… I have a lecture on Catholic records coming in a few months, so I’ve been delving back into one of my favorite topics of research. And, unfortunately for genealogists, it’s getting harder instead of easier. FamilySearch’s Wiki has a good overview of which counties are part of which diocese, but the genealogist writing it didn’t explain how to access the records. Why? Because they probably didn’t know. Several years ago, you could go to a central archives in the Archdiocese of Hartford, while you had to retrieve records from the parish in Diocese of Bridgeport and the Diocese of Norwich. No more – the Hartford archives have been closed for months with no announced reopening date.
So, what to do?
- You can contact the current parish and hope they have the records and are willing to copy them for you. Be sure to offer a donation.
- If the parish does not have the records, then you’re stuck tracing the history of that church to locate the “parent church.” That parent church had administrative control of what is now a parish and likely has its records. Sometimes you can find the parent church on the parish website under a history; other times, you’ll actually have to trace the history of every parish in the area.
Sound complicated? Sadly, it is. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a quick guide to many of the Middlesex County parishes ready to use.
Want to learn more? Block off time in your April schedule!