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Using SuperSearch to find Primary Sources
SuperSearch can also be used to find primary sources.
Put your search terms in and, on the results page, use the filters to select content types like video, magazine articles, and government documents:
If your research is about a specific time period, scroll down to filter by time, too:
Family Search Catalog
Search for court records, vital records, and more by location, name, or keyword and online access.
Accessible collections include court records from individual colonies. Just search by location and scroll to court records in the results page.
A good list of digitized colonial records, listed by colony. Many of these link to records of colonies that include court records, though court is not in the title.
The Internet Archive has many digitized volumes of court records from early America. Type in the county or other locality you'd like to find into the search bar and see if they have a digitized copy!
For example, the Essex County (Mass.) court records and probate records are all available and text searchable on the Internet Archive. Look at the citations in secondary literature to determine what words you need to use to search, like "quarterly courts" for Essex Co. or "New Amsterdam" for New York.
Caselaw Access Project
Access historical case law from the US going back to 1648. Organized by state/territory, jurisdiction. Find more caselaw on the Internet Archive.
Colonial North America
Colonial North America at Harvard Library provides access to digitized manuscripts and archives documenting a wide range of topics related to 17th- and 18th-century North America. Includes all manner of court records, though coverage is uneven.
Essex County Ma Court Records
The printed court records all conveniently at one link.
American History, 1493-1945
Over 60,000 primary source documents including correspondence, diaries, government documents, business records, books, pamphlets, newspapers, broadsides, photographs, artwork and maps, documenting American history.
Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800
Including more than 36,000 printed works, this database contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America during the 17th and 18th centuries.
American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I, 1760-1900
This database offers full-color, high-resolution facsimile images of approximately 15,000 broadsides printed 1820–1900 and 15,000 pieces of ephemera printed 1760–1900.
Trial Pamphlets,17th-19th Century (Cornell)
"Trial pamphlets are contemporary accounts of trials that involved prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial or lurid topics. These pamphlets were produced quickly and inexpensively, and then sold on the street soon after the trial to a mass audience."
A good list of digitized colonial records, listed by colony.
Early English Books Online
EEBO contains searchable and browsable page images of virtually every work printed in the English-speaking world from 1473 to 1700, as well as some items printed after 1700.
Try searching for books like printed execution sermons or criminal histories like Cotton Mather's Pillars of Salt.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries
Searchable database of 150,000 pages of letters and diaries, drawn from journal articles, pamphlets, newsletters, monographs, and conference proceedings.
America's Historical Imprints
Monographs published in America up to 1819, including books, pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera, covering every conceivable topic.
Covering 1606 to 1822, this collection consists of the original correspondence of the American colonial governments with the British government, and addresses 17th- and 18th-century American history and the early-modern Atlantic world.
Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007
Documents and collections from libraries and archives across the Atlantic world, with close attention given to the varieties of slavery, the legacy of slavery, the social-justice perspective and the continued existence of slavery today.
In the advanced search tool, includes an advanced search for court records.
American Indian Histories and Cultures
Documents relating to American Indian history in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including treaties, speeches and diaries, historic maps and travel journals, and artwork.
Virginia Company Archives
This project presents the more than 3,000 items of the Ferrar Papers, relating to the Virginia Company of London's establishment of colonial settlements in North America during the 17th century.
The Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, Jr.
Revolutionary-era Boston newspapers and pamphlets collected, annotated, and indexed by Harbottle Dorr, Jr., a shopkeeper in Boston.
Advertisements in Colonial American newspapers from 250 years ago.
Eighteenth Century Journals
Bringing together rare journals printed between c.1685 and 1835, this resource illuminates all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life. Topics covered are wide-ranging and include colonial life, provincial and rural affairs, the French and American revolutions, reviews of literature and fashion throughout Europe, political debates, and London coffee house gossip and discussion.