these records is through the general docket books and the indexes thereto. (See below)
The "genealogically significant" suit records of the court (generally, those showing evidence of a family line) were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Microfilm is available in the Louisiana Division/City Archives; it can also be ordered from any Mormon Family History Center. Unmicrofilmed records are available for in-house use only, by appointment in the Louisiana Division/City Archives.
Minute Books, 1868-1872
Bound manuscript volumes in which the daily minutes of the court's proceedings were entered by the clerk.
The minute books were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
v. 1 7/16/1868 - 2/10/1869
The general dockets are arranged in numerical order by docket number. Each page is divided into rectangular sections so that one docket entry appears in each section. At the head of each entry is the docket number, names of the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) in the duit, date of initial filing, the name(s) of the attorney(s) representing the parties to the suit, and in some instances a brief note as to the type of suit. Beneath the heading is a dated list of the actions taken in the suit (e.g., petitions, answers, orders, documents filed, copies made, record withdrawn, judgments, etc.), along with the court costs incurred for each action.
NOTE: The extant general docket books and the plaintiffs' and defendants' indices for the Seventh District Court have been digitized and are becoming available at FamilySearch.org. (At this time, only the general dockets, 1868-1872, are available online. We expect the complete volumes to be available at some time in the near future.) You must create an account with FamilySearch in order to view the images, but the account is free. LINK HERE to access the images. (Click on "Browse through xxx images" and then choose the "Seventh District Court" link.) The plaintiffs' and defendants' indices were also microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available for in-house use; the microfilm can also be ordered from any Mormon Family History Center.
General Docket, 1868-1872
v. 1 7/17/1868 - 2/4/1872 (#1-8504)
Defendants' Index to the General Docket, 1868-1872
v. 1 7/17/1868 - 2/4/1871 (#1-8504, pt. 1)
Plaintiffs' Index to the General Docket, 1853-1880
v. 1 missing
Bound manuscript volumes containing, for certain suits before the court, copies of various salient documents filed in the suit, including the plaintiff's petition, defendant's answer(s), affidavits, orders, jury verdict (in jury cases), the court's judgment, and the decree of the Supreme Court (if the case went up on appeal) for each suit decided, in the order in which the case became final. Thus, the judicial record books show the essentials of suits and decided in the Seventh District Court. These books are particularly useful if the original suit record is no longer extant.
Judicial Record Books, 1853 -1877
v. 1 7/21/1868 - 5/13/1870
Manuscript volumes recording deeds for real property sold by the Sheriff under order of the judge of Seventh District Court. Each entry is headed by the name of the purchaser of the property. The parties to the suit are given in the text. The remainder of each entry amounts to the Sheriff's proces verbal of the individual sale, including a legal description of the property, the name of the parties to the suit effecting the sale, the terms of the sale. A reference to the Conveyance Office Book and folio where the deed is formally recorded is also included.
The deed books were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available for in-house use. The microfilm can also be ordered from any Mormon Family History Center.
Deed Books, 1868-1872
v. 1 10/17/1868 - 5/8/1871
This volume was created for the convenience of the court and has little, if any, research value
Judgments Rendered in City Tax Suits, 1869-1870
v. 1 7/3/1869 - 3/5/1870