Vestiges of Antiquity and Truth: A Guide to the Court Records at the Albany County Hall of Records

Vestiges of Antiquity and Truth: A Guide to the Court Records at the Albany County Hall of Records (cover)

by David F. Lowry

This guide provides a history of all Albany County courts past and present with a descriptive listing of all records for each court.

Acknowledgements, Preface, Introduction and Guide to Usage


 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

     This guide is a tribute to Tracy B. Grimm, former Albany County 
archivist.  Tracy tried unsuccessfully to convince intern after intern to 
write a finding aid to Albany County court records because she understood 
the importance of making these valuable records more accessible 
to the public.  She was finally successful when she convinced me to 
complete this project in the fall and spring of 1992-1993. 
     Tracy proved to be of invaluable support, graciously answering my 
endless barrage of questions and providing the many suggestions which 
gave this guide its final form. 
     Many others were of great assistance.  Especially helpful 
was James Folts of the New York State Archives whose broad knowledge 
of New York State court history saved me from embarrassing errors.  
He also provided may fine suggestions on the style and format of this 
guide.  Many thanks to Charles Gehring, head of the New Netherlands 
Project, who answered questions concerning the early Dutch court 
records.  Thanks also to Lynda A. Hebert, the Hall of Records' 
Data Entry Supervisor, whose desk top publishing skills provided 
the polished, professional appearance of this guide. 
     On a more personal note, I would like to thank my cousin Bonnie Weir,
an attorney; and my friend Neil Dignon, a law student, for their clear, 
simple explanations of complicated legal terms and procedures. 
I Would like to thank all those who proofread the guide and made 
helpful suggestions on improving it: the Honorable Thomas Clingan, 
Albany County Clerk; Mary Wallen, Executive Director of the 
Hall of Records; and Virginia Farinacci, the current 
Albany County Archivist.  Finally, I would like to thank my co-workers 
at the Hall of Records who all helped in many ways.

David Lowry
1994



PREFACE 

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This guide, by David Lowry, is another of a series of publications by the Albany County Hall of Records intended to better inform the public of the holdings and availability of documents here at the Hall. The author has done an exceptional job of extensively reviewing the court records, explaining the function of each court, and summarizing the time periods covered by each series. These records are of interest beyond Albany County and the city of Albany, since Albany County once encompassed most of upstate New York north of Ulster County and westward to Lake Erie, gradually reducing to its present boundaries by 1809. For the period before the Revolution, Albany County's courts covered a vast territory, and these records reflect this responsibility. Our responsibility, 310 years after the creation of Albany, is to do more than preserve these records: we must help to make them available and accessible to the public. One important means to that end is the publication of descriptions like this one, and we are grateful to Mr. Lowry and the staff of the Albany County Hall of Records for this fine effort. Thomas G. Clingan Albany County Clerk 1994 INTRODUCTION

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The history of the New York courts is a long and complicated one. This finding aid to Albany County's court records held in the Albany County Hall of Records is designed to simplify that history and to make these records more accessible to the general public. The history and jurisdiction of fifteen different courts, most of them now defunct, and other court-related records are outlined here. The estimated 1,960 cubic feet of records range in date from 1652 (Fort Orange court minutes) to 1981 (court payroll). More recent records of the Supreme and County Courts may be accessed through the County Clerk's office. This finding aid is broken down into seven main sections: Pre-County Courts, County Courts, City Courts, The Supreme Court, Surrogate's Court, Other Records (this section contains records of several courts together), and Court Related Records. A brief history of each court is given, followed by the series descriptions of the various records for that court. Descriptions include the record series title, yearscovered, the quantity of records (cubic feet), how arranged, and the city or county agency from which the records originated. The form of the records is described; for example, whether the records are in a bound volume or unbound and arranged in a box. Other information includes whether the records are handwritten or typed and whether there is an index. Finally, there is a brief description of the contents. Since the overwhelming majority of court requests concern the finding of a specific court case, a user's guide, "A Guide to Usage, With Hints for Finding a Specific Court Case" and a chart of court jurisdiction has been included. The guide and chart may help the user determine which court would have heard the particular case. Court records can be difficult to use for those who are not legal scholars. Determining a court's jurisdiction and the type of cases it heard can take quite some time, especially considering the vast amount of court records housed at the Hall of Records. It is hoped that this finding aid will make these important and voluminous records more accessible to all users. A GUIDE TO USAGE, WITH HINTS FOR FINDING A CASE

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The way to find a case is to narrow down the number of records in which the case may possibly be found. In law, there are basically two types of cases, civil and criminal. Civil cases involve law suits, that is, one party or parties suing another party or parties. Criminal cases, of course, involve an individual or individuals charged with a crime. The first step is to decide which one of these two categories your case will fall into. Once that is done, you can eliminate a certain number of courts from consideration by referring to the court jurisdiction chart The next step is to have a time period in mind to help narrow down the search even more. Then, check each court having the proper jurisdiction for the time period it covers. Those records not in the desired time period can now be eliminated. While using courts with concurrent jurisdiction, remember to check each series to see if it contains records of a civil or criminal nature. Lets look at an example. Your ancestor was arrested in the 1890's , but you aren't sure of what crime. First, you would check the jurisdiction chart, since you know it would be in a criminal court. This eliminates six courts right away. Now, you check all courts with criminal and concurrent jurisdiction to find out which ones cover your time period. By doing this, you narrow down your search to five courts, plus the trial term of the Supreme Court. Not every series of each group of court records covers your time period, so this narrows down your search even more. If you don't find your case here, don't be discouraged; it may be in one of the series described in this finding aid's "Other Records" section. Since our first example was a criminal case, let's now look at some hints for finding a civil case. The first steps are the same as with a criminal case: eliminate certain series by jurisdiction and time period. If the time period matches your case, it is best to start with the judgement dockets, books or indexes, since all are indexed and cover different courts. If your time period does not match, you will have to check each court to find the case and don't forget to check the "Other Records" section too. There are a few more points to remember. First, check the records carefully. Often a case will appear more than once in a single series or in several different series. The more information you find, the better your understanding of the case. The second and most difficult aspect of using these records is fighting your way through all the "legalese", so a law dictionary is a must. Except where gaps appear in the series, because records have been lost or damaged, you should be able to find your case. Hopefully, this finding aid will make your search much easier. Good luck!

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Pre-County and County Courts


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PRE-COUNTY COURTS

The Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck

     This court was established in 1652.  One of the earliest courts 
in the region, its jurisdiction covered Fort Orange, Beverwijck 
(Albany's original Dutch name), Schenectady, Kinderhook, Claverack, 
Coxsackie and Catskill.  The court heard civil cases and non-capital 
criminal cases.  Capital cases were heard in Stuyvesant's court, 
the Central Council, on Manhattan.  In 1664, the English took 
control of the colony of New Netherlands, renamed it New York 
and with this change, the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck 
ceased to function.

