I’ve been to the Connecticut State Library website a few times before. But apparently I missed the big-ticket item of the Connecticut Archives. I had previously viewed the State Archive Finding Aids and other genealogy-related pages, but somehow missed the page with all the online indexes to the Connecticut Archives.
According to their website, the “’Connecticut Archives’ are the papers and correspondence of the General Assembly, the Governor and Council, and other colony or state officials. Included in this collection are petitions, drafts of bills, acts, resolves, and other early government documents.” The papers are broken down into several topics, such as Colonia Wars, Estates of Deceased Persons, and Towns and Lands. Some are further broken down into series. All of the categories have a date range, which falls between 1629 and 1820.
The best part, all of the collections (except one) have an index, which is available online! I spent all day yesterday looking at all of the indexes that were applicable to my Parks and Webster families (more on that in another post).
Accessing the Indexes
All of the collections are listed on the Connecticut Archives web page. Each contains a hyperlink to access the index (except for one, where no index is available, as noted).
In some cases, you’ll get a page with links to the PDF of a volume. In this case, choose the volume you want on the left, then click on the “Access This Item” link on the right.
When you get one that is by volume, you can scroll down and look under “Descriptions-Table of Contents” to see which volume covers which letters of the alphabet.
Other times, you’ll get links to PDFs of individual pages. In this case, it’s a guessing game as to where you end up in the index. Keep choosing pages until you find what you are looking for.
Finding the Records
Now that you’ve (hopefully) found some resources in the index, where do you go for the records? The Connecticut State Library holds the microfilms of these collections. (I believe they have all the originals, and if not all, then some, but use is restricted unless the microfilm is not readable.) Additionally, some are available the the FHL (they are marked by an asterisk (*).
The best way to find the collections is by doing a Title search in the Library Catalog for “Connecticut Archives" (clicking here will take you to the search results). Click on the title of the collection you are looking for, click “View Film Notes,” and select the film(s) based on the index entry.
Connecticut State Library
For the collections that are not available through the FHL, it may be possible to get the films through InterLibrary Loan. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit the library or hire someone to get the records for you. The CSL does not perform searches or make copies of microfilmed records, but they have a list of genealogists who can help for a fee.