The National Archives at Fort Worth

Records of the United States District Court in Louisiana | Series List

Records Available at the National Archives at Fort Worth

Introduction

In 1804, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two territories: Orleans and Louisiana. While Congress also created a U. S. district court for both Louisiana and Orleans, the Orleans court apparently never met. The territories were soon consolidated in 1805 into the Territory of Louisiana and the U.S. District Court at New Orleans became the only federal court for the entire territory with both district and circuit court jurisdiction. Appeals from the court's decisions went directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the establishment of the Western District of Louisiana in 1823, the U S. District Court in New Orleans exercised circuit jurisdiction for both districts during the next eight years. Then an act of Congress in 1831 gave the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana both district and circuit court powers. Circuit court jurisdiction by both U.S. district courts ended in 1837 when the state of Louisiana was included in the Ninth Circuit and separate circuit courts were established for both districts. United States circuit courts, which were located within the state's judicial districts, exercised both original and appellate jurisdiction. In 1842, Louisiana was transferred to the Fifth Circuit where it remained until 1862 when the state was briefly included in the Sixth Circuit with Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Louisiana returned to the Fifth Circuit in 1866.

On three occasions from 1823-1881, the State of Louisiana was divided into two judicial districts. The Eastern and Western Districts, which were established by an act of Congress in 1823, were combined into one district in 1845 and Opelousas, the court seat for the Western District, ceased functioning. The increasingly heavy caseload of the court in New Orleans made a second division in the state necessary in 1849. The division between the two districts remained in effect after Louisiana seceded from the United States in January 1861. By October 1862, New Orleans had been recaptured by the Union troops and a U.S. provisional court was established there with district and circuit court jurisdiction. In 1863, the U.S. District Courts in Louisiana began functioning as a single judicial district.

The present Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana were created in 1881. The Western District held court sessions at Opelousas, Shreveport (headquarters for the district), Monroe, and Alexandria. The Eastern District contained one court at New Orleans; by 1888, the district was divided into two divisions with court terms to be held in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Additional courts at Lake Charles and Lafayette were added to the Western District in 1905 and 1961, respectively. A new Middle District of Louisiana was created in 1971 and the Baton Rouge Division was transferred from the Eastern District to the newly created district. A list of the court sites and creation dates are provided in Appendix A. A list of judges for all of the districts including the Confederate and Provisional courts is provided in Appendix B.

In 1891 courts of appeals were created to hear appeals from U.S. district courts and the appellate jurisdiction of U.S. circuit courts ended. In January 1912, U.S. circuit courts ceased functioning and the existing federal judicial system began.

The district and circuit courts were involved with the following types of proceedings:

Admiralty

Article III, section 2, of the Constitution provides that the judicial power of the United States shall extend "to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction." The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this grant of authority as extending not only over the high seas but over all public navigable waters as well.  The Judiciary Act of 1789 conferred original jurisdiction in admiralty and maritime cases exclusively on the district courts of the United States with provision for admiralty appeals to the circuit courts. This provision was abolished in 1891 when the newly-created courts of appeals became the final courts of appeal in admiralty. 

American admiralty law deals with such matters as prizes, ransom, and military salvage; suits to try title to a ship; actions to recover ships to which a party is entitled by right; and a variety of maritime contracts and torts. Suits and proceedings in admiralty may be "in rem," against a thing, usually a ship or its cargo, or "in personam," against an individual.

Civil

Section 2 of an act of Congress, approved June 19, 1934, gave the Supreme Court of the United States authority to unite the general rules for equity and law proceedings into one form of civil procedures.  On September 16, 1938, proposed Federal Rules of Civil Procedures became effective, and thereafter, law and equity actions were filed together as civil proceedings. Admiralty cases, civil lawsuits relating to violations of federal maritime laws, were filed separately from other civil proceedings until 1967. Beginning in that year, proceedings relating to maritime laws are identified as civil cases.

Law

As courts of common law jurisdiction, the U.S. district courts have possessed exclusive original jurisdiction over all seizures on land made under federal laws (libel in rem proceedings); exclusive original jurisdiction over suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred under federal laws (scire facias proceedings); concurrent jurisdiction with state courts and U.S. circuit courts over cases where an alien sued for a legal remedy when a law of nations or a treaty of the United States had been violated; concurrent jurisdiction with U.S. circuit courts in suits at common law where the United States sued under the authority of an act of Congress; and exclusive original jurisdiction over suits against foreign consuls and vice consuls. Most law cases relate to scire facias or libel in rem proceedings. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, effective in 1938 after their adoption by the U.S. Supreme Court, prescribed a uniform procedure for law and equity cases, with one form of action to be known as "civil action."

