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Vermont History and Research Overview
9/29/2010
Learn about Vermont's history and available records in this research guide that includes a map and bibliography.
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

Geography and climate hindered the development of the second-largest New England state: Vermont had no permanent settlements until 1760. Independent-minded Vermonters fought off land claims from New York State and New Hampshire to form their own republic in 1777. In 1791, Vermont became the 14th state. Montpelier was chosen as the capital in 1805. Vermont was the first state to provide voting rights to all males regardless of race or religion, and to abolish the land-ownership requirement.

By the time of the American Revolution, only 22,000 people lived in the area, mostly emigrants from Connecticut (who traveled up the Connecticut River) and Massachusetts. Harsh living conditions and a depressed economy forced many to migrate to the northern part of the state or west into New York. New immigrants arrived to take their place as French Canadians moved down from Quebec. Scottish immigrants came to work Vermont’s rock quarries and the Irish built its canals, including the 1823 Champlain Canal connecting Lake Champlain to the Hudson River.

Vermont's waterways provided transportation for goods produced at its paper mills, sawmills and tanneries, as well as agricultural and dairy products. Today, Vermonters can be proud of their rock quarries that supply marble throughout the world, their craftsmen who turn wood into furniture, the dairy products that appear on tables throughout the country, and the tourists who ski the state's mountains.

COUNTY MAP
(click to enlarge)
Vermont state map with county outlines

RESEARCH TIPS
  • Genealogical research in Vermont begins with knowing the town where your ancestor lived. Then, begin consulting the cemetery records and published histories of that town.
  • Visit the Vermont Historical Society Library http://vermonthistory.org for a large collection of state-wide resources such as vital records, census records, and family histories, as well as manuscripts and photographs documenting the history of the state.
  • Search for ancestors who left the state for greener pastures -- the freezing winters and rough farming environment chased many early settlers away.
CENSUS RECORDS
  • Federal census: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Federal mortality schedules: 1880
  • Special census of Civil War Union veterans and widows: 1890
GENERAL RESOURCES
  • Basic Sources for Vermont Historical Research (Office of the Secretary of State, ca. 1981)
  • A Calendar of Manuscripts in Certain Boxes At the Vermont Historical Society by Loriman S. Brigham (Loriman S. Brigham, 1970)
  • Collecting Vermont Ancestors by Alice Eichholz (New Trails, 1986)
  • The Congregational Churches of Vermont and Their Ministry by John Moore Comstock (Caledonian Co., 1915)
  • Cutter Index: A Consolidated Index of Cutter’s Nine Genealogy Series by Norma Olin Ireland and Winfred Irving (Ireland Indexing Service, ca. 1970)
  • A Directory of Churches And Religious Organizations in the State of Vermont from the Historical Records Survey (Historical Records Survey, 1939)
  • Encyclopedia, Vermont Biography by Prentiss Cutler Dodge (Ullery Publishing Co., 1912)
  • English Origins of New England Families: From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 3 vols., from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (The Society, 1984)
  • Final Report and Inventory of the Vermont Historical Records Survey, W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration, 1942)
  • A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May 1692, 4 vols., by James Savage (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981)
  • Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont, 2 vols., by Hiram Carleton (Lewis Publishing Co., 1903)
  • Genealogical Research in New England edited by Ralph J. Crandall (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984)
  • Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, 3rd edition (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1993)
  • The Greenlaw Index of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2 vols., by William Prescott Greenlaw (G.K. Hall, 1979)
  • Guide to the "Miscellaneous File" of Uncatalogued Material in the Vermont Historical Society by Loriman S. Brigham (Loriman S. Brigham, 1969)
  • A Guide to Newspaper Indexes in New England (New England Library Association, 1978)
  • A Guide to Vermont's Repositories (Vermont State Archives, 1986)
  • History of the Baptists in Vermont by Henry Crocker (P.H. Gobie Press, 1913)
  • History of Vermont by Zadock Thompson (Thompson, 1853)
  • The History of Vermont, from its Discovery to its Administration into the Union in 1791 by Hiland Hall (J. Munsell, 1868)
  • Index to the Burlington Free Press, 6 vols., (Historical Records Survey, 1941)
  • Inventory of the Church Archives of Vermont, No. 1 Diocese of Vermont, Protestant Episcopal from the Historical Records Survey (Historical Records Survey, 1940)
  • Men of Vermont by Jacob G. Ullery (Transcript Publishing Co., 1894)
  • New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, 4 vols., by William Richard Cutter (Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1914)
  • New England Family Histories and Genealogies: States of New Hampshire and Vermont by Lu Verne V. Hall (Heritage Books, 2000)
  • Vermont: A Bibliography of Its History edited by T.D. Seymour Bassett (G.K. Hall & Co., 1981)
  • Vermont’s First Settlers by Jay Mack Holbrook (Holbrook Research Institute, 1976)
  • Vermont Historical Gazetteer: A Magazine Embracing a History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military, 6 vols., edited by Abby Maria Hemenway (A.M. Hemenway, 1868-1891)
  • Vermont Newspaper Abstract: Vermont Gazette, The Vermont Gazette: Epitome of the World, The World, the Green-Mountain Farmer by Marsh Hoffman Rising (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001)
  • Vermont Research Outline by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (online at http://familysearch.org/eng/search/RG/guide/vermont.asp)
  • Vermonters by Dorman B.E. Kent (Vermont Historical Society, 1937)



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Also available: the State Research Guide Book, State Research Guides CD and The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy.
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