The dockets and extended record books for the Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas for the period 1756 - 1776 are largely missing and many scholars speculate that the British took these volumes at the time of the evacuation of Boston in 1776. The volumes have never been located in Massachusetts, and repeated searches of the Public Record Office in London and the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have failed to turn up the missing volumes. The file papers for the period 1692-1830, however, were "rediscovered" in 1974 in the basement of the Suffolk County Court House, and a project sponsored by a series of NHPRC grants allowed those file papers to be preserved.
In 1981, the Supreme Judicial Court took over and created what has become the Supreme Judicial Court's division of Archives and Records Preservation. That organization compiled this index and abstract of the cases in the 1756-1776 period. Each abstract contains plaintiff and defendant information, the type of action, number of documents in the case, date filed, year and term the case was decided, amount of damages, and the attorney or individual filing the case. If present, additional information concerning the verdict, co-plaintiffs, co-defendants, and others involved in the case is included in a notes section. Unfortunately, no other information is available for these cases, the associated record books having been lost.
The larger collection of Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas file papers of which this index presents a part is stored at the Massachusetts Archives, Columbia Point, Boston. For information concerning use of that collection, contact the Supreme Judicial Court's division of Archives and Records Preservation.
Other court record collections offered through our online databases include Bristol County, Mass. Extracts from Court of General Sessions of the Peace, 1697-1801; Middlesex County, Mass. Abstracts of Court Records, 1643-1674; and Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859.
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