Equity

The basis of equity jurisdiction in the federal courts is laid in the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of the United States. This jurisdiction, as provided in section 16 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, is not exercised in any case where a "plain, adequate, and complete remedy may be had at law." This jurisdiction was in large part regulated by rules first prescribed in 1822 by the Supreme Court. The rules were replaced by additional sets of rules adopted in 1842 and again in 1913. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, effective in 1938, prescribed a uniform procedure for law and equity cases, with one form of action to be known as "civil action."

Criminal

The Judiciary Act of 1789 conferred very limited criminal jurisdiction upon the U.S. district courts.  On August 23, 1842, Congress amended the Judiciary Act by extending the criminal jurisdiction of the district courts to all non-capital crimes and offenses against the United States. The circuit court of the United States exercised jurisdiction over federal capital crimes.

Naturalization

An act of Congress, approved April 14, 1802, provided for the naturalization of aliens in any court of record, having common law jurisdiction in the individual state or in U. S. district and circuit courts.  In 1816 Congress passed an act, requiring the courts that had accepted declarations of intention to issue certificates of naturalization. An act of Congress in 1906, established a Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization in the Department of Commerce and standardized the filing of declarations of intention and petitions for citizenship. The declarations and petitions were to include biographical information about the petitioner.

Eastern District of Louisiana

District Court Records for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Circuit Court Records for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Confederate District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Provisional Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Western District of Louisiana

District Court Records for the Western District of Louisiana

Circuit Court Records for the Western District of Louisiana

Middle District of Louisiana

District Court Records for the Middle District of Louisiana

 

Eastern District of Louisiana

Records of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Baton Rouge Division

For records of the Baton Rouge court after it became headquarters of the newly created Middle District of Louisiana in 1972, please see the Middle District.

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 11/1888 - 12/1944 4504690 21-ELA-01
Dockets, 1912 - 1970 4504691 21-ELA-02
Case Files, 1893 - 1964 4504692 21-ELA-03
Index to Bankruptcy, Civil, Miscellaneous, and Criminal Cases, 1898? - 1932? 4504704 21-ELA-03A
Index to Attorney Admissions, ca. 1917 - 1991 3440937 21-ELA-03B

Civil Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Civil Dockets, 1938 - 1971 593247 21-ELA-10
Index to Civil Cases, ca. 1953 - 1982 3440941 21-ELA-10A
Civil Case Files, 1938 - 1971 593249 21-ELA-11

Equity Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Order Book, 01/1912 - 11/1928 4504728 21-ELA-12

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Dockets, 1916 - 1971 4504729 21-ELA-13
Index to Defendants, ca. 1962 - 1982 3440943 21-ELA-13A
Criminal Case Files, 1916 - 1971 593252 21-ELA-14

 

New Orleans Division

From 1806 until the circuit court's creation in 1837, papers entered in admiralty, law, equity, criminal, and habeas corpus proceedings were filed numerically in the series Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21).  Upon its creation in 1837, the circuit court had jurisdiction in the majority of equity and criminal proceedings.

After Louisiana seceded from the Union in January 1861, the district and circuit courts ceased functioning.  Proceedings for May 1861-March 1862 can be found among the records of the Confederate District court while cases for January 1863-November 1865 are described in the records of the Provisional Court.

General Records

Admiralty Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Admiralty Dockets, 1932 - 1966 588121 21-ELA-30
Admiralty Case Files, 1932 - 1966 588123 21-ELA-31
Bond Record Books, 04/1873 - 05/1935 4510182 21-ELA-32
Depositions in Prize Cases, 07/1863 - 04/1864 4510246 21-ELA-33
Index to Confiscated Property, 1865 - 1865 4510562 21-ELA-34

Civil Records

Equity Records

Equity or chancery cases for 1837-1911, with the exception of those relating to land claims, were filed in the series, General Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21) of the circuit court.  Chancery or equity proceedings relating to land claims in Louisiana were heard by the district court during 1845-1849 and 1861-1875.  The "land claims" cases are described in the equity records of the district court.  After the circuit court's abolishment on January 1, 1912, equity proceedings for the period 1912-1932 are filed in the series, General Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21) of the district court. 

The district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana had exclusive equity jurisdiction from 1806-1837, after which the majority of the equity proceedings were heard in the newly-created circuit court.  In cases involving disbursing officers of federal civilian or military departments who were found to be delinquent in their accounts or suits filed by assignees and trustees to recover property of bankrupts, the district court had the authority to issue injunctions or hear bills in equity. 

