“Connecticut’s historic records are among the most complete and best kept in the nation,” says certified genealogist Joyce Pendery. Many Connecticut records are microfilmed or published, with most indexes available at the Connecticut State Library. The University of Connecticut digitized the multivolume Public Records of Colonial Connecticut http://www.colonialct.uconn.edu. Like other New England states, Connecticut town clerks began recording vital records by 1650. In addition to the extensive Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records to 1850, over a million tombstone inscriptions up to 1933 are in the Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions at the Connecticut State Library.
Tracking your colonial ancestors is easier due to Connecticut Census of 1670 by Jay Holbrook (Holbrook Research Institute, 1977), a census substitute based on information from tax, land, church, probate, and freeman records that name heads of households from 1667 to 1673. With the exception of the federal census of 1890, a full set of US census records exists for Connecticut.
Look for tax lists and vital, probate, and land records on the town level. Land records contain deeds, attachments, mortgages, tax liens and more. Grantor/grantee indexes, maps, surveys, and zoning records are also with town clerks. While probate indexes and bound volumes with copies of the records are available in probate clerk offices in town halls, more towns exist than probate district offices. You may have to look in a town different from the one where your ancestor lived to find the records you need. Local tax lists exist for many cities and towns. The 1798 US Direct Tax, along with several early 19th century tax rosters, are on microfilm, with the originals at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS).
Congregationalists helped settle Connecticut and established churches in most towns; their records can be quite extensive. Many churches sent records to the Connecticut State Library (CSL), where they’ve been partially indexed.
Find your ancestors in the pages of historical newspapers at both CSL and CHS. Some are indexed. Also available at CHS is a large collection of genealogical manuscripts.
Records of military service are published for the colonial period from the Pequot War. CHS maintains a collection of original and published military documents. A military census for 1917 was intended to count men between 20 and 30 years of age, but many towns included those between 16 and 60. A card index of deceased veterans and their places of burial is at the Connecticut State Library.
Connecticut researchers visiting Hartford can access even more records at CHS and the CSL. Probate, court, cemetery and some church records, as well as state papers, are centrally located at the CSL. The CHS maintains a general genealogical and historical library, loans books to members, and has an outstanding manuscript collection. You’ll also find good documentation for Connecticut American Indians. Start research with resources in these two facilities, and then once you’ve determined the location of records, visit town halls, libraries and historical societies. Some town offices are open limited hours, so call ahead. Proof of membership in a genealogical society registered with the state is required to access birth records since 1900. Connecticut vital records information is available online at http://www.vitalrec.com/ct.html.
- Connecticut 1670 Census by Jay Mack Holbrook (Holbrook Research Institute, 1977)
- Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820-1873 by the US Bureau of Customs (National Archives, 1964)
- Lyme Records, 1667-1730 compiled and edited by Jean Chandler Burr (Pequot Press, 1968)
- Connecticut Place Names by Arthur H. Hughes and Morse S. Allen (Connecticut Historical Society, 1976)
- Connecticut Town Origins by Helen Earle Sellers (Pequot Press, ca. 1964)
- Connecticut Towns and Counties: What was What, Where and When by Michael J. Denis (Danbury House Books, 1985)
- A Gazetteer of the States of Connecticut and Rhode-Island by John Chauncey Pease (Printed and Published by William S. Marsh, 1819)
- A Geographic Dictionary of Connecticut and Rhode Island by Henry Gannett (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978)
- Town and City Atlas of the State of Connecticut by D.H. Hurd and Co. (1893)
- Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer Organizations (Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery) in the Service of the United States, 1861-1865 by the Connecticut Adjutant General’s Office (University Publications of America, 1991)
- Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society by the Connecticut Historical Society (The Society, 1860-1895)
- Connecticut Soldiers of the Pequot War of 1637 by James Shepard (Journal Publishing Co., 1913)
- Connecticut’s Black Soldiers, 1775-1783 by David O. White (Pequot Press, 1973)
- The Military and Civil History of Connecticut During the War of 1861-65 by W.A. Croffut and John M. Morris (Ledyard Bill, 1869)
- Pension Records of the Revolutionary Soldiers from Connecticut by the US Pension Bureau (1919)
- Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion compiled by the authority of the General Assembly under the direction of the Adjutants-General (Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1889)
- Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the I. War of the Revolution, II. War of 1812, III. Mexican War by the Connecticut Adjutant General’s Office and Henry P. Johnston (Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1889)
- Register of Pedigrees and Services of Ancestors (Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, 1941)
- Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files by the US Veterans Administration (National Archives, 1969)
- Roll and Journal of Connecticut Service in Queen Anne’s War, 1710-1711 by Thomas Buckingham (The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1916)
- Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762 (Connecticut Historical Society, 1903-1905)
- Rolls and Lists of Connecticut Men in the Revolution, 1775-1783 (Connecticut Historical Society, 1901)
- A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records compiled by Charles William Manwaring (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995)
- Property and Kinship: Inheritance in Early Connecticut, 1750-1820 by Toby L. Ditz (Princeton University Press, 1986)
- Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663 by the Connecticut Particular Court (Heritage Books, 1987)
- Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800 by Frederic William Bailey (Bureau of American Ancestry, 1896-1906)
- New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (Northeast Document Conversion Center, ca. 1983)