Main Subject and Sub Subject
In a manner similar to a back-of-the-book index, you can select cases based on historical, social, and legal subjects.
Some subjects have sub-entries--when you select a subject, the sub-entries for that subject are available in the sub-entry text box. If there are no sub-entries, the drop-down arrow next to that option will be dimmed. Not selecting a sub-entry when available will result in a broader search that includes all sub-entries.
We have included see and see also references to direct you to the appropriate index term. For example, the entry, Adoption (see Children--Adoption), directs you to scroll to the main entry, Children, and then select the sub-entry, Adoption.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Subject Index Development.
Many people were involved in cases and activities with Lincoln. You can search for cases in which a certain person was involved and specify the role that he or she played.
Enter a name in the text box or select a name from the drop-down list. Move quickly through the list by typing the first characters of the last name, or use the vertical scroll bar.
Note: for best results, select search terms from the choices available from the drop-down lists rather than entering them manually.
Major Role: To search for cases in which someone played a general role, select it from this short list:
Attorney−this option will select all attorney roles (plaintiff attorney, defendant attorney, state's attorney, etc.) except nonlitigation attorneys.
Court official−this option will select all court officials (judge, clerk, sheriff, juror, etc.).
Nonlitigation participant−these roles are specific to legal matters that were handled outside of the courtroom (agent, apprentice, pensioner, etc.)
Party to legal action−these roles are litigants in a suit (plaintiff, defendant, guardian, surety, etc.)
Witness−these roles are for people who provided information to the court (witness at trial, deponent, affiant).
Other−roles that do not fit into any of the above categories are listed here.
Role: To search for cases or activities in which someone played a specific role, select it from the drop-down list.
If you select an entry in Major Role, only those roles that are classified as such will appear in the Role drop-down box. If no Major Role is selected, all roles will appear in the Role drop-down box.
You can search for cases that involve a particular role without naming the person in that role. For example, to find all cases in which an arbitrator appeared, enter arbitrator in the Role text box and leave the Participant text box blank.
To see cases in which Lincoln was an attorney, enter Lincoln, Abraham in the Participant text box and Attorney in the Major Role text box. Your results will include cases in which Lincoln was an attorney of any type: plaintiff attorney, defendant attorney, state's attorney, etc.
To see cases in which Lincoln was specifically a plaintiff attorney, enter Lincoln, Abraham in the Name text box and Plaintiff Attorney in the Role text box. Leave the Major Role text box empty.
You can request cases that began or ended on, before, or after a certain month and year. The beginning date of a case is defined as the court term when it first appeared on a court docket or when a document in the case was first filed with the court. The date of the final judgment of a case by a judge or jury is considered the ending court term date, even if the judgment was not satisfied until later. You can specify whether the date should be on (=), on or before (<=), on or after (>=), before (<), or after (>) a particular date.
To find a list of cases that began in 1850, enter 00 in the Month text box, type in 1850 in the Year text box, and chose the equal sign from the drop-down box. For those cases that began before or after 1850, use the greater-than and less-than signs.
See Date Searching for more information.
The legal activities of Lincoln and his partners are classified as either legal cases or nonlitigation activities. We have identified any activities that involved an action brought before a recognized court of law as litigation and organized it as a case. We organized any part of the practice that occurred outside the court system as a nonlitigation activity. Legal cases comprise the overwhelming majority of the database. For a discussion on the difference between cases and nonlitigation activities, see Cases and Nonlitigation Activities.
Cases were not consistently named, nor did they always retain the same name from one court to another on appeal. We have retained case names as identified in court documents where they were consistently used; otherwise we have applied modern naming conventions. If you are searching for a specific case and you know the name that is used in this edition, you can enter the name in the Case Name text box. Otherwise, you can select it from the list or seek it through a more general search. Case names used in this text box are the name of the case at its court of highest jurisdiction.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Case Names and Level Names.
Jurisdiction, Court Type, and Court Name
The court structure is hierarchical, and you may choose to see cases based on a general grouping or a specific court. Jurisdiction refers to federal, Illinois, or other state courts. Court Type refers to a broad classification of courts−justice of the peace courts, circuit courts, or federal district courts, for example. Court Name refers to a specific court.
These three characteristics are content sensitive−if you enter something in Jurisdiction and view the drop-down box for Court Type, then you will only see court types from the jurisdiction you selected. If you enter something in Court Type and view the drop-down list for Court Name, you will see specific courts of that type only.