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Index to Order Book, 1909? - 1944? 4526749 21-ELA-59
Order Books, 1909 - 1944 4526755 21-ELA-60
Orders in Intervention, 09/1915 - 12/1944 4526761 21-ELA-61
Equity Dockets, 1932 - 1938 588120 21-ELA-62
Equity Case Files, 1932 - 1938 588118 21-ELA-63

Records Relating to Land Claims

The district court for the Eastern District had jurisdiction in equity proceedings relating to private land claims.  An act of Congress, approved May 26, 1824, gave the U. S. district courts jurisdiction in equity suits in which individuals filed land claims based on early Spanish and French grants.  A congressional act of June 7, 1844, extended the 1824 act to the states of Louisiana and Arkansas and limited the filing period for the suits to five years.  An act of Congress, approved June 22, 1860, again established procedures for filing land claim cases with the federal district courts.  The equity-styled actions could be filed during a five-year period following the passage of the act.  A congressional act in 1872 extended the 1860 act for three years.  All land claims acts provided for an appeal of the district court decisions to the U. S. Supreme Court.  Equity or chancery cases relating to land claims were filed with U. S. district court for the Eastern District from 1844-1849 and 1861-1875.  Additional records relating to private land claims in Louisiana can be located among the records of the Bureau of Land Management (formerly General Land Office), Record Group 49. Some of the General Land Office records relating to Louisiana land claims have been microfilmed as National Archives microfilm publications M1382, Bound Records of the General Land Office Relating to Private Land Claims in Louisiana, 1767-1892, and M1385, Unbound Records of the General Land Office Relating to Private Land Claims in Louisiana, 1805-1896.

Act of 1844

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 07/1844 - 04/1860 4526804 21-ELA-64
Docket, 1844 - 1860 4526807 21-ELA-65
Case Files Relating to Land Claims Under the Act of 1844, 1844 - 1849 4726008 21-ELA-66
Judgment Record, 1846 - 1849 4526810 21-ELA-67

Act of 1860

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 01/1867 - 11/1880 4526811 21-ELA-68
Docket, 1861 - 1875 4526813 21-ELA-69
Case Files, 1861 - 1875 4526815 21-ELA-70

Law Records

From 1806-1932 the district court for the Eastern District maintained law cases with equity, habeas corpus, and admiralty proceedings in the series, Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21).  Beginning in 1932 law proceedings were maintained separately from the other civil-styled actions in equity and admiralty.  This practice ended in 1938 when the court began to file law and equity actions under one form of civil procedure in the series, Civil Case Files, 1938-1993 (21-ELA-56).  Law proceedings heard in the circuit court for 1837-1911 were filed in the series, Case Files, 04/01/1837-12/31/1911(21-ELA-121).

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Index to Docket, 1914 - 1914 4526817 21-ELA-71
Docket to "Sugar Cases", 1914 - 1914 4526820 21-ELA-72
Law Dockets, 1932 - 1938 4526825 21-ELA-73
Law Case Files, 1932 - 1938 598232 21-ELA-74

Criminal Records

Criminal cases for 1806-1837 were heard in the district court and are described in the series, Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21). Beginning in 1837 and continuing until 1873, criminal cases can be located in the series, Case Files, 1837-1911 (21-ELA-121). After February 1873, the criminal cases were maintained in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1873-1911 (21-ELA-144) in the criminal records of the circuit court. Criminal cases from the district court for 1881-1884 are in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1881-1884 (21-ELA-78) and criminal cases for 1912-1952 are described in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1912-1986 (21-ELA-80). When the circuit court was abolished in January 1912, the active criminal cases were transferred to the district court, which maintained the numerical filing system begun originally in the circuit court.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minute Book, 12/1880 - 12/1888 4526835 21-ELA-75
Recognizance Bonds, 1881 - 1888 4526837 21-ELA-76
Docket, 1880 - 1884 4526839 21-ELA-77
Criminal Case Files, 1881 - 1884 4526841 21-ELA-78
Criminal Dockets, 1912 - 1982 4526842 21-ELA-79
Criminal Case Files, 1912 - 1988 592767 21-ELA-80

