|Index to Witnesses in the Dallas County, Texas
District Court Civil Case Papers
|Compiled & Shared by
DGS Member Alan N. Miller
This database is an index to the witnesses whose testimony can be found in the surviving and filmed District Court Civil Case Papers of Dallas County, Texas for cases filed from the inception of the county in 1846 through early 1921. All extant papers were filmed through 1890; thereafter, only those deemed genealogically or historically significant were copied. A few cases filed in late 1921 and even fewer in later years are included, but most of the case papers from 1921 until relatively modern times no longer exist.
Witnesses are of three main types, as follows:
I. Deponents, as the term is used here, are those witnesses who provided sworn answers to written pretrial “interrogatories” or oral questions from the plaintiff or the defendant.
II. Affiants are witnesses who gave pretrial sworn, voluntary, ex parte statements (affidavits) intended for use as evidence in the case.
III. Trial witnesses gave evidence at the trial itself. Their testimony, often verbatim, is found mostly in the “Statement of Facts,” a document usually filed when an appeal was contemplated. It was also required to be filed in suits in which judgment was had on citation by publication (where the defendant’s name or location was not known), but this rule seems to have been enforced only rarely until the early 1900’s.
Affiants and trial witnesses are identified in the “notes” column; others are deponents. A few other types of evidence are included occasionally, such as letters or unsworn statements when deemed significant.
As spelling of names often varied within the records of a case, preference was given to that used by the witness if he/she signed his/her name. For the plaintiff and defendant, the spelling used in the original petition is preferred. The residence of a witness is noted if it is given or implied in the testimony or if it could be reasonably inferred by the place where the testimony took place. The title of a case is that used in the original petition. Film numbers are those assigned by the LDS, who filmed the papers. Films may be viewed on the 7th Floor of the Dallas Public Library, Texas/Dallas Collection. They are also available through LDS Family History Centers and on interlibrary loan through the DPL.