To see cases that appeared in a specific court, type in or make a selection from the Court Name drop-down list. Even if a case appeared only briefly in the court specified in the text box−on a change of venue, for example−it will be included in the search results.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Courts, Divisions, Venues, and Levels. See also Court Structure for more information about state and federal courts.
When in session, a court would handle cases of a similar nature together. County circuit courts, for example, typically handled Criminal (People) cases first, Common Law cases next, and Chancery cases last. These three divisions−, , and −were the main divisions in Illinois courts. Strictly appellate courts, like the Illinois Supreme Court, did not use divisions. Federal courts also had additional divisions: and . Select a division from the list, or enter one in the text box.
See Pleading and Practice for a full discussion of these and other divisions.
Cases were filed under specific legal actions, which described the nature of the suit. The action also determined the procedural rules that attorneys had to follow in trying the case. Terminology was not completely standardized, however, and different clerks would call the same actions similar yet different names. For example, one clerk would list the action of a case as slander, another one would write slanderous words spoken, and yet another one would write trespass on the case for slander. Unless you are familiar with the standardized list of actions used in this edition, you should select an action from the list.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Forms of Action. See the introduction to Pleading and Practice for a discussion of common actions by division.
Judgments rendered by a judge or jury could decide the case for the plaintiff or for the defendant or could otherwise end a case by dismissing it. Judgments at the appellate level generally affirmed or reversed the judgment of a lower court. (See Pleading and Practice for more information about the type of judgments made in different court jurisdictions.)
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Judgments and Judgment Dates.
Nonlitigation activities were a part of every lawyer's practice just as court trials were. These activities included giving advice, drafting routine legal documents, keeping office accounts, conducting research, and mentoring. Some activities may have only one document, while others may have many documents. The activities are often the same or similar if Lincoln and/or his partners performed the same type of service more than once.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Nonlitigation Activities.
Similar nonlitigation activities can be viewed as a group by selecting an activity type from this list.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Nonlitigation Activity Types.
If you want to see cases that contain a certain type of document−like jury instructions, a declaration, or a letter−you can enter the document type in the text box or select it from the list.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Document Types.
Begin Date and End Date
Not all documents are dated. Some documents contain a partial date, such as the month and the year but not the day. Document date searching, therefore, is inexact. However, if you wish to see a case that contains a document written on a specific date, enter all or part of a date. You can specify whether the document date should be on (=), on or before (<=), on or after (>=), before (<), or after (>) a particular date.
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Dating Documents.
Wherever possible, we have identified the handwriting on the document. To select a case that contains a document written by Abraham Lincoln, for example, Lincoln’s name would go in the Author/Signer text box, and author would go in the Capacity text box. The possible selections in Capacity are author, signer, endorser, recipient (of a letter), and named only. The named only capacity refers to a person for whom someone else signed the document.
To restrict your search to cases that have documents that Lincoln signed, enter Lincoln, Abraham in the Author/Signer text box, and signer in the Capacity text box, as follows:
For a detailed discussion of editorial conventions that guided the development of this data, see Document Author/Signer.
Every case and nonlitigation activity has a unique ID. Case ID numbers begin with L and nonlitigation activity numbers begin with N. This information is available on screen following a search and in printed reports. To go directly to a case without re-creating a query, enter the case or activity ID in the text box.
Every document has a unique ID, which contains from three to six numbers. This information is available on screen following a search and in printed reports. To go directly to the case that contains the document, enter the Document ID in the text box.
Editors prepared summaries for each case and non-litigation activity in the Edition. Those summaries are text searchable by typing in the Summary Text box. For example, you could find all of the cases in which Springfield is mentioned in the case summary.
Note: this is not a comprehensive search of the database and will yield only cases in which the editors included "Springfield" in the text of the summary.
NOTE: If you select criteria from the General, Document, or Direct categories, but do not make a selection in the Case or Non-Litigation categories, you may get cases and nonlitigation activities in the query results. Whether or not you get results from both depends upon the criteria−selecting a deed as a document type, with no other criteria, will produce search results that include both cases and nonlitigation activities. However, if you enter any criteria from either Case or Nonlitigation, the search results will be limited to either cases or nonlitigation activities. You cannot create a query that includes criteria from BOTH Case and Nonlitigation unless you utilize the OR operator. A query operator of AND with criteria from Case and Nonlitigation cannot produce results because the criteria have nothing in common from which a single query result can be produced.
See Advanced Searching for more details about using search operators.