G U I D E    T O    G E N E A L O G I C A L    M A T E R I A L S     
in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division & City Archives     

          Records of   C O R R E C T I O N A L   I N S T I T U T I O N S

Guide to Genealogical Materials Home
Selected Books
Louisiana Library Connection Databases
Note on Vital Records
Birth Records
Death Records
Burial Records
Marriage Records
Civil Records (Parishes other than Orleans)
Census Records
Orleans Parish Civil Court Records
Slavery, Free People of Color & Freedmen
Immigration Records
Naturalization Records
Hospital & Insanity Records
Church Records
Military Records
Land Records
Voter Registration Records
Employment Records
New Orleans Police Department Records
Records of Correctional Institutions
Additional Sources
Appendix A: Ordering By Mail
Appendix B: Genealogical Periodicals
Appendix C: Soundex/Miracode System
Appendix D: Orleans Parish Civil Courts

The Archives holds records for several of New Orleans’ correctional institutions from the antebellum period. Genealogy researchers should be aware that not everyone incarcerated in these jails, prisons, and other facilities was a criminal; vagrants, troubled children, slaves being rented out to the city all spent time in the custody of municipal wardens and other correctional officers.

New Orleans (La.) Police Jail. Records, 1820-1851.     Finding Aid
The Police Jail was the facility designated for the incarceration of slaves who were accused of criminal acts (including runaways), who were being "hired out" to the city for the public works, who were being held at the request of their masters "for safe keeping," etc. Various Records of the Police Jail [filed under call numbers mf TX205, TX420, TX430] for the period 1820- 1851 exist in the Archives. While not of direct genealogical use, some of the records do link the given names of individual slaves to the surnames of their masters. The documents also place individual slaves in the city at specified time periods; this could be especially useful in tracing the movements of persons who "ran away" from rural locations.

New Orleans (La.) Workhouse of the First Municipality. Record of Vagrants Entering the Workhouse, 1842- 1852.     Finding Aid
White offenders were incarcerated in workhouses, where they were put to useful employment while paying their "debt to society." The volume records the names and birthplaces of the facility's inmates. mf TXA420

New Orleans (La.) Workhouse of the Third Municipality. Register of Persons Committed to the Third Municipality Workhouse, 1844-1851.     Finding Aid
This volume records for each individual prisoner his number; name; age; height; complexion; color of hair and eyes; marks; place of birth; whether or not naturalized, educated, or married; habits; and occupation (also included in the volume are statements of the sick persons admitted to the hospital in 1847; and a record, by name, of the persons dying in the hospital during the same year). [Filed under call number mf TXA420]

New Orleans (La.) Workhouse. Record of the Medical Care Administered to the Inmates, 1854-1856.     Finding Aid
Records treatments administered to inmates in both the male and female departments of the institution. The names of the prisoners and the remedy prescribed are noted, and in some cases the illness being treated is also indicated. The records are very brief and written in pencil. [Filed under call number mf TXA420 1842-1852 1st Mun.]

New Orleans (La.) House of Refuge. Minutes, 1856-1870.     Finding Aid
Records of facility for juvenile offenders. In addition to the proceedings of Board meetings, the 2 volumes of minutes also contain copies of various committee reports, financial reports, and narrative reports of the superintendent. These latter reports include the names of those being admitted and discharged, the medical condition of the inmates, the names of individuals to whom inmates were indentured, details of the work performed by the inmates, etc. mf TT300

New Orleans (La.) House of Refuge. Record of Releases from the Boys' House of Refuge, 1866-1867.     Finding Aid
This brief, four-page volume records indentures as well as releases. Individual entries show name of inmate, date of release/indenture, name of party authorizing release, and the name and address of the person to whom the inmate was released or indentured. [Filed under call number mf TH240 1913- 1924]