Transcribe NOLA Jazz Museum Colonial Records

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The Louisiana Historical Center at the New Orleans Jazz Museum has digitized its collection of eighteenth-century French and Spanish colonial judicial records. You can view and consult this digital collection online at LAColonialDocs.org. You can also view and consult the original documents in the Louisiana Historical Center at the New Orleans Jazz Museum Reading Room.

The colonial records at the Jazz Museum are an extraordinary source of information about the people who lived in eighteenth-century New Orleans and the lower Mississippi Valley and about the institutions that shaped their lives. They were created when French and Spanish notaries recorded disputes about property and enslaved people. They give us details about enslavement, self-liberation and rebellion, kinship connections, pirate raids, colonial medicine, gambling parties, disputed inheritances, marital strife, and much more.

Open-access transcriptions of these documents make important steps toward taking care of the words that are increasingly visible in these digital records and toward connecting them to a wider community. Learn more about the transcribathon project and about how you can get involved by visiting the project blog at nolajazztranscribathon.wordpress.com.

The records that appear on this page are taken from a list of interesting records compiled by digitization experts during the 2010-2016 digitization project. Transcribathon co-coordinators worked together to feature all the documents from this list that had under twenty total transcribable/translatable images on this project site. Judicial Records of the French Superior Council (1714-1769) and the Spanish Judiciary (1769-1803) appear courtesy of the Louisiana Historical Center.

1739 chase by pirates (FRENCH)

1739 chase by pirates (FRENCH)

The WPA abstract included with this record tells us that on December 14, 1739, the crew of the SS. Conte de Maurepas described their encounter with pirates to the notary of the French Superior Council. You can help us know more about this record by transcribing and translating parts of it...

5 pages: 20% translated
1743 order regulating the practice of medicine (FRENCH)

1743 order regulating the practice of medicine (FRENCH)

This record from January 19, 1743 includes an order that prohibits anyone from practicing medicine, surgery, or mid wifery with having been examined and approved by the King’s Physicians and Surgeons and without having been vested with certificates. According to the WPA abstract included here,...

7 pages: 71% translated, 14% needs review
1747 action to prevent inheritance by "illegitimate son" (FRENCH)

1747 action to prevent inheritance by "illegitimate son" (FRENCH)

This record is dated October 7, 1747. According to the WPA abstract included here, it describes an action to prevent "an illegitimate son" from inheriting property "to the detriment of other heirs." What is the name of this person who is called "an illegitimate son" by a WPA worker? What are the...

5 pages: 20% translated, 20% needs review
1748 complaint of Mr. La Croix because his wife left him and refuses to return (FRENCH)

1748 complaint of Mr. La Croix because his wife left him and refuses to return (FRENCH)

This record is dated April 30, 1748. The WPA abstract included here tells us that it is an incomplete twelve-page manuscript "evidently left by Mr. La Croix, relating to Council all of his marital difficulties and his wife's departure from home and refusal to return." What did Mr. La Croix tell...

13 pages: 0% translated, 15% needs review
1763 order to expel Jesuits from Louisiana (FRENCH)

1763 order to expel Jesuits from Louisiana (FRENCH)

This document was created on July 9, 1763. The WPA abstract included with this record tells us that these pages attempt to enact the "EXPLUSION OF JESUITS FROM LOUISIANA PETITION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL." The unidentified WPA worker who wrote this abstract includes a note to observe that "while the...

5 pages: 0% translated, 40% needs review
1767 depositions against alleged criminal baker (FRENCH)

1767 depositions against alleged criminal baker (FRENCH)

November 9, 1767. depositions again Jacques Toussains Baude, who was accused in 1765 of "putting a man, who was consumed, into a bakery oven where he was employed, and later stabbing to death a man in [the] street in Havana, also charged with shooting to death a Grenadier in a Marseille brothel"...

9 pages: 22% translated
1777 petition by Carlota Castan to administer her own estate (SPANISH)

1777 petition by Carlota Castan to administer her own estate (SPANISH)

The WPA abstract included with this record, dated July, 28, 1777, tells us that it describes the case of Charlote (Carlota) Castan against her husband, Guillermo Wabster (Webster) "to prevent him from spending all of her money on drink" or "to administer her own estate against drunken husband."...

15 pages: 20% translated, 13% needs review
1782 petition of Margarita for the freedom of her daughter Naneta (SPANISH)

1782 petition of Margarita for the freedom of her daughter Naneta (SPANISH)

The WPA abstract included here tells us these records records describe efforts of Margarita, a free black woman (she is called “a free negress” in the 1930s abstract and a “negra libra” in the 1782 record), to petition to obtain the freedom of Naneta, her enslaved daughter. How to imagine this...

33 pages: 36% translated, 15% needs review
1785 Agata Juana Francisca and Maria Adelayda Lemelle petition to administer their own property (SPANISH)

1785 Agata Juana Francisca and Maria Adelayda Lemelle petition to administer their own property (SPANISH)

The WPA abstract included with this record, dated July 29, 1785, describes it as "proceedings instituted by Agata Juana Francisca and Maria Adelayda Lemelle, (free mulattoes ((sic)), to be placed in administration of their inherited property." The abstract also indicates that the petitioners...

27 pages: 44% translated, 4% needs review
1790 petition by Turner Williams to enter Louisiana in search of Roza, Nelly, Hercules, Jean, John, Cesar, Eddy, Sarah, Roger, Judee, Betty, and Venus (SPANISH)

1790 petition by Turner Williams to enter Louisiana in search of Roza, Nelly, Hercules, Jean, John, Cesar, Eddy, Sarah, Roger, Judee, Betty, and Venus (SPANISH)

The WPA abstract included with this record explains that it is a petition by Turner Williams, who represented Samuel Scott of Georgia and Edouardo Keating of South Carolina and came to New Orleans to search for Roza, Nelly, Hercules, Jean, John, Cesar, Eddy, Sarah, Roger, Judee, Betty, and Venus....

25 pages: 12% translated, 36% needs review
Records 1 – 10 of 13

Incomplete Works