Monday, October 15, 2018

New England Court Records

Tracking down New England court records can be a confusing experience because such records are often spread out in different repositories.  If you’ve found yourself stuck and not sure where to look, the book New England court records: a research guide for genealogists and historians will give you all the information you need and then some.  This comprehensive guide, written by professional genealogist and former attorney Diane Rapaport, includes chapters on the American legal system, the federal and state courts in New England, and the types of records that were and still are produced by these courts; there’s also a helpful glossary of common legal terms one might find during their research.  A large portion of Rapaport’s book is devoted to each New England state, covering the histories of their court systems and breaking down into great detail where court records are kept, what format they are in, and what years are available.  It also includes recommendations for other helpful print and electronic resources to consider while researching.  As this book was published in 2006, some of the websites that are cited may no longer exist or have changed URLs.  Despite this, the information compiled by Rapaport is and will continue to be an incredibly valuable tool for those seeking court records, from colonial times to present, that are housed in this region.

New England court records: a research guide for genealogists and historians can be found at the State Library’s reference desk in room 341 of the State House.  If you have any questions about where certain court documents are located, feel free to email our reference department at or call our reference desk at 617-727-2590.  We’re happy to look it up for you!

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department