Naturalization Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Naturalization Letters Received, 09/1912 - 06/1926 4477452 21-ELA-81
Letters Received from the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, 10/1906 - 05/1922 4477471 21-ELA-82
Letters of Authorization for Duplication of Naturalization Papers , 01/1919 - 05/1929 4477496 21-ELA-83
Naturalization Letters Sent, 10/1906 - 06/1924 4499426 21-ELA-84
Orders Admitting Aliens to Citizenship, 03/1836 - 03/1903 4499444 21-ELA-85
Declarations of Intention, 08/1813 - 09/1906 4499448 21-ELA-85A
Petitions and Applications, 1838 - 1903 4499451 21-ELA-86
Oaths of Applicants, 1876 - 1903 4499462 21-ELA-87
Notices for Applications, 1911 - 1924 4499466 021-ELA-88
Monthly Reports of Naturalization Proceedings, 1924 - 1927 5710206 021-ELA-89
Questionnaires for Declarations of Intention, ca. 1906 - 1928 4499493 021-ELA-90
Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1906 - 1988 592770 021-ELA-91
Depositions of Witnesses in Naturalization Proceedings, 1908 - 1927 4499501 021-ELA-92
Questionnaires for Petitions for Naturalization, ca. 1911 - ca. 1929 4499506 021-ELA-93
Petitions for Citizenship, 1906 - 1991 4499611 021-ELA-94
Naturalization Petitions Transferred from New Orleans, 1975 - 1993 4499614 021-ELA-94A
Naturalization Petitions Transferred to New Orleans, 1953 - 1995 4499828 021-ELA-94B
Lists of Granted, Denied, and Continued Petitions, 1929 - 2000 4499830 021-ELA-94C
Petitions by Military Servicemen, 1943 - 1955 4500188 021-ELA-94E
Stubs of Naturalization Certificates, 06/1907 - 12/1926 4503228 021-ELA-94F
Petitions for Name Changes, 1992 - 2001 4503230 021-ELA-94G
Naturalization Status Reports, 1990 - 1994 4503231 021-ELA-94H
Lists of Naturalized Citizens and Oaths of Allegiance, 03/1991 - 07/2001 4503232 021-ELA-94I
Naturalization Ceremony Agendas, 05/1992 - 12/2000 4503233 021-ELA-94J
Repatriation Oaths of Allegiance, 1940 - 1970 592776 021-ELA-94K
Abandoned Certificates of Arrival, Questionnaires, and Declarations, 1926 - 1927 4503236 021-ELA-95
Index to Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, Naturalization Petitions, and Orders Relating to Citizenship, ca. 1837 - 1991 4503242 021-ELA-95A

Records of the Clerk

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Records Relating to Referees and Passports, 01/1911 - 08/1939 4526932 021-ELA-97
Seals, ca. 1872 - ca. 1872 4526937 021-ELA-100

Records of the U.S. Commissioner

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Record of Proceedings, 1893 - 1962 4526948 021-ELA-100A

Records Relating to Amnesty

On December 8, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Presidential Proclamation (no. 11), which granted a pardon to Confederates and  restored the right of property except that of slaves or to property in which a third party had intervened.  The pardon required the taking of an oath of allegiance to the U.S. government.  The proclamation excepted those who had served as civil or diplomatic officers or as agents of the Confederate government, those who left U.S. judicial positions to aid the war, individuals who had served in the Confederate military above the rank of colonel or in the navy about the rank of lieutenant, and person who had unlawfully treated U.S. servicemen while they were prisoners of war.

The Presidential Proclamation (no. 37), issued by Andrew Johnson on May 29, 1865, further expanded the list of excepted classes who could not be pardoned except by special applications to the President.  Beside the classes identified in the Presidential Proclamation of December 8, 1863, the excepted classes listed in the proclamation of 1865 included persons who resigned from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or at the Naval Academy, governors of the states in rebellion, persons who participated in the destruction of U.S. commerce on the high seas or who had initiated raids into the United States from Canada, and individuals who had voluntary participated in the Rebellion whose taxable property had a value over $20,000.  Like the earlier proclamation in 1863, this proclamation required the taking of an oath before the restoration of property rights.  Amnesty oaths issued under the authority of the Presidential Proclamation of May 29, 1865, and additional oaths issued under the authority of the Presidential Proclamation of December 3, 1863, can be found among the amnesty records of the circuit court.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Amnesty Oaths, 1863 - 1865 4526956 021-ELA-101

Records Relating to the Appointment of Court Officials

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
List of Appointments of U.S. Commissioners, 07/1897 - 04/1906 4526960 021-ELA-102
Orders of Appointments and Oaths, 1863 - 1929 4526967 021-ELA-103

Records Relating to Juries

 

Records of the United States Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Baton Rouge Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Index to Minutes, 1888 - 1911 4576311 021-ELA-107
Minutes, 11/1888 - 11/1911 4576347 021-ELA-108

Law and Equity Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Order Book, 1896 - 1911 4576361 021-ELA-109
Indexes to Docket, 1889 - 1911 4576368 021-ELA-110
Docket, 1889 - 1911 4576371 021-ELA-111
Case Files, 1889 - 1911 4576381 021-ELA-112

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Docket, 1891 - 1910 4597285 021-ELA-113
Case Files, 1891 - 1908 4597286 021-ELA-114

 

New Orleans Division

The district court for the Eastern District also had circuit court powers until an act of Congress, approved March 3, 1837, established a circuit court.  The circuit court, which was part of the ninth circuit, heard appeals from the U. S. District Courts of the Western District of Louisiana in addition to those from the Eastern District.  In 1842 it was transferred to the fifth circuit where it remained until the court stopped functioning after Louisiana seceded from the U. S. in January 1861.  When the circuit court began to hear cases again in June 1863, it was transferred to the sixth circuit.  An act of Congress, approved July 23, 1866, returned the court to the fifth circuit where it remained until it was terminated in January 1912.  When the circuit court ceased functioning on January 1, 1912, the proceedings which had begun originally in the circuit court were transferred to the district court for settlement.  See the series, "Index to Case Files, 1806-1991" (21-ELA- 21A) for an index to cases.

