Monday, October 31, 2016

What you will find at the Connecticut State Library

The Connecticut State Library is located in Hartford, Connecticut. References and Collections are open Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Library also includes the state archives as well as the Museum of Connecticut History. In addition, there are many records that will be of interest to anyone who traces their roots to the state of Connecticut.

The Archives is a secured collection that can be accessed by using a catalog of the holdings. What you can expect to find are personal papers, land records, probate court records and a whole lot more. The records cover the period from as early as 1631. A significant number of church records are available, especially for the Congregational Church. Fewer records for other Protestant denominations including Episcopal and Baptist are available. In some cases, these early church records take the place of civil records.

Additionally, there are many town records including town meetings, where your ancestor may be mentioned, benevolent society records and school society records.

The Early General Records include records from the founding of Connecticut through 1820. These are the official record of the colony. Proceedings from the General Assembly, early deeds, turnpike records and land records through 1846. Many of the records have been microfilmed and require special permission to access.

To find out the full collection of the archives, the website for the Connecticut State Library offers a very good listing.

The Archives are just the starting point when it comes to what records are available at the Connecticut State Library. Many indexes to materials that are vital to doing genealogical research in Connecticut are offered. One of the first places to look is the Barbour Collection. This is an index to early vital records. You can search for your surname in the index and may be surprised by what you find. The Hale Collection of newspaper marriage and death notices and cemetery inscriptions are also available. The collection includes many family bibles as well and the inscriptions are indexed.

The library is a treasure trove of information on people who have resided in Connecticut. If your ancestor arrived on a ship, which many did, the records could be here. If they naturalized in the state, the records may also be held here. Just a note about naturalization records in Connecticut, they do not contain a great deal of information, they are, however, just another fascinating document that most people want to include in their records.

The Library has a wonderful collection of town directories which are an often forgotten source of great information about your ancestors including their address and their occupation.

The library has a great photo collection as well. You never know what you are going to find that may relate to your ancestor. Before coming to The Connecticut State Library, take the time to look over the website to give yourself ideas of what is available and for records, you may not even have thought about. Staff members are always available to help out. Be prepared, however, not all records are held at the Hartford location. You may need to go to another branch to find the records that you are interested in.

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