Digging Up Roots in the Mud Files:
Sources for Family History Research in the Orleans Parish Civil Court Records


This is the online version of a presentation delivered by Wayne Everard, Archivist of NOPL's Louisiana Division, at the Main Library on May 9, 1998, as part of a genealogy seminar sponsored by the Louisiana Division and the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans.


Each Spring, the Louisiana Division and the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans sponsor a seminar on genealogy, featuring presentations by several experts in the field of family research. This year's program included the talk outlined here as well as presentations on researching St. Domingue ancestors by Augusta Elmwood of the St. Domingue Interest Group of the Jefferson Genealogical Society and on the upcoming Congres Mondial Acadien by David Cheramie, director of CODOFIL. Previous programs have included talks on genealogy and the Internet, on 19th century German immigrants, and on research methods for using the genealogical resources at New Orleans Public Library as well as on a wide variety of other subjects of particular interest to Louisiana genealogists. The Louisiana Division also sponsors beginners' genealogy classes four times a year, twice in the Spring and twice in the Fall.

If you are interested in attending any of these classes or seminars, watch NUTRIAS' Upcoming/Ongoing Events section, check NOPL publications such as Footnotes, and keep your eye on Damon Veach's "Louisiana Ancestors" column in the Sunday Times-Picayune and the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. The classes are free and open to anyone, but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Call early! The classes fill up very quickly.

The presentation included here, "Digging Up Roots in the Mud Files," sprang from our recognition that many researchers are sometimes confused and perhaps intimidated by the complexity of the civil court systems that existed in Orleans Parish from the territorial period to the present. As a result of this confusion, we feared that researchers might be missing valuable information. We make the presentation available in NUTRIAS in hope that it will reach a much wider audience than the eager folks who crowded into our auditorium early in May of 1998. We hope that it will help to cure the "court phobia" of genealogists looking for wills, successions, divorces and other "genealogically-significant" court records. We hope also that historians and researchers using the Orleans Parish civil court records for their own purposes will find these pages helpful. The civil court records are an incredibly rich source, and their historical significance is virtually limitless.

The graphics used in this presentation were originally created using Microsoft's PowerPoint 97 and then "captured" as images. Occasionally, the images may be a bit hard to read, but we've tried to make sure that the accompanying text covers all of the information in the graphic.


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