Introducing Historic Colorado Law, the Plus Edition

I would normally love to tell you about my ancestors and their connection to the state I am posting. But Colorado? It’s complicated.

I am working on a case study. Another disappearing dude. His last known place in the late 1800s? Colorado. I would love to share more on that research problem, but my conclusions are being written and are not ready for consumption. I am checking out Laws Relating to Public Printing and Legal Advertising, State of Colorado (1912), to learn about the publication of legal notices when my disappearing dude’s family was trying to find him. It might explain why I have not found a legal notice, which I expected to see.

There are two great collections of Colorado session laws online. One runs from 1861 to 2020 (they claim to 2015, but there are more years on the site), and the other from 2016 to present. As much as I like these collections, they lack features that genealogists enjoy. I can search for a law but not browse a session law book there.

Genealogists love to look through books, so I made my own collection of Historic Colorado Statutory Law, with session laws, compiled laws, and compilations about legal topics. I found the most amazing things! Did you know that Colorado published early session laws in English and in Spanish? I even found a couple of volumes published in German. Spanish was not a big surprise, but I did not expect the German volumes. Those versions are not in the two major online collections.

I also created a Historic Colorado Case Law Digests page, and a page for the sole edition I found of the Historic “Bench & Bar of Colorado” (1917). If you had a judge or lawyer in Colorado in this time frame, check it out. Many of the biographical sketches include photographs.

Here is the part where I admit to not always paying attention in school. We had oak trees and acorns and squirrels outside of our classroom window. If this came up, I missed it while watching the wildlife. Did you know that there was a Jefferson Territory? If I knew it, I forgot. Jefferson Territory was in parts of several Western states, including Colorado. It only lasted for about a year and a half, and the federal government did not recognize it. But they passed laws in Jefferson Territory. A very sparse page was added for Historic Jefferson Territory Law.1

I added items to the Law: Special Topics page (including Illegitimacy Laws of the United States and Certain Foreign Countries, 1919) and broke the page’s table. If you use that page, I know that it’s messy. The links work. I just need a fresh brain to figure out how to fix it.

My thanks to Linda McCauley for updating my law library map! Blue states are in The Advancing Genealogist’s online law library. No, you can’t click them yet. I have yet to watch a video on how to make the states clickable links to the law pages.

Have fun!

1. “Jefferson Territory,” article, Wikipedia ( : accessed 3 December 2021).
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