Writing in the Introduction to her recent 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—
1. Full source citations to virtually all the sources Barbour abstracted, highlighting those noticeably incomplete to inaccurate.
2. Hundreds of town vital records books, manuscripts and articles not abstracted by Barbour (all highlighted in bold face)
3. Thousands of additional sources for early births, deaths and marriages in Connecticut.”
We should add that since the Barbour Index is housed at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford, Connecticut, Mrs. MacLachlan’s book provides the researcher with considerable coverage of that institution’s holdings as well.
To illustrate the additions and corrections you might expect to see for your Connecticut town of interest, here are some comments from the volume pertaining to Newtown, CT.
In the first place, Ms. MacLachlan drills down to identify the actual sources that Lucius Barbour and his staff consulted in the creation of the Barbour Index. Following is a list of those sources:
- Newtown’s Land Records, vol. 1-4 1712-1782, (Volume 2 includes births, marriages and family records at end of volume) Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 4,967)
- Newtown’ s Land Records, vol. 7-8 1756-1770, Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 4,969)
- Newtown’s Land Records, vol. 9- 10 1721-1772, Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 4,970), although the records said to be abstracted from the first page of volume 10 actually range from 1781- 1801
- Newtown’ s Land Records, vol. 19-20 1796-1802, Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 4,975)
- Newtown’s Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1716-1871 (contains records of births, marriages, and deaths arranged in family groups (with some omissions). Includes also a few records of marriages, 1820- 1822; and a bill of mortality, 1797- 1847), Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 1.435.629, items 1-2), an unfilmed book at the town hall titled “Proprietors Records,” which includes 1704-1735 vital records
- Newtown’s Marriage record, 1822- 1848, Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 1,435,629, item 4)
- Newtown’s Report of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the School Districts of Newtown, 1847- 1851, Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 1,435,629, item 6)
- Bill of Mortality, 1844-1870 (contains date of death, name of deceased, age and cause of death), Newtown Town Hall, (FHL film 1,435,629, item 5)
Ms. MacLachlan goes beyond specifying Barbour’s actual sources for Newtown by finding and specifying the ADDITIONAL sources Newtown researchers should now access to turn up vital information on their ancestors. For the researcher’s convenience, the author indicates the additional sources in boldface.
• Charles H. Peck’s “Records of marriages, deaths, and births, 1847-1852” (Includes a bill of mortality for persons whose surnames begin with A and B, 1826-1846) 1875 manuscript (FHL film 1,435,629, item 3);
• Gertrude A. Barber’s Vital records of Newton, Connecticut about 1740-1817 (copied from the original records in the town clerk’s office, date unknown) (FHL film 823,815, item 1);
• Town records of Newtown, Connecticut (contains records of births, marriages, and deaths arranged by family, ca.1700-1875; and record of deaths, 1797-1817), typescript at NYGBS (FHL film 4,961 or 1,421,103, item 5);
• Harlan R. Jessop’s “Newtown, CT-Bills of Mortality, 1797-1821: A Supplement to the Barbour Index,” CN, 29:395-407 (December 1996);
• Harlan R. Jessop’s “Newtown Marriages: 1794-1810, A Recent Discovery, CA, 40:172-3 (May 1998);
• “Vital records of Newtown, Connecticut 1701-1891” (Mss A 6182 in the RSASCs at NEHGS) (database atAmericanAncestors.org).