General Records

From the circuit court's creation in March 1837 until its abolishment in January 1912, papers entered in law, equity, criminal, and admiralty and bankruptcy appeal proceedings were filed numerically in the series, Case Files, 1837-1941 (21-ELA-121). Beginning in February 1873, the criminal records were maintained separately in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1873-1911 (21-ELA-144). The circuit cases which were transferred to district court in January 1912 for final disposition retained the case number assigned by the circuit court even though the papers were filed with the clerk of the district court after the transfer.

Admiralty Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Final Record of Admiralty Appeals, 1890 - 1893 4616206 021-ELA-130

Equity Records

From the creation of the circuit court for the Eastern District in 1837 until its termination in 1911, the papers entered in equity proceedings were filed numerically in the series Case Files, 1837-1941 (21-ELA-121) includes equity, law, criminal, and admiralty and bankruptcy appeal proceedings.  Jurisdiction over equity cases was transferred to the U. S. district courts when the circuit courts were abolished in 1912.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Rule Dockets, 1839 - 1896 4616207 021-ELA-131
Trial Docket, 12/1845 - 11/1873 4662896 021-ELA-132
Intervention Docket, 1907 - 1915 4663444 021-ELA-133
Records of Orders, 04/1837 - 12/1911 4663790 021-ELA-134
Records of Appeals, 1848 - 1853 4664388 021-ELA-135
Final Record, 1883 - 1911 4664474 021-ELA-136

Law Records

From its creation in 1837 the circuit court of the Eastern District filed papers entered in law proceedings numerically in the series Case Files, 1837-1941 (21-ELA-121) which included equity, criminal, and bankruptcy and admiralty appellate proceedings .

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Final Record Books, 1837 - 1915 4664801 021-ELA-137
Index to Judgment Records, 1881 - 1884 4665432 021-ELA-138
Judgment Records, 11/1881 - 02/1889 4665940 021-ELA-139
Index to Plaintiffs, 1863 - 1866 4665946 021-ELA-140

Criminal Records

Criminal cases for 1806-1837 were heard in the district court and are described in the series, Case Files, 1806-1932 (21-ELA-21). Beginning in 1837 and continuing until 1873, criminal cases can be located in the series, Case Files, 1837-1911 (21-ELA-121). After February 1873, the criminal cases were maintained in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1873-1911 (21-ELA-144) in the criminal records of the circuit court. Criminal cases from the district court for 1881-1884 are in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1881-1884 (21-ELA-78)and criminal cases for 1912-1952 are described in the series, Criminal Case Files, 1912-1986 (21-ELA-80). When the circuit court was abolished in January 1912, the active criminal cases were transferred to the district court, which maintained the numerical filing system begun originally in the circuit court.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Instructions to the Grand Jury, 1854 - 1859 4665950 021-ELA-141
Recognizance Bonds, 01/1879 - 02/1910 4665990 021-ELA-142
Dockets, 1873 - 1910 4665995 021-ELA-143
Case Files, 1873 - 1911 251434 021-ELA-144

Naturalization Records

Records of the U.S. Commissioner

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Records Relating to Conspiracy Charges against the Governor of Louisiana, 1872 - 1872 4696091 021-ELA-156

Records Relating to Amnesty

On December 8, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Presidential Proclamation (no. 11), which granted a pardon to those who had participated in the Rebellion and which restored the right of property except that of slaves or to property in which a third party had intervened.  The pardon required the taking of an oath of allegiance to the U. S. government.  The proclamation listed excepted classes who could not be pardoned including individuals who had served as civil or diplomatic officers or as agents of the Confederate government, those who left United States judicial positions to aid the Rebellion, individuals who had served in the Confederate military above the rank of colonel or in the navy above the rank of lieutenant, and persons who had unlawfully treated U.S. servicemen while they were prisoners of war.