MINUTES. (1652-1659, not inclusive). 1.5 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  
In Dutch.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This series summarizes the day-to-day proceedings of the court.  
Some of the more common cases were those involving property 
disputes, debts, slander and the use of abusive language.  
New laws were also published in these minutes.
     The original manuscripts are in Dutch, but typed translations made 
earlier this century are available in bound volumes or on microfilm. 
A more thorough discussion of the Fort Orange Minutes, 
as well as a more recent translation of the minutes, is available in 
a printed bound volume entitled Fort Orange Court Minutes 
by Charles T. Gehring; published by the Syracuse University Press. 
A copy is housed at the Hall of Records.
     The Minutes for the years 1658-59 are included in the first half of a 
book labeled Fort Orange Proceedings, The second half of the book 
contains such records as deeds, bills of sale, Indian treaties and powers 
of attorney; entries for the year 1657 are missing from this series.

The Court of Albany, Rensselaerwyck and Schenectady

     This court replaced the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck 
in 1664 with the establishment of English rule.  However, 
despite English rule the official administrative language remained Dutch 
until 1685.  It was at the end of that year that the court was abolished 
and its duties were transferred to the new Mayor's Court.

MINUTES. (1668-1685, not inclusive). 4 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  
In Dutch.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     These records are basically the same as the Fort Orange Court Minutes; 
only the name of the court has changed.  The minutes summarize 
the day to day proceedings of the court or chronicle such cases 
as property disputes, debts, and slander.  A complete, typed translation 
of the minutes in bound volumes or on microfilm is available.  
A more thorough discussion of the minutes, as well as a complete 
translation, is available in printed bound volumes entitles Minutes of 
the Court of Albany, Rensselaeryck and Schenectady, Volumes one 
through three, published by the University of the State of New York 
at Albany, 1932,   Entries for the year 1674 are missing from this series.

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COUNTY COURTS

The Court of Sessions

     When the colony of New York established counties in 1683, each 
county established a Court of Sessions.  Originally, this court heard 
civil and criminal cases, but after 1691 it became restricted to 
criminal matters that were not capital cases.  Among the more 
common cases were assault and burglary, less common were 
attempted rape, bigamy and receiving stolen goods.  The 
jurisdiction of the Court of Sessions was eventually 
absorbed by the County Court.


MINUTES. (1685-1895, not inclusive). 42 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     These are useful records for obtaining important facts of the case.  
Often a case can be traced from beginning to end, since each case 
has more than one entry.  The last entry, which records the 
convict's sentence, also reveals the crime, when it occurred and 
upon whom.  Other information includes rulings on motions, orders 
of the court, and the swearing in of jurors and witnesses.  The 
following gaps exist in this series: 1690-1716, 1724-1762 
and 1782-1799.


RECORD OF CONVICTIONS. (1849-1899. 4 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological then Alphabetical.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This series and the Minutes have similar information.  These 
records give each convicts name, crime, when it was committed, 
upon whom and the sentence received.


SURETY OF THE PEACE, SET BY RECOGNIZANCES. (1873). 1 Volume.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.

     This is a record of surety bonds posted by one accused of 
threatening violence upon another.  The information recorded 
is the name of the bond-holder, the amount of the bond, the 
crime threatened, the name of the party threatened and a witness 
to the threat.  The most common threats recorded were of 
murder and assault.  Unfortunately, this is the only volume 
and it contains only a few entries.


REGISTER OF INDICTMENTS. (1875-1884). 2 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records give the name of the accused, the alleged crime and 
how the case was disposed.  They also indicate whether the accused 
was indicted and the case sent to trial, or the accused was cleared of the 
charges.


REGISTER. (1901-1906). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series appears to be a record of arraignments.  It reveals when 
the cases were received, the charge, the arraignment date, the plea and 
the name of counsel.  About half the cases have a recorded 
outcome: "case dismissed", "fined and discharged", 
or "pled guilty, suspended sentence".


The Court of Common Pleas

     The Court of Common Pleas was established in 1691 to take over 
the civil jurisdiction of the Court of Sessions.  It continued until 
1847 when its duties were absorbed by the County Court.


MINUTES. (1763-1849). 20 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     These records contain little information on the facts of each case.  
The titles of the case (e.g., Jones vs.  Smith), the date and the final 
judgement is just about all that is recorded.  Why the case was brought
to trial and what it was about is impossible to ascertain from this series.


ORDER BOOK. (1803-1832). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This series is a record of court orders.  The most common orders were 
for people to "enter a plea within twenty days" or to pay a judgement.


FILINGS. (t790-1822). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This volume is a judgement docket which is arranged in a printed 
chart containing the following information: who won the case, 
the amount of damages awarded and whether the judgement was 
obtained through a verdict, confession or default by the defendant.

County Court

     The Albany County Court was established in 1847.  In that year 
it took over the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas, which 
heard civil cases, and in 1896 it absorbed the Court of Sessions 
which tried criminal cases.  Therefore, since 1896 the court has 
had both criminal and civil jurisdiction in Albany County.


MINUTES. (1850-1911, not inclusive). 28 Volumes. Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series pertains only to civil cases and mostly records orders 
of the court.  Two of the more common suits or matters recorded 
were those involving land disputes and those 
concerning incompetent persons.


CRIMINAL CAUSES. (1896-1911). 2 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     These records continue the earlier series of minutes.  Among 
the information recorded were jurors lists, names of witnesses and 
defendants, motions to set aside verdicts, and sentences.  Some 
important information is located under the arraignment 
section, such as when and where the defendant was born, 
his or her address, age and occupation.  The court heard an 
array of cases, from violation of the liquor law to murder.

CIVIL CAUSES. (1911-1943). 11 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency 0rigin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series continues the earlier series of minutes.  It records orders, 
petitions to the court, affidavits, etc.  The bulk of this series deals 
with cases involving the appointment of a guardian for an infant (minor) 
or an incompetent.


RECORD OF CONVICTIONS. (1931-1933). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological Then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.

     This volume is a record of persons convicted of a crime in the 
County Court.  The following information is recorded: the convict's name, 
the crime, where it was committed, upon whom, the sentence 
received and the name of the jail or juvenile facility the convict 
was sent to.  Most of the cases involve felony crimes, such as 
burglary, assault, rape, and attempted murder, for which most 
convicts received a sentence of at least on year.


RECORD OF CASES. (1895-1899,1931). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten.

     This volume is a record of convictions which provides the convict's 
name, the crime committed, where it occurred, upon whom 
and the sentence received.

