The Barbour Collection
of CT Vital Records
"The Barbour Collection" is a listing by town of CT Vital Records from the mid-1600s through 1850. Lucius B. Barbour, the CT Examiner of Public Records from 1911 to 1934, directed the collection of these vital records, which include births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths.
The G&LHR has the entire Barbour Collection, along with an index of the towns included. These blue, soft-cover volumes are arranged alphabetically by towns, and several towns appear in most volumes. If a town is not included, a listing of their vital records most likely existed in another publication at the time that The Barbour Collection was compiled. The volume and page number, which is listed after each entry, refers to the vital records registry of the town from which a record was taken.
The information that appears in the Barbour Collection is generally all that was included in the original entry. Not every record and every year is included, so visit the Town Clerk's office, in the town in which an event took place, to search further.
Churches and other houses of worship generally maintain records relating to baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, burials, memberships, and more. As important dates and the names of parents, siblings, spouses, sponsors, etc. may be found in these records, they should definitely be included in any family search.
Though some churches published their early records, most recorded them in a “register” that was specifically designed for that purpose. It is wise to call ahead, before visiting a church, to ask what their policy is about viewing their records.
If you do not know what church a person may have attended, consider what church was in their neighborhood, reflected their national origin, was mentioned in their obituary, or was affiliated with their burial site. A good place to search for early houses of worship is in the city directories. These listings generally include the name and address of the church, the founding date, name of the minister, and more.
If you are unable to locate a person’s records at a church in the town where they resided, you may need to expand your search. Their baptism, marriage, or burial may have taken place while they were visiting relatives in another town or state. Family bibles are also valuable sources, where vital records were traditionally recorded. Lastly, check state and local historical societies and libraries.
The G&LH Room has a very large collection of CT history books, as well as books on other states. Genealogy books and cemetery records are also included in this collection. Biographical sketches of prominent individuals and families are also available.
Facts Sheets - "Genealogy at a Glance" Series
These fact sheets are published by the Genealogical Publishing Company. They are 4-page laminated folders that cover a wide range of topics. The “Genealogy at a Glance” series is designed to cover the basic elements of a genealogy research topic in a compact format. Each topic has been compiled by respected authorities, packs a great deal of information in a limited amount of space, and focuses on key sources for further research.
Some topics in the series include:
The G&LH Room has an extensive collection of
how-to-guides, with topics such as: researching newspapers, houses, and "famous" ancestors, reading fire insurance maps, deciphering old handwriting, dating photographs, and much more. Many of these guides circulate.
Researching a House
If you are researching a house, you might check the following agencies and organizations for information:
The following resources may also prove useful when researching a house:
Historic Home Surveys - CT Historical Commission,
59 South Prospect St., Hartford, CT 06106 has done surveys on historic homes in selected towns. The G&LH Room has surveys for houses in Winsted's East End Historic District. See the Notebook Collection.
Maps – The G&LH Room has local street maps, topographical maps, and fire insurance maps. Fire insurance maps primarily show structures in the downtown area where factories were concentrated. Early street maps often show the names of property owners.
Tax Records & Deeds – If a house was inherited, it will be listed in probate and tax records. Check deeds as well. These records are usually available at town or city halls and county courthouses.
Land Records – A title searcher can trace a property by searching probate land records.
City Directories – The city directories were business directories, but they also listed residents and other useful information. These are a great resource for determining who resided at an address in a given year. In 1916, the Winsted city directory began street-by-street listings - a very useful feature.
Photographs - Search for old photographs of a house, as well as photographs of other houses in the same neighborhood. The G&LH Room has many images of houses, streets, and neighborhoods, and has historic district surveys.
Builders - Research the architect or builder of a house, as well as other contractors who may have worked on the property or in the neighborhood.
If you know when a house was built, check the newspaper for mention of the house, homeowner, or builder.
Neighbors - Long established residents may have photographs or other information about a house in their neighborhood. They may also know how to contact former owners.
Town History Books
Most towns in Connecticut that have a published town history are represented in this collection. These books are shelved by county and are for reference use only.
Town History Files
CT town history files are stored in the vertical file cabinets and represent many towns in Litchfield county and other counties in the state. They are for reference use only, but pages may be photocopied. These files include maps, newspaper articles, photos, pamphlets and more.
Wars & Oral History
The G&LH Room has a very extensive collection of books on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and WWII (including a 2004 oral history project) and other military conflicts. Records compiled by the CT Adjutant General's Office on wars ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War offer a great deal of information about CT soldiers and battles fought.
We also have research guides on locating military records, identifying uniforms, re-enacting, and more related topics.
Yearbooks & Alumni Books
The G&LH Room has yearbooks for The Gilbert School and Northwestern Regional School #7, as well as alumni books for The Gilbert School. Not every year is available, so we welcome additions to this collection.