The Presidential Proclamation (no. 37), issued by Andrew Johnson on May 29, 1865, further expanded the list of excepted classes who could not be pardoned except by special applications to the President.  Beside the classes identified in the Presidential Proclamation of December 8, 1863, the excepted classes listed in the proclamation of May 29, 1865, included persons who resigned from the U. S. military service in order to evade their duty in resisting the Rebellion, absentees from the U.S. who were aiding the Rebellion, Confederate military or naval officers who were educated at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or at the U.S. Naval Academy, governors of the states in rebellion, persons who participated in the destruction of United States commerce on the high seas or who had initiated raid into the United States from Canada, and individuals who had voluntarily participated in the Rebellion whose taxable property had a value over $20,000.  Like the earlier proclamation in 1863, this proclamation required the taking of an oath before the restoration of property rights.  Additional amnesty oaths issued under the authority of the Presidential Proclamation of December 8, 1863 can be found among the amnesty records of the district court in the series Amnesty Oaths, 1863-1865 (21-ELA-101).

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Amnesty Oaths, 1864 - 1868 4696093 021-ELA-157
Oaths of Non-Exempted Individuals, 1865 - 1868 4696094 021-ELA-158

Records Relating to the Appointment of Court Officials

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
List of U.S. Commissioners Appointed, 1870 - 1870 4696754 021-ELA-160
Index of U.S. Commissioners and Masters in Equity, 1872 - 1881 4696756 021-ELA-161
Oaths, Commissions, and Bonds, 1839 - 1910 4696759 021-ELA-162

Records Relating to Juries

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Index to Grand and Petit Jurors, 1869 - 1879 4696762 021-ELA-163
Lists of Prospective and Selected Jurors, 1866 - 1900 4696764 021-ELA-164
Records of Summonses to Jurors, 1875 - 1900 4696765 021-ELA-165

Records Relating to the Supervision of Elections

An act of Congress, approved May 31, 1870 provided for the enforcement of the rights of citizens to vote in several states.  The Congressional act, which was directed at correcting the voting irregularities in southern states, provided for the concurrent jurisdiction of U.S. district and circuit courts in civil and criminal cases arising from the enforcement of the act.  Court supervision of elections in the southern states was further extended by an act of Congress, approved June 10, 1872 which provided for federal supervision of the registration of voters or of the election if ten citizens of the county or parish petitioned to the judge of the U.S. circuit court for supervision.  The circuit court judge then appointed U.S. supervisors of elections from lists of individuals submitted by the different political parties.  Special U.S. deputy marshals were also appointed for the supervision of elections and the protection of the election officials.

For the Eastern District, the U.S. Commissioner was ap­pointed the Chief U.S. Supervisor of elections.  The Chief Supervisor received the lists of names submitted by the political parties and committees and recommended which individuals should be appointed by the circuit court judge as U.S. supervisors of elections in each precinct of the parishes.

 

Records of the Confederate District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Article 3 of the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States of America provided for the creation of a supreme court, district courts, and inferior courts.  The Judiciary Act of March 16, 1861, which established the system of district courts, required the district court judges to hold at least two terms annually in each of the U. S. Judicial districts that had existed on November 1, 1860.

The Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States provided for the district courts to have jurisdiction in all cases arising under the Constitution, the laws of the Confederate States, and treaties; to cases affecting counsels or ambassadors, in admiralty and maritime proceedings; to cases in which the Confederate States shall be a party, to controversies between two or more States, between a State and the citizens of another State, where the State is the plaintiff, between citizens claiming land under grants of different States, and in cases between a State or its citizens and a foreign country or its citizens.  The district courts also had exclusive jurisdiction in all crimes and offenses cognizable under Con­federate law (sec. 35).  The Confederate states adopted U.S. criminal law and mode of procedure.

When Louisiana seceded in January 1861, the federal judges of the U.S. Eastern and Western Districts in Louisiana resigned.  The former U.S. judicial districts became divisions under the Confederate judiciary system.  Confederate District Court Judge Edwin Moise presided over the court in the Eastern Division at New Orleans, from May 1861 until March 1862 when New Orleans was captured by federal troops.  It is likely that the Confederate district court in the Western Division continued to hold sessions.

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Docket, 1861 - 1862 4696800 021-ELA-178
Case Files, 1861 - 1862 4696824 021-ELA-179

Sequestration Records

The principal business of Confederate district courts was the sequestration of alien-enemy property under acts of August 30, 1861 and February 15, 1862.  Much of the property in the South was owned by northern merchants who held credits against the properties of southern landowners.

After the war, the original owners of lands and buildings sequestered recovered their property under the authority of a U. S. Congressional act of July 17, 1862, which rendered all conveyances of real estate by the Confederate Government null and void.

