Grand Duchy of Lithuania Court books

The court books of the Grand Duchy of Lithua­nia (GDL) is one of the most in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal col­lec­tions of Vil­nius Uni­ver­sity Li­brary. It con­sists of al­most six hun­dred man­u­script deed books and book frag­ments dated be­tween 1540 and 1845. The doc­u­ment texts were writ­ten in Chancery Slavonic, Pol­ish, Latin and Russ­ian lan­guages in var­i­ous court es­tab­lish­ments of the GDL (XVI to XVIII c.) and the Russ­ian Em­pire (XIX c.). This col­lec­tion, which rep­re­sents wide po­lit­i­cal, ju­ridi­cal, so­cial, and eco­nomic panorama of Lithuan­ian his­tory, the house­hold of the past as well as pub­lic and in­di­vid­ual psy­chol­ogy, can be used in syn­chronic and di­achronic re­search of the GDL. Court books are an im­por­tant source for re­searchers of lan­guage his­tory, his­toric ge­og­ra­phy and ge­neal­ogy.

Be­tween 2012 and 2014, the Lithuan­ian Re­search Coun­cil fi­nanced Vil­nius Uni­ver­sity Li­brary’s pro­ject “The Digi­ti­sa­tion of GDL Court Books of Vil­nius Uni­ver­sity Li­brary and the Cre­ation of Doc­u­ment Data­base”. The pro­ject saw the digi­ti­sa­tion of 205 court books, cre­ation of short de­scrip­tions for digi­tised court books and de­scrip­tion of 2,500 court book doc­u­ments.

In 2020, the GDL Court Book pro­ject was in­te­grated into the new dig­i­tal col­lec­tions web­site.