(cross-posted on La Porte County Genealogical Society blog)
In Court In La Porte is an every-name index to the first legal proceedings in La Porte County, Indiana, containing more than 800 distinct surnames. Compiled by Harold Henderson, it indexes every personal, business, and place name mentioned in Complete Record Book A (June 1833 to April 1837), Judgment Docket A (June 1833 to June 1838), and Minute Record A (June 1833 to October 1836). A very limited amount of relevant genealogical information is included, such as when an individual stood bail for someone else's payment or performance of a duty.
This book is a finding aid, not a substitute for the records themselves. The original handwritten books (with handwritten indexes of plaintiffs only) are in the office of the La Porte County Clerk and should be consulted for legal and genealogical information. Also in the clerk's office are microfilms of the “loose papers” for certain cases.
The legal proceedings offer glimpses of many aspects of life on the frontier more than 170 years ago: fights, liquor sales, gambling parties, road building, timber cutting, slander, divorce, death, murder, and – above all – debt and the repayment of debt. These proceedings may also provide unique information on the whereabouts of early settlers who do not appear in census or property records. It is hoped that this index will encourage genealogists to make court records a regular part of their research.
In Court In La Porte: An Every-Name Index to the First Legal Proceedings in La Porte County, Indiana (La Porte: compiler via blurb.com, 2011). 246 pages, soft cover, 5x8. $20, Indiana sales tax included; 25% donated to La Porte County Genealogical Society. Shipping & handling $5 if needed. Available from the compiler at email@example.com, or with slightly different pricing through blurb.com.
A professional writer since 1979 and professional genealogist since 2009, Harold Henderson has published genealogical articles in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Utah, and the National Genealogical Society Magazine. He maintains a blog, “Midwestern Microhistory.” He serves on the boards of the La Porte County Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists; moderates the Transitional Genealogists Forum on-line discussion list; and is the Indiana Genealogical Society county genealogist for La Porte.