LAMP is providing funding for the digitization of the records of the Arecibo appellate court district or Puerto Rico from 1844 to 1900. Approximately 5,000 very fragile, double-sided handwritten documents—held by the University of Connecticut—that cover civil disputes over land, slaves, and livestock will be digitized and made available to the public. Genealogists, historians, legal researchers, and social scientists interested in learning more about the fabric of life in Puerto Rico during this time will find a wealth of information in these original court documents.
As Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule for the period covered by most of the documents in the collection, civil courts fell under territorial jurisdiction, and were divided into judicial districts that reflected major municipal areas. The collection includes court cases from the towns of Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Manati, Morovis, Quebradillas, and Utuado.
Digitization of the collection has begun, and is scheduled to be completed by May 2012.
This project underscores the important leadership role CRL and its community are taking towards digital conversion of documentary evidence, as in the case of the recent Brasil: Nunca Mais digitization effort.