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 186 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.
Upcoming updates: Indices of personal names and place names will be prepared for the court books with detailed descriptions. The section “Detailed description” will provide the contents of the documents that comprise the books.