Jury Lists–a Neglected Genealogy Source for New York Ancestors

From the New Books Shelf at the Family History Library–

Kenneth A. Dunning.  Orange County Jury Lists, Volume 1:  1798-1825.  (Goshen New York:  Orange County Genealogical Society, 2010).

Months of transcribing done in the basement of the 1841 Court House by Kenneth A. Dunning have produced this new and valuable source of genealogical data that has been buried for over 200 years in a storage closet under the basement stairway.  Hundreds of folded up sheets of Jury Lists that the Town Supervisors, Town Clerks, and Town Assessors would put together affirming the competency of individual Freeholders residing in their towns–tucked away and buried in an old cardboard box.

County lists were drawn from the ballot boxes where the names were added or removed each year on the authority of the Town Officials.  These County Lists were used to find jurors to serve on Courts of Common Pleas, General Sessions of the Peace, Circuit Courts of Oyer and Terminer, and General Gaol Delivery.

Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions (Quarter Sessions) were usually alternated between the Goshen Court House and the Academy in the Village of Newburgh.  The new “Sister Court Houses” for the two localities were not built until the early 1840’s.

The names in the database have been sorted alphabetically to make research easier.  You can follow a person from when they were put on the list and when they were removed. (Introduction)

A full 18 pages of juror sources–each list described, each year, for each town–is one of the highlights of this new volume.  Dated and identified.

One of the types of lists, described among the sources: “Persons who are dead or removed on or otherwise disqualified from serving as jurors.”  With the dearth of vital records kept this early in New York, to be able to document within a year the death of an ancestor–WOW!  Or the migration of an ancestor going west to Ohio or Indiana–or east to New Jersey or Rhode Island–WOW!

I invite you to check Volume 1 out and to watch for Volume 2, your favorite New York genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  Orange County New York is already richly endowed with printed records. And this volume adds a new dimension to the mix.  What a find!  And many thanks to Mr. Dunning and the Orange County Genealogical Society for making the data available. 1798-1825 is a critical time in New York–people migrated faster than they could be recorded.

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