Court Dockets and Minutes
Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin
|Jeannette Austin||Jan 3|
The old method of storing data at court houses, in folders on shelves, and court dockets should not be overlooked.
The researcher is familiar with Court Dockets, normally found in the Superior Court where criminal cases and such are held. However, they were also used in the Probate Court. The Docket usually lists the name, date, witnesses, etc. In Columbia County, Georgia, for instance, there are dockets for Estate Sales, Guardian Bonds, Letters of Administration, and a List of the Original Wills (added to Georgia Pioneers site). All of this serves as a general listing (not alphabetical, kept like a daily diary) and is especially helpful in locating some of the county’s earliest documents when other records were lost.
One is familiar with the docket in criminal cases, where, after a judiciary agrees to hear a case, the matter is placed on a Court Docket waiting a trial date. In the situation of probate matters, it acts as a daily unalphabetized index.
Inferior and Superior Court Minutes
The Minutes really should not be overlooked, especially when the genealogist only has a thin amount of information. Cobb County lost many of its early records to the Civil War. But, oddly enough, it has a Minute Book (in the probate records) which lists daily activities and when people filed their wills, etc. of record. The Minute Book is not going to record the substance of the entire Will, or Estates, however will record the date it was brought into the court house. Thus, the examination needs to be performed, page by page. Inferior Court Minutes record the daily assignments (such as road duty, etc.) of the community, while the Superior Court pertains more to land, property, and criminal cases
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