Why should I look at land records?

I’m headed out shortly to examine land records from the 1830s, in the hopes that they might yield the “missing link” necessary to take a family back another generation.

Land records don’t get used nearly as often as they should in genealogy. Why? Two factors: they’re not easy to access (this town’s records are on microfilm, but based on previous experience a trip to town hall is much faster); and genealogists often believe that they don’t contain personal information.

The access factor can be solved fairly easily. Older Connecticut records have largely been microfilmed by the Family History Library ( If you don’t have a lot of money to spend – and do have a lot of time – this is your best option. Plan for indexing to be bad to non-existent. I recently spent over an hour looking at microfilm without success and located what I needed in the town hall in under five minutes. A quicker option is to work with me or another Connecticut genealogist. It’s usually faster to pull the index books.

As to genealogical information, it can vary widely. Yes some records don’t list much. Others will specify exactly who they sold land  – and how they were related. Common surnames suggest relatives.  Although it might have been entered years later, the land record is of the few that had to be filed.It is a must check if you can’t find family anywhere else.


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