The Barbour Collection
Connecticut 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 (including births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths).
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 (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 go directly to the town in which an event took place to verify a date.
Churches and other houses of worship generally maintain records relating to baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, burials and more. As important dates and the names of parents, siblings, and spouses may be found in these records, they should definitely be included in any family search.
Though some churches have published their early records, most simply record them in a “register” that is specifically designed for this purpose. A church may be willing to provide information to researchers, but it is always best to call ahead, before planning a visit, to ask what their policy is. Also check the CT State Library or Historical Society for church records.
If you do not know what church your ancestor 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 great 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 your ancestor’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. Another place to search is the family Bible, as this is where early family records were traditionally recorded.
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.
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 Gilbert Home for Children
The Genealogy & Local History Room has the following notebooks/scrapbooks containing information about
The Gilbert Home and its founder William L. Gilbert:
“The Gilbert Home” - Call # 974.61W31 Gilbert
“William Lewis Gilbert” - Call # 974
These notebooks contain newspaper clippings, essays, editorials, images, remembrances, and excerpts from books, journals, and much more. For further info about The Gilbert Home, contact Verna Gilson, at Beardsley Library, the media specialist at The Gilbert School, in Winsted, the Winchester Town Clerk's office, or the Winchester Historical Society.
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 – Check local street maps and fire insurance maps. Fire insurance maps primarily show structures in the downtown area where factories were concentrated.
Tax Records & Deeds – If a house was inherited, it will be listed in probate and tax records. Check deeds as well. These records are 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 – These are a great resource for those researching an address and the names of those who occupied a property. 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.
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.
Neighbors - Residents in the neighborhood may have photographs or other information about a house. 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 do not circulate.
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 do not circulate, but pages may be photocopied. These files include maps, newspaper articles, photos, pamphlets and more.
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.
Wars & Oral History
The G&LH Room has a very extensive collection of books on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII (including a 2004 oral history project) and other military conflicts.