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Southern District of New York Admiralty Prize Case Files-War of 1812

NARA Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 1814-
Scope and Content: Prize law is that part of international law which concerns the capture of enemy property by a belligerent at sea during war. In the United States the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the Supreme Court's decision in the case of "Glass v. The Sloop Betsey," (3 Dall. 6) in 1794 conferred all the powers of a court of admiralty "both instance and prize" on the district courts of the United States. The prize jurisdiction was expressly sanctioned by Congress in the Prize Act of June 26, 1812 (2 Stat. 759), which regulated the issue of commissions and letters of marque to private armed vessels of the United States and provided for the adjudication of prizes in the Federal district courts.

This series consists of libels for the condemnation of enemy property seized as a prize during the War of 1812, answers, motions, interrogatories, depositions, claims of owners and other interested parties regarding such property, statements of charges against prize vessels and cargo, interlocutory and other orders of the court, sentences of condemnation, accounts of sales of prize property, decrees, opinions of the court, legal notices in newspaper advertising by the court, and related papers filed in the district court in prize cases. In addition, case files may contain papers confiscated from the seized vessel, including crew lists, manifests and personal papers.

Records in this series have been digitized and made available online by, for a fee. The digitized records on are available free of charge in all NARA Research Rooms, including those in our regional archives and Presidential Libraries.

To find out what information may be available, and how to obtain it, contact:
National Archives at New York
One Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-401-1620
Fax: 212-401-1638

Records Search: Admiralty Case Files War of 1812

This database contains an index to Federal cases involving property seized during the War of 1812.
Below you can search for a person's name, ship name, date, type of document, or description.

NOTE: Words to Search for can be surnames, ship names, or any other words. Individual words can be partial words ending with an * (asterisk) as a wildcard.  It will NOT work if the asterisk begins a word, only if it's at the end of one. A phrase can be something like "Claim against property" or "Affidavit of".


It is important to note that both short words and "common" words (known also as "stop words") may be ignored even if they are included in MUST appear, Exclude, or in a Phrase.

Words to Search for: Words that should be found but are not given the highest importance.

Words that MUST appear: Words to be given heavier weight aka more importance in your search.

Words to EXCLUDE that Should NOT appear: Words you wish NOT to be included in search results.

Phrases: Up to 3 Exact Match Phrases you want included in your search results.

The German Genealogy Group wishes to thank Stu Stahl, who transcribed the records from the original Register!


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