JUDGEMENT ROLLS. (1828-1922, BULK 1869-1898). 50 Cubic Feet. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This series contains an array of records pertaining to court cases.  
The bulk of these records is from civil cases.  The most common 
materials are pleadings, summons to appear in court and orders for a 
sheriff to seize land or personal property for the satisfaction of a law 
suit.  Probably the most complete and helpful information on a case 
can be found in this series.  The pre-1896 boxes contain only civil 
cases and the post- 1896 boxes contain only a few criminal cases.  
It should be noted that, according to James Folts of the New York 
State Archives, these may be filed papers from the Court of Common Pleas.


INDICTMENTS. (1909-1910). 1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series records the date the indictment was filed, the plea, 
trial date, verdict, sentence, and a list of witnesses who testified 
in the case.  A brief description of the crime is also recorded.

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CITY COURTS


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Mayor's Court

     The Mayor's Court replaced the Court of Albany, Rensselaerwyck 
and Schenectady in 1686 when English became the official 
administrative language of the colony of New York.  It was a 
city court that held civil jurisdiction, although it did begin to hear 
some minor criminal cases after 1830.  The court's duties were 
absorbed by the Supreme Court in 1868.  All of the following series 
were labeled Minutes, though actually comprising eight different series.

MINUTES. (1686 -1866,not inclusive). 16 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     These sixteen volumes cover the years 1760-1866.  The years 
1686-1760 are included in the Albany Common Council Minutes.  
These minutes, as with those of other courts, reveal only such 
information as the swearing in of jurors, naming of witnesses and 
rulings on orders and motions.  Occasionally found are naturalization 
oaths taken by individuals admitting them to American citizenship. 
The following gaps appear in this series: 1764-1765, 1779-1789 
and 1816-1827.

CRIMINAL MINUTES. (1830-1863). 5 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk .
Handwritten. AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     Criminal Minutes contain information on the facts of a case.  One 
learns what crime was committed, when and where it took place, 
upon whom, and the sentence the convict received.  Other 
information involves the setting of bail, pleas entered and grand 
jury indictments.  The more common cases tried included assault, 
burglary, rape, forgery, robbery, gambling (all of which were felonies), 
and petit larceny.

ORDER BOOKS (1807-1847). 12 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     Order Books are a record of court orders.  According to 
Black's Law Dictionary an order is "a direction of a court or judge 
made or entered in writing, and not included in a judgement.  
An application for an order is a motion." Court orders often directed 
sheriffs or coroners to perform a certain function for the court; 
orders are used to appoint referees or guardians.  Sometimes, 
certain facts of a case can be ascertained from these records.


JUDGEMENT DOCKETS. (1780-1841, not inclusive). 3 Volumes. 
Arrangement-.  Chronological Then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This is a register of civil cases arranged by the last name of the 
person against whom judgement was obtained.  Other information 
includes how the judgement was obtained (by verdict, confession 
or default), the damages, the date the judgement was filed and whether 
satisfaction was obtained.  According to the records, many judgements 
were never satisfied or, if they were, they were not recorded.  The years 
1819-1836 are missing from this series.


WRIT BOOKS. (1812-1832, not inclusive). 5 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological Then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This series consists of registers of issuance and return of court 
writs. According to Black's Law Dictionary, a writ is "an order issued 
from a court requiring the performance of a specified act, or giving 
authority to have it done".  These writ books state the case name, 
date the writ was returned (i.e., satisfied or completed), the fee, date 
filed and the attorney's name.

JUDGEMENTS. (1802-1811). 1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     These judgements concern the failure to pay promissory notes.  
These records are a good source for obtaining the facts of a case, 
since they reveal the reasons why people signed the notes and how 
much the notes were worth.


ENTRIES OF APPEARANCE. (1830-1839). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This volume is a record of persons who were served a summons, the date, 
and whether they appeared in court.


ATTORNEY'S DAYBOOK. (1815). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     An administrative record of the court, the Day Book is a 
record of meals eaten by attorneys (usually veal, beef  or mutton) 
and when the tab was paid.

Albany Justice's Court

     Founded in 1691, this court heard minor civil cases for the city of 
Albany and was replaced by the City Court in 1883.

DOCKETS. (1822-1882, not inclusive). 45 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany City Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.


     These records contain important information, enough to ascertain what 
the case was about.  Although some entries are more complete than others, 
most share this information: when a summons was served, what the complaint 
was about and whether the defendant appeared in court on the appointed day. 
The majority of cases were for non-payment for goods or services, damage 
to real or personal property, and negligence, with most of the judgements 
ranging from five to fifty dollars



Albany City Court

     The City Court replaced the Justice's Court in 1883 and heard the 
same type of minor civil cases as its predecessor did.

DOCKETS. (1883-1939). 162 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany City Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.


     Since the only difference between the Justice's Court and the 
City Court was a change in name, these dockets are almost identical 
in form and content to the Justice's Court dockets.  This series 
records when a summons was served, what a complaint was about, 
and other information involving cases of negligence, non-payment for 
goods or services, damage to real or personal property and 
similar cases.

SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS. (1931-1947). 13 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany City Court. 
Handwritten.

     This series deals with the non-payment of mortgages and rents, for 
which mortgagees and landlords found satisfaction in the City Court.  
The court awarded mortgagees "possession of premises to the 
petitioner" and landlords were awarded "judgement on rent" or 
the right to evict a tenant.  The records reveal the name of the 
plaintiff and defendant, the judgement, and the location of 
the premises in question.


INDEX TO CASES. (1938-1961, not inclusive). 22 Volumes.
Arrangement: Chronological Then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany City Court.  Handwritten.


     An administrative record, this series is arranged alphabetically 
by both defendant's and plaintiff's name and includes a number.  
The purpose of the number is not clear, referring possibly 
to case papers which seem to have been destroyed.



The Court of Special Sessions.

     One must be careful not to confuse the Court of Special Sessions, 
a city court, with the Court of Sessions, a county court.  
The Court of Special Sessions heard minor criminal cases 
(misdemeanors), such as public intoxication, indecent exposure and 
keeping a disorderly house. (According to Black's Law Dictionary,
a disorderly house "has a wide meaning, and includes bawdy houses, 
houses of prostitution and places of like character").

MINUTES. (1893-1937). 3 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This series reveals scant information on the facts of a case. 
Rulings on motions, pleas entered and sentencing are 
the most common entries.


RECORD OF CONVICTIONS. (1882-1911). 3 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This is a good source for obtaining the pertinent facts of a case.  
A brief description of the crime reveals the name of the convict, 
where he or she was born, his or her victim, if any, where the crime was 
committed and a description of the goods stolen, if any.


COMMITMENTS. (1911-1929). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     Quite similar to the Record of Convictions, it gives such useful 
information as the name of the convict, his or her crime and victim 
(if any), his or her birthplace and where the crime took place.


RECORD OF ARRAIGNMENTS. (1912-1925). 2 Volumes.
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     Simply labeled "Volumes", this series records information on an 
accused's arraignment in court: the date, the charge and how the 
accused pleaded.  Sometimes the outcome of a case is revealed 
with the statements "dismissed" or "withdrawn".

