In this article I will conduct a microhistorical analysis of two of the most resounding cases in the second half of the nineteenth century: the Kairova and Kronenberg cases. The trials interested the intellectual élite, including writers such as F. Dostoevskii and M. Saltykov-Shchedrin, because they touched on important topics of that time: family, childcare and women’s roles. The judicial case is a cultural palimpsest and a facilitated microhistorical subject, since it clearly shows the unique and the exceptional in history. The defendants act against the norm, creating an opposition that showcases the limits of the norm and allows for a deeper understanding of the macro context (social norms) in relation to the micro context (breaching of the norm). Through the study of archival, publicistic and literary sources regarding the judicial cases I will discuss the ideas of family, gender and constituted power which was changing in fin-de-siècle Russia.