Coles County Legal History Project - Procedures
|Since 1997, student researchers have read legal
records, and have coded and entered the relevant
information into a MS Access 97 database. (The
current form used is pictured to the right.) The
procedures for exporting this MS Access database into
a postgreSQL database [Perl, Structured Query
Language (SQL)] are given below. (Note: understanding
the MS Access program is unnecessary to understand or
use the online database.)
The procedures followed for inputting information include:
- Each case is assigned automatically a
unique case number (the original cases were not numbered
and were boxed with little regard to date). There are
many documents in each case-summons, verdicts, etc.
- The document that best explains the
nature of the case is the Declaration (often titled the
appeal bond). This document usually has a file date,
which is of high importance for the database.
- From the Declaration, we can find
plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) and we have a separate but
linked database for information on each plaintiff or
defendant. (Gender is usually obvious from the party's
name; literacy can be determined whether or not the party
signs his or her name; sometimes occupation is given.)
- To be entered in court, each case must be
of a certain legal type, which is different from the
issue in laymen's terms. Thus, a case type might be the
legal process of "Assumpsit," whereas the issue
might be simply debt.
- Sometimes the location of the case stems
from a change of venue or regards property outside Coles
County. We pay particular attention to that.
- The dollar amount is often mentioned (most
cases are for debt). An outcome is not determinable
unless there is a specific jury verdict. So far,
procedure suggests that many of these cases never came to
- Finally, a large memo box in the database
is used to record case information not in the other
categories. For example, someone representing the estate
of a deceased party is a common fact noted in the memo.
Naming conventions for database:
- CC, Charleston = Charleston, Coles County, Illinois
- CC, Township 11 R 34 E, etc. = the 11th Township in Coles
- CC = Coles County, Illinois
- Paris, IL = Paris, Illinois
- St. Louis, MO = etc.
- In Memo, P(s) = Plaintiff(s), D(s) = Defendant(s)
Conversion from MS Access to SQL Database (note: none of the
following is necessary to understand or use the database and is
included only for current researchers and those seeking to set up
|First step, in tables mode, right click on
export (this is MS Access 2000, which is slightly
different from currently used MS Access 97).
||Second step, save a txt file type.
|Third step, in export wizard is to go to
"Advanced..." (keep delimited field type).
||Fourth step, which I am not sure of, is to
open import/export specifications from "Specs..."
|Fifth step, is to tick "Include Field
Names on First Row." One can now go on to "Finish."
||Finally, do the same for parties (creating
Parties.txt), and send over both to location of database
server using WS_FTP. Create new directory with current
data under db_new and copy Cases.txt and Parties.txt and
sql programs (history.I.sql and history.II.sql) over as
well. It should be ready to run online at this point.
last updated January 31, 2001
Copyright © 2000 by Localités/Localities,
all rights reserved.
This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper
credit is given to
County Legal History Project.