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!
As part of the commemorations for the start of World War I, Ancestry has released a new resource. Called U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, it’s a database containing images of the passenger lists for ships that carried U.S. troops during the time period 1910-1939. Each list includes details on the ship’s departure or arrival (if they were coming to the United States), the names of the passenger, their service unit, and their next of kin and where those next of kin were living.
Why is this database helpful? First, it confirms someone’s service in the military. You even have unit information, so you can learn more about their service by searching regimental history. Second, it can prove relationships. Some next of kin listings include how the two are related: cousins, mother, etc. I found a few Connecticut families who might benefit from checking out this source.
Did your CT ancestor serve in the First World War? Not sure of the unit?
The Connecticut State Library has digitized a book that can help. Called Service Records: Men and Women in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War, 1917-1920, it lists those who served by town. Entries are alphabetized by the individual’s last name, and include their full name, their mailing address (as of around 1941 when the book was published), and a description of their service.
Does your family have original material from World War I, such as service records, photos, and more? Are you researching an ancestor’s experience during the War?
Be sure to check out Connecticut in World War I (http://ctinworldwar1.org/). Run by the Connecticut State Library, the site includes a list of World War I events, details on their efforts to digitize historic documents, access to the digitized collections, and more.
If you’re researching the little documented World War I period, this resource is priceless.
Using Fold3, The New York Times, or other databases for personal research? Are you a Connecticut resident? Did you know that you can get access to a number of genealogy databases for home for free?
All you need is a Connecticut State Library card. To get one, complete this application and mail it back. The card will be mailed to you.
Once you receive it, go to the database section on the Connecticut State Library website. Anything with an open lock or a blue library card image can be accessed from home. Just be sure to read the directions on the log in screen.