Receivers appointed by district judges were responsible for taking possession of alien-enemy property and selling it at auction.  The sequestration receivers appointed by the district judge for New Orleans were John M. Huger and George W. Ward.  If a receiver were unable to obtain possession of the property by other means, he petitioned the district court to sequester it.  A clerk of the court, at the request of a receiver, issued writs of garnishment ordering persons to appear in court to explain what property or funds of alien enemies they had in their control or what sums they owed alien enemies.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Receiver's Docket, 1861 - 1862 4696827 021-ELA-180

 

Records of the Provisional Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

By May 1862, New Orleans came under the occupation of U. S. military troops. On October 20, 1862, President Lincoln issued an executive order establishing a U. S. provisional court in New Orleans. The court was given the powers of U. S. district and circuit courts in law, equity, and admiralty matters. The provisional court was a court of final jurisdiction whose powers were not to extend beyond the military occupation of New Orleans or after the restoration of civil authority in Louisiana. Although the U. S. provisional court began meeting in December 1862, causes were not filed with the court until January 1863. Upon the reestablishment of the U. S. district and circuit courts for the Eastern District in June 1863, the jurisdiction of the provisional court became limited to causes usually found in state and local courts. The series Index to Case Files, 1806-1191 (21-ELA-21A) serves as an index to these cases.

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 01/1863 - 07/1865 4696834 021-ELA-183
General Docket, 1863 - 1865 4696836 021-ELA-184
Case Files, 1863 - 1865 4696840 021-ELA-185
Final Records, 1863 - 1865 4696845 021-ELA-186
Law Docket Relating to Condemnation, 1863 - 1863 4696846 021-ELA-187
Law Case Files Relating to Condemnation, 1863 - 1863 4696858 021-ELA-188

 

Western District of Louisiana

Most of Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Opelousas case files were interfiled in the case files of the Western District’s headquarters, Shreveport.

District Court Records for the Western District of Louisiana

Alexandria Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1982 4696859 021-WLA-01

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Minutes, 1889 - 1889 4700585 021-WLA-01A
Criminal Docket, 1886 - 1886 4700590 021-WLA-02

Naturalization Records

 

Lafayette Division

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1905 - 1982 4700595 021-WLA-06B

 

Lake Charles Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1905 - 1982 4700602 021-WLA-07

Naturalization Records

 

Monroe Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1881 - 1982 4701069 021-WLA-08
Docket, 1894 - 1896 4701107 021-WLA-09

Admiralty Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Dockets, 1881 - 1905 4701108 021-WLA-10
Admiralty Case Files, 1886 - 1908 4701114 021-WLA-10A
Civil, Law, and Equity Dockets, 1931 - 1942 4701120 021-WLA-11

Naturalization Records

Records of the U.S. Commissioners

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Records of Proceedings, 1915 - 1922 4701125 021-WLA-11F

 

Opelousas Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1823 - 1982 4701129 021-WLA-12
General Case Files, 1832 - 1836 4701139 021-WLA-13

Equity Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Equity Order Book, 1897 - 1897 4705564 021-WLA-16

Law Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Records of Judgments in Law Proceedings, 1889 - 1890 4705558 021-WLA-17

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Minutes, 1882 - 1889 4705559 021-WLA-18
Criminal Docket, 1882 - 1897 4705560 021-WLA-19
Records of Judgments in Criminal Proceedings, 1882 - 1882 4705563 021-WLA-20
Criminal Case Files, 1882 - 1882 4705566 021-WLA-21

Naturalization Records

Other Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Bonds, 1823 - 1844 4705569 021-WLA-22

Shreveport Division

General Records

Admiralty Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Dockets, 1893 - 1953 4706525 021-WLA-27
Admiralty Case Files, 1882 - 1953 4706526 021-WLA-28
Record of Judgments in Admiralty Cases, 1882 - 1896 4706528 021-WLA-29

Civil Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Civil Order Books, 1938 - 1954 4706530 021-WLA-32
Civil Dockets, 1938 - 1974 594968 021-WLA-33
Civil Case Files, 1938 - 1976 594969 021-WLA-34
Selected Non-Trial Civil Case Files, 1970 - 1991 6317607 021-WLA-34A

Law and Equity Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Equity Orders, 1918 - 1938 4706531 021-WLA-35
Equity Dockets, 1918 - 1938 595020 021-WLA-36
Equity Case Files, 1918 - 1938 595021 021-WLA-37
Equity Final Order Books, 1912 - 1938 4706532 021-WLA-38
Law Dockets, 1920 - 1938 4706535 021-WLA-39
Law Case Files, 1881 - 1938 598229 021-WLA-40
Law and Equity Final Record Books, 1909 - 1921 4706537 021-WLA-41

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Dockets, 1912 - 1974 4706538 021-WLA-42
Transcripts of Indictments, 1912 - 1919 4706539 021-WLA-43
Criminal Case Files, 1882 - 1977 595022 021-WLA-44
Judgments Records, 1912 - 1919 4706540 021-WLA-45

Naturalization Records

Other Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Case Files from the U.S. Commerce Court, 1914 - 1914 4706571 021-WLA-49
Memorials, 1912 - 1916 4706577 021-WLA-50
Lists and Forms Relating to Alien Registration, 1918 - 1918 4706580 021-WLA-51A
Records Relating to Buildings, 1910 - 1913 4706584 021-WLA-52