INDICTMENTS. 1920-1934. 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Typed.

     This series records the date received, the charge, 
the arraignment date, and the plea.



POLICE COURT

      Founded in 1805, The Police Court is a city criminal court which, 
according to the records, dealt with minor criminal cases.


JUSTICE'S DOCKET. (1895-1915). 61 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany Police Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains brief but valuable information on each entry: 
the name of the arresting officer, the date of arrest, the charge, the plea, 
and often, the outcome of the case.  If the person was found guilty, 
the usual punishment was a small fine or a few days in jail.  
Crimes tried included breach of the peace, vagrancy, and public 
intoxication.


GRAND JURY CASES. (1919-1974, not inclusive). 4 Cubic Feet. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.
Handwritten and Typed.

      This series contains substantial information on each case.  
Included are warrants, complaints and full transcripts of some cases.  
Most of these records are convictions from the Police Court, 
but the records of various town courts are also located in this series. 
A rather large gap appears: 1924-1961 are missing.

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The Supreme Court of New York


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     The Supreme Court was established in 1691 and until 1847 was 
known as the Supreme Court of Judicature.  The Court had original 
and appellate jurisdiction over major civil and criminal matters. 
Originally, the court held four terms a year in New York City. 
During the early 19th century, terms were moved to Albany, Utica, 
and Geneva.  In each county, a circuit court was held for trials of 
civil matters and a Court of Oyer and Terminer was held to try felony cases.  
At this time the Supreme Court rarely tried cases; its business was 
largely appeals.  Supreme Court civil cases were sent to the Circuit 
Court for trial. 
     The court was reorganized under the Constitutions of 1777 
and 1822 but the major change came in 1847.  The entire New York 
State court system was then reorganized and the Supreme Court 
of Judicature became simply the Supreme Court.  The new court 
was now the state's "highest court of original unlimited jurisdiction 
in both law and equity". 
     For more information on the pre-1847 Supreme Court see James Folts' 
Duely and Constantly Kept, published by the New York State Court of Appeals 
and the New York State Archives and Records Administration.



Circuit Court

     Established in 1692, the Circuit Court was the civil trial branch 
of the Supreme Court.  Originally, the Supreme Court justices 
"rode circuit", holding court at least once a year in each county, but 
in 1822 the state was divided into eight circuits, each with its own 
appointed judge, In 1847, the Court reverted to the old system of the 
Supreme Court Justices riding circuit.  In 1896, the Circuit Court was 
replaced by the Trial Term of the Supreme Court.

MINUTES. (1808-1893). 24 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. Indexed. 
AVAILABLE OF MICROFILM.

     Minutes of the court record the plaintiff’s and defendant's name, 
date of session, and synopsis of the case, including the final verdict 
and damages awarded.  The minutes were kept by official clerks 
appointed by the court.


Court of Oyer and Terminer.

     According to Black's Law Dictionary, the term Oyer and Terminer is 
half Old English, half French and means "to inquire, hear and determine".  
In New York, the Court of Oyer and Terminer was established in 1691 and 
was the criminal branch of the Supreme Court until 1896 when its duties 
were absorbed by the Trial  Term of the Supreme Court.


MINUTES. (1805-1896). 15 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 
AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     Recorded in these minutes is information concerning the jury selection 
process, recognizances (the setting of bail), and indictments. 
One could be indicted in the Court of Oyer and Terminer and tried in 
another court; the court determined that the defendant could be tried in 
"the next court holding criminal jurisdiction in the offense to be held at 
the city of Albany".  The more common crimes tried were burglary, 
perjury, petit larceny and assault and battery.

RECORD OF CONVICTIONS. (1866-1874). 2 Volumes.
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records are organized in a chart with three labeled columns: 
Name, Offense and How Disposed.  The "how disposed column 
usually has only an arraignment date.  
The crimes recorded cover everything from public intoxication 
to murder.

Trial, General and Special Terms of the Supreme Court


     The "term" of a court is the time prescribed by law during which it may 
be in session.  The Trial Term is the regular sitting term of the court.  
he Special Term handled equity proceedings. 
     A court of equity was a civil court where a plantiff could obtain 
"equitable relief" or "specific performance" (e.g. an injunction, a 
foreclosure, or a divorce), whereas in a court of law he could only obtain 
money damages or the restitution of real or personal property.  Courts of 
equity no longer exist in New York State; equity relief is obtainable in 
courts of law.
     The Special Term also handled "nonenumerated" business 
(i.e. business not on the court calendar) and special procedural rulings, 
like a change of venue or certain motions, that did not involve the
merits of a case. 
     The General Term heard cases on appeal from the 
Trial Term and other courts, but this branch of the court ceased to 
function in 1896 when the Appellate Division was established.


MINUTES, GENERAL AND SPECIAL TERM. (1847-1931, Bulk 1847-1856). 
1O Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency
Origin:	Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These minutes summarize cases heard by both the General and Special 
terms of the Supreme Court.  Most of the cases deal with property disputes 
with several references to bonds, morgages and the appointment of guardians.  
It should be noted that as a court of equity the special term 
heard many divorce cases.

ORDER BOOKS, SPECIAL TERM. (1856-1936). 187 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten-early, Typed-later.  Indexed.

     These records are quite useful in that they provide a summary of the 
case, often revealing some important facts, including who won. 
Also recorded are court orders handed down in the case, often involving the 
appointment of a referee or guardian.  It should be noted that as a 
court of equity the Special Term did not hear cases involving money damages.


MINUTES, SPECIAL TERM. (1928-1937). 3 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Typed.  Indexed.

     The information in these records is scant, only including the case 
name, the judge's name and requests for motions.


MINUTES, GENERAL TERM. (1856-1901). 15 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains cases on appeal from the County Court, 
Court of Special Sessions and the Circuit Court.  These minutes 
reveal whether the lower court's verdict was upheld, reversed or 
a new trial ordered.


CIVIL MINUTES, TRIAL TERM., (1856-1956, not inclusive). 11 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Typed.  Indexed.

     Labeled "Civil Causes", these minutes record orders and motions.  
The years 1901, 1911-1913 and 1930-1948 are missing from this series.

CRIMINAL MINUTES, TRIAL TERM. (1896-1927). 2 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency 0rigin: Albany County Clerk. 
Typed.  Indexed.

     Label "Criminal Causes", these minutes document the jury selection 
process, the names of witnesses and for whom they spoke (prosecution or 
defense), and the verdict.  The sentencing information includes the 
convict's place of birth and occupation.  Among the cases heard were 
bribery, violation of the liquor law, sodomy, burglary, and larceny.  There 
were also a few capital (murder) cases recorded here.




Supreme Court-Miscellaneous Records

     Each of the following series of records contains infornation from more 
than one branch of the Supreme Court.


MINUTES. (1932-1943). 26 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency 0rigin: Albany County Clerk.  Typed.  Indexed.

