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Historical Archives of the Supreme Court of Louisiana: Repository

This guide focuses on the digitized documents of the Supreme Court of Louisiana and how to locate and access them.

The Repository

The Historical Archives of the Supreme Court of Louisiana are located on the online repository DSpace. There you will find digitized court cases from 1813 to 1878. The circuits that have been digitized are Alexandria, Baton Rouge (1813 to 1846), Monroe and New Orleans. Not all cases from each circuit have yet been digitized. 

On this page you will find a short introduction into using the main features of the repository.

Search in the Repository

Browsing Cases

Browse cases by Case Date, Title, Circuit, and Docket Number. Most documents are handwritten.


Using the Search Bar

The search bar is located on the right upper side of the repository screen. Enter your search terms here. You can either use single search terms, such as years, names, places, keywords, etc. or combine them (e.g. "Patton 1818") to narrow your search focus.


Detailed view

Click on any result to see the record of a court case. In the detailed view of the resource, you will find:

1. The title of the case

2. A description, i.e. a short reference to the Supreme Court Reports (in our example: Martin volume 5 (old series), page 615).

3. The link to the full item record, i.e. all metadata.

4. The files of the item, which you can either open in your browser or download as PDF.

5. The reference link to the collection, in which the item is stored on DSpace.


Full item record

By clicking on the link "full item record" you will find all metadata of any given entry. The metadata can be useful in determining whether a resource is useful for your research.

Search Tips

Search by Docket Number: There are some inconsistencies in the numbering of the dockets. This is a known issue, and we are working to resolve it. Docket numbers consist of 6 placeholders: When looking for docket number 304, enter the search term 000304. Please note that multiple cases may come up within a search, if the number was reused for another circuit.

 

Search by Date: Enter the year (e.g. "1818") or the year and the month (e.g. "1818-06"). There exist some inconsistencies in the month/date convention. However, searching by a specific year should bring up all cases, in all circuits, which correspond to that date. 

 

Search by Titles: Titles are entered as the court recorded them. DSpace will sort the search results by the most relevant case title first but may also include a number of false hits if the names are common. If your search is not bringing up any results, try searching by only the name of the plaintiff or defendant. 

 

Search by Keyword and Circuit: The court cases themselves are not full-text searchable. You can enter all search terms into the search bar.