What is a soldiers’ home?

You’ll hear the term “soldiers’ home” a lot in the early part of the 20th century. Most were founded to support elderly and infirm Civil War veterans, opening in the late 1880s. Think the equivalent of the modern retirement community. However, because they were designed for veterans, they kept a lot better records.

The best known of these homes in the Connecticut area was the Fitch’s Home for Soldiers in Darien.  ConnecticutHistory.org offers a short history of the facility, which was founded in 1863. From 1882 to 1936, the state kept files on those soldiers who died in the home. These files include service information, death information, location of burial, and often more. The files have been digitized and are accessible through the Connecticut State Library.

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