     Labeled "Proceedings", these minutes cover both the Special and Trial 
terms of the court and record orders, motions, etc.  Most of the cases deal 
with real property, especially foreclosures.

ASSIGNMENT OF JUDGEMENTS. (1894-1945, not inclusive). 3 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten-early, Typed-later.  Indexed.

     These are records from civil suits in which one party was an Albany 
County resident and the other party resided outside the county.  
The records contain information concerning the recovery of a judgement 
from the losing party of a lawsuit by the winner of the suit.

JUDGEMENT ROLLS IN PARTITION. (1849-1880). 16 volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Typed.

     These records were damaged (in the February 10, 1880 fire that 
destroyed Albany City Hall.) and were rerecorded in this series.  
These are civil cases concerning the partition (court-supervised division) 
of real property.  Among the information recorded here is the transcription 
of wills, orders to referees to calculate the worth of certain properties 
and other similar orders and motions concerning the case.


LIST OF JUDGEMENT ROLLS PRESERVED IN FIRE. (1850-1865). 2 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     Apparently, this series relates to the Judgement Rolls in Partition 
above. It is a chart with the following labeled columns: Against Whom, 
In Favor Of, Filed.


CLERK'S MINUTES OF CAUSES. (1842). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.- AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     These minutes contain scant information, simply stating "motion denied" 
or recording the fact that a certain paper was filed.  Occasionally, 
a judgement is recorded.


INDEX TO CAUSES. (1847-1848). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. An alphabetical listing of cases with a page number listed for each 'Case.' 
It is unclear what records this volume indexes. SUPREME COURT IN EQUITY LEDGERS. (1841-1844). 2 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.

     These two volumes are labeled "Ledger of Goods Bought and Received" 
and "Financial Ledger Number Seven".  They appear to be an administrative 
record, recording a list of names with debits and credits.

ROLL OF ATTORNEYS. (1858-1898, not inclusive). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This series contains the oath taken by attorneys to support the 
Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York.  
Also recorded are the name of the attorney, the date of the oath 
and when the attorney  was admitted.  The years 1896-1897 are 
missing from this series.

JUDGEMENT ROLLS. (1800-1924, Bulk 1850-1918). 1,535 Cubic Feet. 
Arrangement:  Chronological Then Alphabetical.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten-Early, Typed-Later.

     Located in this series is the most complete information on a case, 
including complete copies of summons, complaints, answers, etc., 
and often there is a whole collection of documents on one case.  
Some major cases are transcribed in a printed bound volume: 
these are cases which were appealed to a higher court and 
remitted to the lower court after the judgement was affirmed, 
reversed, or modified. 
     Civil cases comprise the bulk of material, but criminal cases are 
also present.  Records from all branches of the court are preserved 
in these boxes.  There are sporadic gaps, both chronologically and 
alphabetically.

LEDGER OF SURETIES/MORTGAGES. (1823-1877). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This volume contains charts with the following labeled columns: Name, 
Surety, Name of Collector, Town, Dollar Amount and Date.

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Surrogate's Court


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     Estates is the key word when it comes to Surrogate's Court; that, 
and supervising the administration of small estates.  In each county, 
a Surrogate "has power over administrators, executors, guardians and 
trustees of estates and all matters which may arise in such connection", 
according to Black's Law Dictionary.  First appointed in New York by 
the governor in 1692, Surrogates were responsible for administrating 
oaths.  A Surrogate's Court was established in each county in 1787.

DECREES OF FINAL SETTLEMENT. (1899-1929, not inclusive). 
8 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court. Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     These records contain orders on how an estate was to be settled.  
A summary statement of the monies involved is given, including the 
value of the estate minus certain expenses, such as funeral costs, 
executor's fees and other debts owed.  Finally, the names of the heirs 
are listed with their shares of the estate.  The years 1906 to 1921 
are missing from this series.


RECORD OF INSTRUMENTS SETTLING ESTATES. 
(1903-1956, not inclusive). 18  Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.

     This series records the fact that certain duties connected with the 
settlement of an estate were fulfilled, through the use of sworn statements 
by  persons, banks and corporations.  For example, a bank swears it paid 
the executor a fee from an account of the estate involved or an individual 
swears they have received their entitled inheritance.  
Also included are judges' dismissals of executors upon the completion 
of their duties.  The years 1928 and 1951 are missing from this 
series.

GENERAL ORDERS. (1805-1950, not inclusive). 61 Volumes.
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County
Surrogate's Court. Early Records - Handwritten.  Later Records typed.  
Indexed.

     These records contain court orders for setting a court date, 
the disbursement of money and answering executor's requests, 
among other acts. Also included in this series are Orders for the 
Publication of Citations,by which the court ordered the executor 
to advertise in a local newspaper the court date of the settlement, 
so those having claim against the estate could be present.  
The following years are missing from this series: 
1823-1832, 1834-1835, 1839-1840, 1866-1867, 1886, 1897-1906, 
1914-1924 and 1929.


ORDERS FOR SPECIAL GUARDIAN. (1889-1958, not inclusive). 7 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's
Court.  Printed, Handwritten-early, Typed-later.  Indexed.

     This is a record of the court appointing special guardians for those 
minors (referred to as infants) who did not have a general guardian 
(see below), which was usually one of the minor's parents.  The 
following gaps appear in the records: 1896-1905 and 1928-1945.


ORDERS FOR GENERAL GUARDIAN. (1895-1951, not inclusive). 9 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Printed, Handwritten-Early, Typed-Later.  Indexed.

     This series, which consists of standard printed forms with blank 
spaces for the inclusion of names and dates, records the court 
appointment of a minor's parent as his or her general guardian 
to protect the minor's interests in an estate.

EXECUTOR’S FEE LEDGER. (1840-1844). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.

     This series lists the expenses an executor has incurred in the 
administration of an estate.  It must be noted that this series is 
difficult to decipher because of cramped handwriting and the 
use of many abbreviations.


RECEIPT OF TAXES. (1841-1852).  2 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is arranged in a chart with the following columns: 
Date, For Whom, Ward, Page, Property Base and Received.


RECEIPT BOOKS FOR WILLS. (1839-1958, not, inclusive). 7 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Printed.  Indexed.

     The Receipt Books simply state the fact that the Executor has 
received the will.  Each statement reads, "Received of Surrogate 
of Albany County, the original last will and testament' of [blank- space] 
left in the office of probate".  The years 1917 and 1945 
are missing from this series.


SALE OF REAL ESTATE. (1872-1950, not inclusive).  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Handwritten.

     This series gives information concerning the sale of the decedent’s 
real property in order to settle the debts of the estate.
The records contain many court orders, including orders for 
the administrator to appear in court and explain why property should 
not be sold to settle debts,orders to appoint a guardian to protect a 
minor's interests and orders to sell property, accompanied by a record 
of how the money was distributed.  Often there is a description of the 
land involved.  The years 1889-1895 and 1902-1909 are missing 
from this series.


