Understanding Your ...

Ancestors in the Records:
Other Western European Records: Court Records

Although court records have the potential of providing interesting information, they are some of the most difficult records to use. Again, types of records and the information contained in them varies. In Germany for example, there were over fifty types of courts before 1870. These courts addressed everything from criminal cases, to guardianship issues, to land disputes.

Court records are often not indexed and can be very difficult to read. Many are only available at archives in their countries of origin. Court records also contain little strictly genealogical information such as birth, marriage, and death dates or places. Unless you have reason to believe your ancestor was in the court records, your time might be better spent elsewhere.