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!
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.
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.
Are you researching a Connecticut polish family? Be sure to check out CCSU’s Polish American Pamphlet Collection. It includes a number of publications that might help your research.
My favorite find thus far? The silver jubilee pamphlet for St Peter and Paul, New London…
Looking for Connecticut newspapers? Contrary to what you may have heard, a few of Connecticut’s historic editions are available online…
- The Hartford Courant is available to Connecticut residents on www.researchitct.org. Notice missing years? They can be accessed with a Connecticut State Library card on www.ctstatelibrary.org.
- The New London Day is on Google News at news.google.com.
- Smaller run newspapers from Bridgeport, New Haven and Norwich are on Chronicling America and from smaller towns on Newspapers of Connecticut.
Find My Past is celebrating St Patrick’s Day with free access to Irish records through tomorrow – and of course, I had to try it out.
My conclusion: unless your family left Ireland in the late nineteenth century or were land owners, it probably isn’t worth your time.
Find My Past is known for its index to the Irish parish registers. Digitized but not indexed by the National Library of Ireland, these parish records are one of the few ways to trace Catholic families prior to the 1840s. Once Find My Past made the registers searchable, finding your ancestors should have gotten much easier.
Unfortunately, at least with the names I tried, the search function doesn’t work. I checked two names, for whom I have birth dates and locations. One I know has a baptismal entry; the other I’m not sure about. Neither name returned results.
So, what did work? There are decent number of entries for births in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century… and if your ancestor was wealthy, you might get a will.
So, you might get something interesting- but don’t rely on Find My Past to trace your early Irish family.