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Supreme Court Case Files, 1704-1844

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This database currently indexes 55,099 Supreme Court case files held by the New Jersey State Archives. It includes 217,993 name entries. The Supreme Court case files vary in content, from a single writ or summons, to complex documentation containing multiple writs, depositions, court costs, jury summons, and papers filed in lower courts.

All cases are indexed by the primary plaintiff and defendant; 67% also record a basic case type, and at least one county designation; 97% record at least one year.

Many records include: a date range (multiple years over which the case was adjudicated); additional counties and out of state locations (where the case was heard, where the parties were from, or where the injury occurred); additional notes on the case type; and additional names recorded in the file. Out-of-state locations--"Philadelphia," for example--are noted in the "County" column. Supplemental data entry is ongoing.

Search by any combination of first name, last name, county, case type, years, gender, ethnicity, and/or corporate entities (State of New Jersey, King or Queen, or Corporate for cases involving railroads, banks, churches, and so on). Results are limited to 500 records per search.

Entering the initial letter or string of letters into the name fields will return all records beginning with that string. To search a string within a name use the wildcard character * followed by the string. For example, the surname "Smith" may be searched to include the variant "Smyth" by entering "Sm*th" in last name field. To sort the search results click on the header of each column.

The search function below is oriented to research by name. Since a name can appear as a litigant, victim, witness, named party, etc., the search results may contain more than one reference to the same case file.

The Archives hosts two other prototype versions of the Supreme Court database which allow the records to be searched in other ways. In these versions, the list of search results will contain just one reference to each case file.

  • Supreme Court Version 2 will return a list of case files based on a search by county, case type, case number, and/or year span. The advantage to this search is, for example, if you want to know how many murder cases are recorded before 1776, this search will show you there are currently 42 cases identified, instead of showing results by every name in all the cases. On this interface, you can click on the case number and see a list of all persons in the case. It will also display any case notes currently recorded for the file. You can order copies of records from this page.
  • Supreme Court Version 3 allows you to search for plaintiff/defendant combinations. For example, if you want to search for cases where John Smith is suing someone named Brown, this interface will allow for that search. You cannot order copies from this particular interface.

    African Americans before the Court, 1704-1783. Presented at the New Jersey State Library, February 21, 2018, as part of African American History Month, these slides feature, after a brief introduction, a variety of scanned records from the State Archives' New Jersey Supreme Court Collection chosen to showcase African Americans, both free and enslaved, before the court. (See also the searchable database, Supreme Court Case Files, 1704-1844, below.)

  • To order a copy, click "Select" next to the record.
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Last Name:
First Name:
Role in Case:
Case Type:
Corporate Entities:
Year Span:
Case No.

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