For the past month or so, we have been spreading the word about an extraordinary new reference work for Connecticut researchers, Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond. This is one of those books that one cannot praise too highly, for it is nothing less than a comprehensive bibliography of Connecticut birth, marriage, and death records that, as the title states, goes beyond the famous Barbour Collection.
Writing in the Introduction to her new volume, Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond, author Linda MacLachlan explains the scope of her ten-year study thusly:
“This book goes beyond the Barbour Index by adding six more towns to create a bibliography for all 149 Connecticut towns incorporated by 1850. It also provides—
- Full source citations to virtually all the sources Barbour abstracted, highlighting those noticeably incomplete to inaccurate.
- Hundreds of town vital records books, manuscripts and articles not abstracted by Barbour (all highlighted in bold face)
- Thousands of additional sources for early births, deaths and marriages in Connecticut.”
Connecticut researchers will be interested to learn that in the very helpful Introduction to the book, Ms. MacLachlan enumerates various special collections of vital records at the Connecticut State Library. Here is a sampling of that section.
“Unique Connecticut State Library Collections”
State Archives, Connecticut State Library. Many Connecticut towns have archived bound and/or boxed collections of official records now available through CSL. The vital records so archived are cited with other vital records sources under VITAL RECORDS for each pre-1850 Connecticut town, both those abstracted by Barbour and those which are not. See “Vital Records Held by the Connecticut State Archives,” online at https://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/vitalrecords/archives.
Personal and Family Vital Records. CSL has collected or transcribed pre-1900 original manuscripts compiled by individuals in their capacities as justices of the peace, ministers, tradesmen, or church sextons found in diaries, day books, or account books or copied from newspapers. Many of the transcriptions are shelved beside the Barbour Collection, abstracted in or near to the Barbour Index, in an old card catalog and/or digitized online here. See note 18 in the Introduction and Appendices A through C.
Barbour’s Personal Collection. Over 40 years ago Lucius B. Barbour’s own collection of New England records were donated to the State of Connecticut. 77 These 28 cubic feet of manuscripts include nearly two hundred handwritten volumes collecting Connecticut church, vital, probate, cemetery, and family records. This little known archive has never been reproduced in any form but has been catalogued by CSL as 182 manuscripts in a 27 page Finding Aid viewable online. These manuscripts presage the Barbour Co/lee/ion of Connecticut Town Vital Records but were obviously unknown to the genealogists whom Barbour later engaged to index all the pre-1850 vital records in Connecticut. They include many vital statistics omitted from the published Barbour Collection and correlate many of the individual statistics which are separately listed in the Barbour Index.
This personal record collection includes never-microfilmed manuscripts in Barbour’s own neat hand, including bound compilations of vital, church, probate, cemetery and “early family” records for many Connecticut towns and organized collections of genealogical records for dozens of important Connecticut surnames These compilations are generally listed in a town’s final paragraph because the manuscripts often integrate vital statistics from more than one source where Barbour has himself determined that the
records all pertain to the same individual. His statewide compilations from this collection are listed below.
Statewide resources. These vital records compilations are not listed by town below because they include records from most Connecticut towns. Except for Barbour’s manuscripts, they are generally available online:
- Lucius B. Barbour’s Genealogical notes from Connecticut family bible records, 1742- 1872, 1 vol., (manuscript 105 in Box 12) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour, Birth and marriage records of some Connecticut people, 1748-1800, (manuscript 108 in Box 21) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour, Connecticut genealogical data, 1737- 1902, 5 volumes, (manuscript 118 in Box 21 & 22) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’s Card index, 1800- 1900, I box, Abstract of vital records arranged by surname, (manuscript 119 in Box 22) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’s Abstracts of marriage notices taken from Connecticut newspapers, 1800-1835, 2 vols., (manuscript 126 in Box 22) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’ s Marriage notices from Connecticut newspapers, A- E, 1810-1833, 1 vol., (manuscript 128 in Box 22 CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’ s Deaths from Connecticut newspapers, A-C , 1810- 1833, l vol., (manuscript 155 in Box 24) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’s Cemetery inscriptions from Connecticut cemeteries, 1676- 1910, 1 vol., (manuscript 165 in Box 24) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’ s Connecticut deaths, 1 vol., (manuscript 166 in Box 24 CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- Lucius B. Barbour’s Marriage and death notices from the Christian Secretary published by Philemon Canfield for the Connecticut Baptist Convention, 1824- 1827, 4 vols., (manuscript 164 in Box 24) CSL Record Group 074.36, Hartford.
- John Elliot Bowman’s “Some Connecticut Marriages: 1820-1837, Items from the Norwich Courier, and other Connecticut newspapers,” (typescript at NEHGS)
- “Ye Names & Ages of All Ye Old Folks in Every Hamlet, City, and Town in Ye State of Connecticut Now Living, (New Haven: by author, Price, Lee & Co. [printers]. Frederick H. Nash, 1884.)
- Frederic W. Bailey’s Early Connecticut Marriages as Found in Ancient Church Records to 1800 (New Haven: Bureau of American Ancestry, 1896-1906).
- NEHGS’ “Connecticut Gravestone Inscriptions,” NEHGR, 405-6 (Oct 1904);
- CSA, Vital Records: Birth, death, marriage information on Connecticut residents, mostly pre-1900. (Reports, files from town clerks; indexes, abstracts, cemetery records, headstone inscriptions; and abstracts of newspaper marriage and death notices) CSA RG 072.
- Bowman Collection: “Connecticut Deaths 1792-1833” 14 vols. 1928-1933 from NEHGS’ Special Collections. See Appendix A.
- Connecticut deaths seemingly taken from the February 25, 1860 issue of the Columbian Register newspaper, published in New Haven, Connecticut) See Appendix A
- William A. Eardeley’s “Connecticut Cemeteries 1673- 1911” (Brooklyn:, 1914- 1918) (NEHGS microfilm 104)