Colorado Government records cover a broad range of genealogy subject areas that can help you as part of your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalization’s. Given that Colorado court records cover such a wide selection of topics, they could aid you in many different ways. As an example, they could aid you in finding ancestors’ residences, identify occupations, locate financial information, determine citizenship status, or shed light on relationships between individuals. The whole thing relies upon on the type of court records that the ancestors” names show up in. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.
Colorado Courthouse records change extensively from county to county in both level of quality and volume. You will find different kinds of court records that are most likely to possess information related for your genealogical research below.
Colorado Court Records
The Colorado Supreme Court consists of seven members. Under that level is the Court of appeals. Below that are the district courts and, finally, the county courts. The entire judicial system for the state is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Colorado judicial system also has some courts that serve specific purposes, such as municipal courts, probate courts, and juvenile courts. In addition to that, there are seven courts that are dedicated to dealing specifically with water resource conflicts.
The original jurisdiction of divorce, probate, naturalization and equity cases belongs to the district court system. The same goes for criminal and civil cases, juvenile cases, adoptions, paternity suites, and coroner’s inquests. However, the Denver district has separate juvenile and probate courts.
Bonds, preliminary hearings, misdemeanors, traffic cases, and civil cases that involve $15,000 or less are all handled by the county courts. Restraining orders and search warrants are also issued by the county. See Also Research In Court Records.
Colorado Land Records
The Denver Public Library Western History and Genealogy Department has Mexican and Spanish land grant records available. After Colorado became United States-owned, the federal government was responsible for distributing its lands. Most of those lands were distributed as a result of the 1862 Homestead Act.
There were many different land offices in Colorado. They were located in: Akron, Central City, Del Norte, Denver/ Golden City, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison, Hugo, Lamar, Leadville/Fairplay, Montrose, Lake City, Pueblo, Sterling.
There was some flooding in Denver, which caused some of its early land records to be lost, but others are still extant. The most notable flood was the 1864 Cherry Creek flood. The National Archives – Rocky Mountain Region, which is located in Denver, is home to a Register of Homestead Entries and to the Homestead Tract Books. The National Archives in Washington, D.C. is home to the patent case files. However, researchers must know the legal description of the land that they are trying to locate in those records in order to find the proper information.
Each county records land transactions in deed books, after land is granted. Those records may include land plats and mortgages. It is the responsibility of the county recorder’s office or the county clerk to keep track of those records. Note that files and indexes may be kept in separate locations. See Also Guide to U.S. Land Records Research
Colorado Probate Records
The state constitution went into effect in 1876 and along with it came the county court system. To this day, all probate responsibilities in Colorado are handled by the county courts. Some of those records include, but may not be limited to: Indexes to Probate Records, Case Files of Probate Records, Administration of Estates and Wills, Letters of Testamentary and Administration, Appraisal Documents, Inventories, Sales Records, Guardianships.
The Colorado State Archives holds some of those records. Although, most are still held by the individual counties. See Also Guide to U.S. Probate Records Research
Colorado Tax Records
Some of Colorado’s tax records can be found in the county treasurer’s office of each county. Some are found in state archives, historical societies, or libraries. The state of Colorado has authorized certain records to be destroyed and some have simply been lost over time. Some of the tax records from as early as the 1870s are still extant, but not many. Researchers may find it helpful to see if any WPA Historical Records Surveys exist for the county in question. See Also Guide to U.S. Tax Records Research