ORDERS TO APPEAR FOR SETTLING ESTATE. (1906-1913). 2 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders directing the administrator to 
place an advertisement in a local newspaper informing anyone who 
wishes to make a claim against the estate to contact the administrator 
at his place of business.  Among the newspapers named were the 
Albany Times-Union, Altamont Enterprise, Albany Evening Journal and 
the Cohoes Republican.


DECREES ASSESSING TAX. (1905-1959, not inclusive). 26 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders appointing an appraiser to 
appraise an estate for taxation.  These records are important because 
they contain the exact date of death of the deceased.  The following years 
are missing: 1924, 1951, 1959.

EXECUTOR, ADMINISTRATOR AND TRUSTEES BONDS.  
(1892-1954, not inclusive). 35 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Printed 
and Typed.  Indexed.

     Executors, administrators and trustees had to post bond as 
insurance of the faithful fulfillment of their duties.  This series is 
a record of those bonds organized in standard printed forms with
blank spaces for the insertion of names and dates.


ORDERS APPOINTING APPRAISER. (1905-1926, not inclusive). 
10 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany 
County Surrogate's court.  Printed and Typed. Indexed.

     This series consists of court orders in the form of printed 
statements directing the appraiser of an estate, to give notice 
to certain named persons when and where the appraisal will take 
place so they can be present.  Presumably, all persons named have 
an interest in the estate.


TESTAMENTARY: LETTERS OF TRUSTEESHIP. (1923-1929). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany 
County Surrogate's Court.  Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is arranged in a chart with the following 
labeled columns: Date of Filing, Name of Testator, Trustees, 
Address of Trustees, Will Probated, Decree-Order-Instrument, 
Date filed, Bond and Remarks.  Usually the remark column states
 "no bonds required".


DATES OF RETURN PROBATE. (1880-1925). 1 Volume. Arrangement. 
Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     The information in this series is arranged in chart form with the 
following labeled columns: Name, Date, Book and Page.

PROBATE OF WILLS. (1944-1948). 3 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Printed and Typed.  Indexed.

     This series is a record of the court requiring "proper parties" 
to appear in court on an appointed date to ascertain if there 
are any reasons a will should not be admitted to probate or if 
there are any objections to the named executors.  
The name of the executor, the witnesses to the will and all 
those present at each hearing are recorded.


LETTERS TO GUARDIANS. (1876-1943, not inclusive). 4 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.

     These records are similar to the Orders for Guardianship, but 
in addition to appointing a guardian, they also contain orders for the 
guardian to appear in court on an appointed date and to post bond.  
The years 1882-1913 and 1928-1932 are missing.


GUARDIAN BONDS. (1890-I908, not inclusive). 6 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court. Printed and Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records are oaths sworn by individuals to validate certain facts.  
For example, the most common oaths are sworn statements that a person 
recognizes an individual's handwriting or a corporate seal.  Oddly, 
no mention of guardianship is present although one assumes there is some 
connection.  This series is also unusual in that it contains some court 
proceedings outside of Albany County.  The years 1904-1905 are 
missing from this series.

OFFICIAL BONDS. (1900-1901). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is basically the same as the Executors, Administrators and 
Trustees Bond except that, in this series, the deceased apparently 
died intestate.


RENUNCIATION OF EXECUTORS. (1893-1905). 1 Volume.
Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     As its name suggests, this is a record of persons who renounce 
their named appointment as executor of a will.  
The Renunciation is witnessed by the Commssioner of Deeds.  
The renouncing executor's name and city of residence are recorded.


LIST OF INVENTORY: INDEX TO INTESTATE ESTATES. (1850-1891). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Alphabetical. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.

     This series basically consists of an index with names and numbers.  
The location of the records of each  estate has been changed, 
so this index is no longer useful.


INDEX TO TAXABLE TRANSFERS OF PROPERTY. (1850-1918). 1 Volume. 
Arrangement: Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains only a list of names with no other reference.  
Most of the book is blank.

REAL ESTATE BOOKS. (1852-1873). 2 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     These records differ only in name and form from the Sale of Real Estate 
series (see above).  They are a record of court orders to settle the debts 
of an estate by selling real property.


ESTATE ACCOUNT LEDGER. (1818-1836). 1 Volume.  
Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This is a record of expenses incurred and monies paid from each 
estate for items such as food, travel and taxes.


DAILY RECORD AND MINUTES. (1935-1957). 1 Cubic Foot. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     These records are a summary of the proceedings of court cases. 
Included are the recording of orders, filing of papers, court appearance, 
as well as other information.


TRANSCRIPTS, AND STENO MINUTES. (1886-1957, not indusive). 
1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     These records, which include the testimony of witnesses and others, 
are complete transcripts of court proceedings.  Most cases appear to 
involve a dispute surrounding a will.  The following gaps appear in this 
series: 1887-1894, 1906 and 1908-1914.

JUDGEMENT DOCKET. (1896-1915). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     The information in this series is arranged in chart form with the 
following labeled columns: Amount Deposited, Title of Action 
(usually settlement of account), Name of Party to 
Whom Ordered Pay, Order Filed (date), and Receipt Filed (date).  
This volume's unbound pages are now stored in a box.


RECORD OF TRANSFERS. (1927-1939, not inclusive). 2 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County 
Surrogate's Court.  Typed.  Indexed.

     This is a record of a distributee transferring his interest in an 
estate to another "for value received".  A distributee, according to 
Black's Law Dictionary, is one who is entitled by law to a share of 
an estate of someone who died intestate.  The following gaps in the 
series appear: 1928-1929, 1932-1934 and 1936-1938.


GENERAL ORDERS' APPRAISAL FOR TAXATION. (1895-1903). 7 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series contains court orders appointing appraisers to appraise 
the value of an estate for estate taxes.

ESTATE RECORDS. (1875-1927). 18 Cubic Feet.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Surrogate's Court.  
Handwritten and Typed.

      This series consists of important papers concerning the settlement and 
management of estates, including estates held in trust for many years.  
Some estates' records consist of a file of a few inches, while 
others consist of a few boxes.  Included are checks, receipts, 
and inventories.
     Basically, records produced in the administration of the estate can 
be found in this series.  Some of the boxes are labeled "vouchers" 
while larger estates are labeled by their names (e.g. "The Brady Estate").  
There are also bound volumes labeled "Judicial Settlement" which are 
ledgers for large complex estates held in trust.  These ledgers hold 
financial information such as records of stocks bought and sold, 
dividend interest, cash receipts, etc.  There are also volumes labeled, 
"Account of Proceedings" which are similar to the 
Judicial Settlement Books.