Records of the U.S. Commissioner

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Records of Proceedings, 1901 - 1943 4706587 021-WLA-55
Records of Commissioner's Transcripts, 1919 - 1953 4706590 021-WLA-57

 

Circuit Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Alexandria Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1911 4706593 021-WLA-58

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Minutes, 1883 - 1904 4706718 021-WLA-59
Judgment Records, 1889 - 1890 4706719 021-WLA-60

 

Lake Charles Division

General Division

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1905 - 1911 4706722 021-WLA-61

 

Monroe Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1881 - 1911 4706723 021-WLA-62
Dockets, 1888 - 1889 4706725 021-WLA-62A

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1904 4706727 021-WLA-63

 

Opelousas Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1911 4706728 021-WLA-64
Dockets, 1882 - 1901 4706730 021-WLA-65

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Docket, 1881 - 1886 4706731 021-WLA-67

 

Shreveport Division

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1911 4706733 021-WLA-68
Judgment Records, 1881 - 1911 4706735 021-WLA-69

Law and Equity Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Dockets, 1881 - 1911 4706728 021-WLA-70
Order Book, 1883 - 1890 4706740 021-WLA-70A
Final Record, 1881 - 1911 4706742 021-WLA-71

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Minutes, 1882 - 1903 4706744 021-WLA-72
Criminal Dockets, 1882 - 1911 4706747 021-WLA-73
Record of Indictments, 1909 - 1911 4706749 021-WLA-74
Judgment Records, 1900 - 1909 4706751 021-WLA-75

 

Middle District of Louisiana

District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana

Baton Rouge

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Judgment Orders, 08/09/1985 - 12/29/1995 4706597 021-MLA-01

Civil Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Civil Dockets, 1972 - 1992 593615 021-MLA-01C
Civil Case Files, 1972 - 1978 593620 021-MLA-01D
Selected Non-Trial Civil Case Files, 1979 - 1993 6596151 021-MLA-01D1
Sundry Dockets, 1968 - 1978 4706754 021-MLA-01E
Miscellaneous Dockets, 1978 - 1992 4706893 021-MLA-01F

Criminal Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Criminal Dockets, 1972 - 1993 4706894 021-MLA-02
Criminal Case Files, 1972 - 1979 4706895 021-MLA-03

Naturalization Records

Records of United States Commissioners/Magistrates

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Record of Proceedings, 1972 - 1973 4706903 021-MLA-012
Index to Magistrate Cases, ca. 1974 - 1982 4706905 021-MLA-013

 

Appendix A

U.S. District Courts in Louisiana

Western District

Federal Court Creating Date
Alexandria Act of March 3, 1881 (21 Stat. 507)
Lafayette Act of May 19, 1961 (75 Stat. 83)
Lake Charles Act of March 2, 1905 (33 Stat. 841)
Monroe Act of March 3, 1881 (21 Stat. 507)
Opelousas Act of March 3, 1823 (3 Stat. 775)
Shreveport* Act of March 3, 1881 (21 Stat. 507)

Eastern District

Federal Court Creating Date
New Orleans* Act of March 3,1805 (2 Stat. 331)

Middle District

Federal Court Creating Date
Baton Rouge* Act of August 13, 1888 (25 Stat. 438) Transferred to new Middle District by act of December 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 741)

*Headquarters for district

 

Appendix B

List of Judges in Louisiana

United States District Court

Judge Year of Commission
Dominic Hall 1806
John Dick 1821
Thomas B. Robertson 1824
Samuel H. Harper 1829
Philip K. Lawrence 1837
Theodore H. Mc Caleb 1841
Abner Nash Ogden 1841

Western District

Judge Year of Commission
Henry Boyce 1849
Henry Boyce 1850
Aleck Boarman 1851
Benjamin C. Dawkins 1917
Gaston Louis Porterie 1924
Benjamin C. Dawkins, Jr. 1939
Edwin F. Hunter, Jr. 1953
Richard J. Putnam 1961

Eastern District

Judge Year of Commission
Edward H. Durrell 1863
Edward H. Durrell 1864
Edward G. Billings 1876
Charles Parlange 1894
Eugene Saunders 1907
Rufus E. Foster 1909
Charlton R. Beattie 1925
Louis H. Burns 1925
Wayne G. Borah 1928
Adrian J. Caillouet 1940
Herbert W. Christenberry 1947
J. Skelly Wright 1949
E. Gordon West 1961
Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr. 1961
Frank B. Ellis 1962
Frederick J.R. Heebe 1966

Confederate Court

Judge Year of Commission
Edwin Moise 1861

Provisional Court

Judge Year of Commission
Charles A. Peabody 1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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