Research

Chancellor's enrolled decrees after 1800

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists of records pertaining to original cases decided by the Chancellor. Records include the abstract: the original bill of complaint or petition; the answer or pleading of the defendant; amendments to the original bill or to the answer; orders issued in the case; and a bill of costs or fees assessed by the court. Other investigative records may include Masters' or other reports, depositions, affidavits of witnesses, transcripts of testimony, evidence submitted and other documents.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
120 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
1801-1847
Series Number:
J0063

Arrangement

Alphabetical by first letter of the last name of the complainant and thereunder by a consecutive file number, starting with "1" for each letter; the file numbers for each letter coincide with a chronological order by date of filing. The arrangement of documents for each case is as follows: final decree; bill of complaint or petition; defendant's response (i.e., an answer, a pleading, or a demurrer); amendments to the original bill or to the defendant's response; procedural documents (such as common orders, notices of hearing) and testimony and evidence in the case (such as, transcripts of testimony, depositions, Master's reports, exhibits); and the bill of costs, or fees assessed by the court.

Scope and Content Note

The records in this series pertain to original cases decided by the Chancellor. Chapter 133 of the Laws of 1801 required that decrees, or final decisions in Chancery cases, be "enrolled" by attaching to an engrossed copy of the decree signed by the Chancellor, all other papers relevant to the case.

This procedure replaced the longstanding form of enrollment, in which a "recital"--a summary of the content of pleadings, orders, and proceedings in a case--was transcribed on parchment along with the final decree and signed by the Chancellor. The parchment decree and each type of document in the case were then filed separately. As a result of the 1801 law, virtually all documents in a case were filed together, and in that respect an "enrolled decree" after 1800 resembles a modern court case file.

After 1800, decrees were not engrossed on parchment and did not contain recitals. In lieu of recitals, however, court officials included on the document containing the signed decree a summary of the proceedings in a case. This practice was institutionalized by a law of 1830 (Chapter 320) requiring that a short abstract of the particulars of a case be filed with each enrollment. These abstracts appear on standard printed forms in all post-1830 files. In addition to the signed decree, and after 1830, the abstract, all enrollments contained the following documents: the original bill of complaint or petition that originated a case; the answer or pleading of the defendant; any subsequent amendments to the original bill or to the answer; any orders issued in the case; and a bill of costs, or fees assessed by the court. Depending on the proceedings and complexity of a case, other documents were also included with the enrollment, such as Masters' or other reports, depositions and affidavits of witnesses, transcripts of testimony, evidence submitted (e.g., wills, deeds, maps, or accounts), and any other document produced during a case. These ancillary documents, which are usually investigative rather than procedural in nature, frequently contain detailed information about personal lives, business relationships, and financial affairs of parties involved in a case.

For example, testimony in a divorce case often reveals information about the relationship between husband and wife and about extra-marital relationships. The depositions and accounts filed in a dispute between business partners provide detailed information about business transactions and associations.

Portions of this series can be found on the microfilm for series J0064, Index of enrolled chancery decrees after 1800. Contents include the nine following oversized maps: A-25 Arthur v. Arthur; B-56 Bogart v. Bogart; G-145 Gansevoort v. Sanford; M-68 McVickor v. Meridith; T-65 Tibbits v. Tibbits; T-70 Ten Eyck v. Lansing; T-205 Townsend v. McBride; V-134 Van Rensselaer v. Aiken; V-167 Van Rensselaer v. Bleecker.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Alternate Formats Available

Microform is available at the New York State Archives through interlibrary loan.

Related Information

Related Materials

This series is partially indexed by Series J0088, Index of post-1800 enrolled decrees.

Other finding aids

Series J0064, Index to Chancellor's Enrolled Decrees After 1800, lists the file numbers and the names of complainants and defendants in the same order as the decrees are filed.

Access Terms

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