New York Court Records
David Kohen, 1995
(part of the AJHS-JGSGB Project)
[This report contains both: SPECIFIC notes regarding THIS collection; and GENERAL notes regarding all four "New York Court Records" Collections, which notes help greatly in understanding THIS collection.]
SPECIFIC NOTES REGARDING:
Mayor's Court Selected Briefs 1674-1860, I-151
I-151 Mayor's Court Selected Briefs, 1674-1860
Approximately 6,000 Court Documents
In 23 Bound Volumes or 13 Reels of Microfilm
Indexed by: Last Name of Litigant
Index Location: Interfiled in Main Card Catalogue
Collection I-151 consists of handwritten pleadings and other court papers filed in civil lawsuits in the Mayor's Court of the City of New York, also known at various times as the High Court of Chancery, the New York Inns (of Court) and the Marine Court of New York City. The handwriting is often difficult to decipher. The court papers include summons, complaints, surety bonds, affidavits, warrants, jury lists and briefs.
GENERAL NOTES REGARDING:
NEW YORK COURT RECORDS
A better title for the collections in this group, all of them genealogically important, would be: "Manhattan Court Records of Cases with Jewish Names." They consist of microfilm and bound photocopies of court records now in the New York City Hall of Records. The first three collections contain material primarily of interest for the pre-1860 period (I-151, I-152, I-153); the fourth, Incorporation Papers (I-154), deals with all Jewish or Jewish-related organizations incorporated in New York City between 1848 and 1920. These four collections are indexed--the index is on cards which are interfiled in the main card catalog. There are two more groups of materials which have never been fully processed which span approximately 1830's -1910.
All of this material was described and inventoried in 1995 by David Kohen, a member/volunteer of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. It was anticipated that the un-processed material will be processed and indexed in time for the 1996 Summer Seminar in Boston.
The collections are copies of selected court records from the County of New York, New York, that is, from the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. The history of these copies is somewhat obscure, but apparently, in the early 1960's, Professor Leo Hershkovitz of Queens College and the Institute for Early New York History went through older records on file at the New York Hall of Records and extracted those records with Jewish sounding names. The records selected were then indexed and copied. AJHS has duplicate copies of the extracted records in two different formats: bound volumes of photocopies, and reels of micrcofilm.
At some later date, AJHS was offered boxes of original court papers relating to litigants with Jewish sounding names. The court was going to dispose of these papers, but AJHS accepted them as part of the historical record. These original documents have never been fully catalogued.