There’s one running next week!
I’m teaching a two session overview of Connecticut genealogy at Middletown Adult Education October 10th and 17th. We’ll identify the resources you want to use when building your family tree and how to access them. The class will give you plenty of time for hands on practice and questions.
Too far to travel? Please let me know if you might be interested in an online version, and I’ll see if I can make it happen!
Are you looking to demonstrate that your Connecticut ancestor supported the Revolutionary cause for a DAR/SAR application or supplemental?
Be sure to check out the Patriot Record Project Index . Created by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the index searches an online database of Revolutionary War related documents by name. It can allow you to discover, for example, if your ancestor loaned money to the Continental Army.
Click on the document image will bring up an image of the document, while clicking on the question mark next to the document type will tell you more about where the document came from and where to go to order a copy. In the case of the document cited above, the original needs to be pulled from a National Archives microfilm.
Currently, the collection includes records from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. It is scheduled to expand.
If you’re stuck on a service source, this is a great additional place to look.
For years, the only way to access Connecticut land records from a distance has been the FamilySearch microfilm program… and it’s due to end shortly. What’s a genealogist to do?
- Want free access?
- A few Connecticut libraries have microfilm copies of the land records that you can review onsite. Check out the Connecticut State Library’s collection for the greatest number of films.
- FamilySearch is slowly planning to digitize the film. If there’s a camera image next to the film information in the catalog, you can access it for free – provided you’re in a Family History Center.
- Willing to pay?
- Go to the town clerk’s website. Many towns have digitized all of their land records – and even better, they’re searchable by name. Be prepared to pay a daily access fee (less than $10) and then a per document fee ($1 a page). If you’re a ways from the closest family history center, this can be a fantastic option!
- For those towns that haven’t digitized their records, consider hiring a local genealogist. You’ll pay the hourly rate, plus the per document fee… and you’ll get your records fast! Personally, I can scan copies and have records to you by that evening!
A client’s research project has added a new archive to my must-check list! Can you guess where it is?
Yes, inside the church.
The American Baptist Churches of Connecticut Archive occupies part of the third floor of Central Baptist Church in Hartford (pretty impressive in its own right!). It’s only open by appointment (usually on the days when the Historical Council is meeting), so be sure to call the church office before visiting.
Occupying two rooms, the archives contains books on the history of the Baptist Church, histories of specific Connecticut churches, scrapbooks, clipping files, and more. As of right now, it does not have membership records from individual churches…
But don’t write it off as a resource! My favorite among their holdings is a book that identified and gave a history for each Baptist church in a Connecticut community. It warned me that a town I was researching had actually had a Baptist church – although it had disbanded in 1871. If you’re looking for an ancestor who might have had an influential role in a specific church or to identify and trace the history of a Baptist church your ancestor might have attended, the ABCONN archive is the place to go…
And even better, their goal is to see more researchers on a regular basis. If you have a friend who would benefit from their collection, be sure to spread the word!
I’ve spent the morning trying to determine if a Connecticut resident served in the American Revolution. I tried most of the usual sources – Record of Connecticut Men in the Revolution, Revolutionary War pension files – without success.
But my “last chance” source was a success. If you’re not aware, Revolutionary War pensions have been digitized and are searchable on Fold3. This search function includes everyone named in the pension, not just the person applying.
Why does that matter? Because the pension application process required the person applying to “prove” that they had served. That proof, in most cases, came from depositions from other soldiers in the same or related units. These men, in the process of documenting the service of the pension applicant, often also documented their own service in detail. For a man whose service is documented no where else, it can be a priceless resource.
You’ve been waiting for months – but the message still appears on the website of the Archdiocese of Hartford: “sacramental record and genealogical requests cannot be fulfilled at this time.” So, what do you do?
Don’t give up! As long as you’re looking for sacramental records – such as births, deaths and marriages – you have another option. The archives holds duplicates of these records on microfilm, not the originals.
The originals are still held by the parish in which they were created. Just remember, unlike in the archives, there is no set policy that access must be granted. When you contact the office, be pleasant and be sure to allow plenty of time for your request to be completed. A donation always helps!
Have you considered tracing a World War I ancestor’s experience through newspaper accounts? Such accounts can include details about battles, information about the organization of regiments and numerous personal details. And better yet, for Norwich and Bridgeport, they can be free!
Chronicling America includes digitized versions of the Norwich and Bridgeport papers through the early 1920s, after the end of the War. Hopefully you can find just what you’re looking for about your ancestor!