GUARDIAN APPOINTMENT BOOKS. (1870-1887). 3 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Surrogate's Court.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is a register arranged in chart form with the following 
labeled columns: Name of Infant, Date of Birth, Name and Address of 
Guardian, Name and Address of Sureties, Date of Appointment, LIB 
("Liber"=Book), Page and Remarks.

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Other Court Records and Court Related Records


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     Each of the following series contains the records of more than one 
court, therefore making it difficult to categorize them under any one court. 
Also, at the end of this section is one series from the Court of Chancery 
which did not meet the criteria to be placed in any other section of the 
finding aid.


JUDGEMENT BOOKS. (1877-1943). 163 Volumes.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten-Early, Typed-Later.

     These records cover cases heard in the County Court and various 
branches of the Supreme Court.  This series lists judgements handed 
down in civil cases, stating who won and how much was awarded.  
How the judgement was arrived at is vague, usually only stating 
"upon the jury's verdict", by the decision of an arbitrator, or because 
one of the parties failed to appear in court.  Although the facts of a 
case are often vague, some interesting information and details can be 
obtained here.  For instance, cases involving property disputes include 
a surveyor's detailed description of the property.  It should be noted that 
original documents from these cases might be found in the two series 
entitled "Judgement Rolls" in the Supreme and County Court sections.


JUDGEMENT INDEXES. (1929-1958, not inclusive). 56 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological, then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     Information in this series is recorded in chart form, with the 
following columns: Parties Against Whom Judgement was Obtained, 
Parties in Whose Favor Judgement was Obtained, Attorneys, Court,
Debt, Damages and Cost, Judgement When Perfected, Judgement When 
Docketed, When Satisfied.  The years covered in this series are scattered, 
covering 1928, 1929, 1934, 1941, 1948, 1954, 1956, 1958 and 1959. 

JUDGEMENT DOCKETS. (1840-1895, not inclusive). 51 Volumes.  
Arrangement: Chronological, then Alphabetical.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series contains the same information as the Judgement Indexes 
(above) and in the same chart form; only the name and the time period 
covered differ.  The most common courts which appear in this series are 
the County, Supreme and Justice's Courts and, on rarer occasions,
records from the Court of Common Pleas (Pre- 1 847) and the Mayor's 
Court appear.  The years 1842-1859 are missing.


REGISTERS. (1899-1918). 14 Volumes.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. Indexed.

     This series records civil cases from the Supreme, County and 
Recorders Court (there are no separate records for Recorders).   
Each case is recorded on a small block on the page with brief annotations, 
such as "stipulation and order of discontinuance", "final judgement 
and proof" and "failure to answer".  This may be a court clerk's register 
(essentially a tracking record).


GENERAL ASSIGNMENTS. (1892-1911, not inclusive). 5 Cubic Feet.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This series contains materials relating to debt and insolvement 
assignment cases in the County and Supreme Courts.  Among the 
materials available are schedules of property, orders directing bond, 
vouchers, and citations to creditors who wish to,make a claim against 
an estate.  The following years are missing from this series: 1893 and 
1895.


JUSTICES RETURNS ON APPEAL. (19Ol-l9ll). 3 Cubic Feet.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series covers the County Court, Police Court, and various city 
courts for both criminal and civil cases.  These records are cases that 
were appealed because of a belief that the judge "erred in his ruling".
There are various types of papers preserved: in this series, such as a court 
order to release someone from prison, copies of cornplaints and transcripts 
of a case.


MINUTES.(1888-1901, not inclusive): Arrangement Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. 

     This series is a record of orders motions and papers filed in the 
County and Supreme Courts.  The years1895-1898 are misssing 
from this series.


BOND OF COMMITTEE-INCOMPETENTS. (1897-1914). 1 Cubic Foot.  
Arrangement: Chronological. - Agency Origin:  Albany Camty Clerk. 
Handwritten.

     This series is a record of  bonds posted in the Supreme and
County Courts by trustees appointed by the court to handle legal 
aspects of an incompetent's estate.  The bonds insured the faithful 
execution of the trustees'duties.


RECOGNIZANCES. (1881-1926).  1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: Chronological. 
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  

     This series records the posting of bail in the County and Police 
Courts and is divided into bail posted before and after the indictment.  
The information recorded in this series includes the name of the 
denfendant, the crime committed, the defendant's occupation and 
address, and the amount of the bond.


GUARDIAN BONDS. (1906-1915). 1 Cubic Foot.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Typed.

     This series contains the bonds posted by guardians for the faithful 
execution of their duties.


RECORD OF HABITUAL CRIMINALS. (1913). 1 Volume. Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten.

     This series lists the convict's name and every crime he or she 
committed, starting with the most recent crime.  Also recorded is the
statement that he or she was "adjudged to be a habitual criminal".


RECOGNIZANCES IN OPEN COURT. (1881-1916). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This series is a record of defendants who posted bail or were 
released on their own recognizance, swearing to appear in court on 
the prescribed date.  The defendant's crime is also recorded.


INDEX TO COURT RECORDS. (1811-1918). 1 Volume.  Arrangement:
Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten.

     Apparently, this series is an administrative record, but which 
court it covers is unclear.  It is in chart form with the defendant's 
name and plaintiffs name, along with a "draw number:" and "number". 
(This is probably a reference to the physical location of court records 
when in the Clerk's office - "draw" = "drawer".)


BOOK OF INDICTMENTS. (1894-1900).  I Volume.  Arrangement: 
Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten.

     This record covers the Court of Sessions, the Court of Oyer and 
Terminer, County Court and Supreme Court.  It states the name of the 
defendant, the crime committed and how the case was disposed.


SUPREME COURT CASES (1869-1874) SURROGATE COURT CASES. (1893). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is a clerk's register of filed court papers.  Annotations 
read "delivered copy of summons", "notice of trial to attorney" and 
"filed notice of issue".


SUPREME COURT RECORDS, INCLUDING MAYOR'S COURT.(1859-1862). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
 Handwritten.  AVAILABLE ON MICROFILM.

     This clerk's register has brief annotations concerning court papers 
such as notices, summons, and answers.  It must be noted that the 
handwriting here is very compact and difficult to decipher.


INDICTMENTS OF THE SUPREME AND COUNTY COURTS.
(1900-1901). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series records the defendant's name, what crime was 
committed, when it was committed and the eventual outcome of
the case.


SHERIFF'S REGISTER-LEDGER ON ALL COURTS. (1830. 1832). 
1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     This volume is a register of writs issued and returned.  It contains 
charts with the following labeled columns: Parties in Suit, Return,
By Whom, Attorneys, Dollars and Cents.


COMMITMENTS. (1885-1893).  1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten. Indexed.

     This series covers the Court of Sessions and the Court of Oyer and 
Terminer and is a record of convicts committed to a county jail or state
prison. It states the name of the convict, the offense and the sentence.


RECORD OF CONVICTIONS. (1930-1974, not inclusive). 12 Cubic Feet.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.

