Petty sessions court records

Do  you have a subscription to Findmypast? If not, you should plan a trip to the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) Library where you can research Findmypast on library computers.

One of many Findmypast sources is the Petty Court Sessions Registers (1828-1912 transcriptions). In these records you might uncover fascinating details about your ancestors including “charges of drunk and disorderly, fines for wandering livestock and even for driving a cart at night without lights,” according to genealogist/author Nicola Morris who lists the source as one of 100 ways to research your Irish ancestors.

The Petty Sessions Court was the lowest court in the county and heard cases of minor (petty) crimes.

A blog reader recently shared her exciting find in the Petty Court Sessions Registers. She found her great-grandfather, Charles Cowan (born 1865 in County Cavan) as a witness in an 1879 case. The complainant, John Joseph Weir from the townland of Lacken, accused James M. Kiernan of the townland of Legaginny: “That defendant on 20 July 1879 at Legaginny in said County did assault complainant.”

Our blog reader knew her great-grandfather was just two years away from emigrating when he appeared in the Petty Court as a witness for John Joseph Weir. She also knew Charles Cowan’s grandfather was Thomas Weir of Lacken; John Joseph Weir was therefore likely a relative and the name could be a helpful clue.

For another 10 days or so you can take advantage of IGSI’s extensive Irish collection at the MGS library as well as Findmypast databases. Note the library is closed for the  holidays from December 14-31, 2016.

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