When citizens petition their government for aid, compensation, or recognition, the records that are created often not only include genealogically significant details, they also put our ancestors in the context of history. The affidavits and proof submitted can be rich in details and contain mentions of other family members.
If your ancestor ran afoul of the law, criminal records will records his transgressions, along with some personal details that may help you fill in your family tree. Even if you aren’t aware of any criminal behavior in your family, be sure to check these records. Details can include birth date and place, immigration information, sentence, date and place of trial, and more.
Many people were involved in judicial processes. Your ancestors may have been mentioned in court records as jurists, petitioners, or witnesses. Court case files include important information and documents including testimonies, subpoenas, evidence, and writs.
You can expect to find names, residences, and sometimes occupations in addition to other details such as age and a physical description from these valuable records.