Researchers and genealogists have online access to the Quarterly Court Records from Essex County from the years 1632-1692. The originals no longer exist, but the information was carefully transcribed over a century ago, and nothing of value was omitted. They are recorded in seventeen volumes and are indexed.
The first session of court in Essex County took place on June 22, 1636. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was divided into shires or counties in 1643. From 1641 to 1692, the court alternated between Salem and Ipswich, meeting four times a year.
Anyone can have access to these amazing records. My historical novel, The Redemption of Mehitabel Braybrooke describes the 1652 charge of Richard Braybrooke’s “fornication charge” and the sizeable testimony from Mehitabel’s court records from her trial for arson in 1668.
The Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Mass.
Vol 1: page 250
Ipswich Quarterly Court – March 30, 1652
Richard Brabroke to be severly whipped for fornication, and the woman Alice Eilss, was freed from her service; and said Brabrooke was to bring up thechild and to provide for her till she be recoverd from her travail; and
after her travail to be whipped when Mr. Symonds and Majr Denison shallappoint.(the spelling in this document was not changed from the original)
(the spelling in this document was not changed from the original)