     Most of these records are convictions from the Police Court but 
convictions from the various town courts are included.  
These records are printed,  folded slips of paper containing the 
following infornation: The convict's name, crime, when it was 
committed and the sentence.  The crinies were misdemeanors; 
the most common were public intoxication and vagrancy.  
Often, only a citation of the law was given, for example, 
"chapter 10, section 2 of the code".  The following gaps appear 
in this series, 1951, 1954, 1960, 1963-65, 1968-69 
and 1973.



DOCKET OF JUSTICE'S TRANSCRIPTS. (1872-1915). 1 Volume.  
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. 
Handwritten.  Indexed.

     This series is a summary record of conviction for town and city 
criminal courts.  The information recorded includes the name of the 
convict, the offense and the date of sentencing.


GRAND TRIAL JUROR'S REGISTERS. (1931-1956, not inclusive). 
2 Cubic Feet.  Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: 
Albany County Clerk.  Handwritten.

     These records cover the County Court and various branches of the 
Supreme Court, listing juror's names, addresses and occupations. 
Also recorded are court orders to raise a jury to appoint court officers.  
The following years are missing: 1941-1947.


CIVIL DOCKET. (1842-1844). 1 Volume.  Arrangement: Chronological.  
Agency Origin: Sheriff’s Department.  Handwritten. Indexed.

This series is a record of writs served by the Sheriff s Department. 
It contains charts with the following labeled columns: Date, 
Title of Action (the court and the name of the case), Attorney, on Whom 
Served, Where Served, Remarks and Fee.


The Court of Chancery


     Established in 1685, the Court of Chancery had equity jurisdiction 
and appellate jurisdiction over probate matters.  Original jurisdiction 
was vested in the Surrogate's Court after 1787.  The court's duties 
were absorbed by the Supretre Court in 1847.


REGISTERS AND LEDGERS. (1808-1839, not inclusive). 2 Volumes. 
Arrangement: Chronological.  Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk.  
Handwritten.

     Labeled "Deposit expenditure of Court Cases" and "Ledger B", this 
series appears to keep a record of debits and credits on estates that 
are involved in court cases.  There are expenses for fees, drafts, 
interest accumulation and cash deposits, among other entries.  
The years 1826-1829 are missing from this series.

COURT RELATED RECORDS

The following records contain information that is not directly part of a court case, but is related to a case in some way. Researchers may find this information useful. PRISONER ADMISSION RECORDS. (1831-1931, not inclusive). 47 Volumes. Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Sheriff’s Department. Handwritten. These records were given various names such as Jailor's Dockets, Commitments, Criminal Calendars, Deputies' Registers and Record of Prisoners. All contain the same basic information concerning the admission of convicts to jail, although some records are more complete than others. The most common information given is the date of admission, name, age, where bom, hair, eyes, height, weight, color, occupation, habits of life (temperate or intemperate), social relations (mariied or single.), education, religion, health, sentence, number of prior commitments and amount of money in possession. Some series contain more information. The Bertillion Ledgers have a section labeled Anthrometric Data which lists body measurements, such as the length of limbs, size of ears and width of the forehead. Other books, such as the Criminal Calendar, state only the name of the convict, offense, date of discharge, by whom, and sentence. One volume, entitled Board Book, shows a list of expenses incurred in the transfer of prisoners from other parts of the country to Albany; it includes board, mileage and cost of clothing. The following gap appears in the series: 1832-1833. The years 1853 and 1866-68 can be found only in the Registers of Convicts Received from Washington, D.C. A list of the different sub-series is provided below: Bertillion Ledger - 3 Volumes (1895-97, 1898, 1923-25). Jailor's Docket-8 Volumes (1886-88, 1888-89, 1888-91, 1891-92,1892-94, 1928-1930, 1928-1931,nodate). Register or Record of Prisones. 8 Volumes (1846, 1871, 1871-72 1882-88, 1885-89, 1888-1901, 1895-1922, 1896- 1920). Criminal Book - I Volume (I 83 1). Admission Books. 4 Volumes (1878-81, 1883, 1912-1921, 1920- 1921). Criminal Calendar. 2Volumes (1838-43, 1843-47). Deputy'sRegister. 6Volumes (1888-94, 1894-96, 1896-1904, 1904-1915, 1915-1924, 1924-1931). Albany County Jail Register - 6 Volumes (1834-39, 1854-65, 1861- 1863, 1871-72, 1888-1901, 1896-1900). Register of Convicts Received From Washington D.C. - I Volume (1862-1928). Board Book -I Volume (I 898-1900). LIS PENDENS. (1887-1908, not inclusive). 5 Volumes. Arrangement: Chronological, then Alphabetical. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten. Lis Pendens means pending suit. A record of Lis Pendens is kept to put all on notice that a certain property is involved in litigation and in danger of being affected by an adverse judgement. This series appears to be an index to more information about a law suit. A chart provides date, book and page. Also, there is a column labeled "Notes", but most of these columns are empty. JURORS LIST. (1897-1905, not inclusive). 5 Volumes. Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Commissioner of Jurors. Handwritten. This series list prospective jurors in a chart with the following information: Name, City, Town Where From, Ward, Residence, Occupation and remarks. The most common remark is "not qualified". COURT PAYROLL. (1911-1981, bulk l9ll-1942). 8Volumes. Arrangement: Chronological. Agency Origin: Albany County Clerk. Handwritten. As its name implies, this series is a ledger recording money paid to court employees. The years 1943-1975 are missing from this series.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY


Bailey, Marey L. and Sweeney, Sharon M. Guide to the Historical Records 
     in the Office of the Albany County Clerk.  Albany, NY.- Albany 
     County Clerk,  1979.

Black's Law Dictionary.  St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1979.

Folts, James D. "Duely & Constantly Kept": A History of the New York 
     Supreme Court- 1691-1847 and An Inventory of Its Records, 1797-1847.  
     Albany, NY.  State Court of Appeals and the New York State Archives and 
     Records Administration, 1991.

Gehring, Charles T., ed.  Fort Orange Court Minutes, 1652-1660.  
     Syracuse, NY.  Syracuse University Press, 1990.

Van Laer, A.J.F., ed.  Minutes of the Court of Albany, Rensselaerwyck, 
     and Schenectady, 1680-1685.  Volume III.  Albany, NY. The University 
     of the State of New York, 1932.

The Works Progress Administration. Inventory of the County Archives 
     (exclusive of the Five Counties of New York City).  Albany, NY.  
     The Historical Records Survey, 1937.

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HALL OF RECORDS EXPANSION PROJECTPARKING NOTICE:The Albany County Hall of Records will be starting an expansion project AUGUST 14, 2017. This project will take several months. We ask our visitors to park in the provided area behind the building or on the street. Thank you for your patience as our records facility is enhanced.

Hon. Bruce A. Hidley, Albany County Clerk

Hon. Bruce A. Hidley,
Albany County Clerk


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