Courts across the state of Delaware have always kept documents that hold genealogical value. Delaware court records can be accessed in person or online for most anyone to view as they are public record.
From 1655 till 1682, the Dutch controlled Delaware between 1655 and 1664; from then on till 1682, it was under the State of New York. Therefore, all documents were a part of the publishing of Document Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York. You will find the volume at the end of the 13th volume.
In the 1670s, all records in Magistrates Courts were stored by King’s authority.
From 1791 till 1831, every county had the Courts of Common Pleas established where minor civil suits, appeals from lesser courts, termination of parental rights, adoptions, and minor criminal cases were heard. The Superior Court took over in 1831.
From 1792 till present day, the Chancery Courts has had jurisdiction over matters of equity.
From 1683 to present day The Orphans Courts which hold jurisdiction in the entire county for adoptions, guardian ships, estates belonging to minors, and property rights.
From 1655 to present day, the Levy Court has kept records of taxes, probates, road accounts, tavern licenses, petitions, and school documents. It is the county administrative court.
From 1746 till present day, the Court of Oyer and Terminer hears criminal cases along with some capital cases.
From 1794 till 1898, the high court of errors and appeals worked as an appeals court for superior courts.
From 1676 till present day, the Court of General Quarter Sessions has included records regarding petitions for taverns and roads, and apprenticeship indentures.
From 1831 till present day, the court of Common Pleas was replaced by Superior Courts. These are the county courts that hold jurisdiction for civil and criminal cases along with Naturalization records.
From 1664 till present day, the Justice of the Peace court held records for civil cases.
From 1981 till present day, the responsibilities of the Supreme Court were transferred to the superior court. All of the records were transferred to Delaware Public Archives.
The Public Archives of Delaware has a lot of the original Delaware court records. These Delaware court records include the courts of general quarter sessions, common pleas, justice of the peace, superior court, Supreme Court and Oyer and Terminer records. Some of the early court records have already been published and residents of the state of Delaware can obtain these from the Family History Library. There are also a couple of very useful inventories in existence for court records. These are Historical Records Survey- Delaware, and Mattern and Hancock.
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Last Updated: 2017-02-23