How do I find Revolutionary War service for an ancestor from Connecticut?

Updated 2023.

Documenting a new ancestor can be one of the more challenging – but also most fascinating – parts of completing a lineage society application. Many societies prefer that you use an ancestor who is already on file for ease of review. However, most will allow you to add someone if you do not have an established ancestor in your line or you are determined to use a specific person. So, how do you document that individual?

The first step is identifying service that meets the society’s qualifications. A number of societies consider activities around the Revolutionary period to be “qualifying” for descendants of a specific ancestor, including The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, The Colonial Dames of America , The Sons of the American Revolution, The Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Society of the Cincinnati. The requirements for the type of service and the time period during which it must have occurred vary by the society. Read the requirements carefully and discuss with the registrar or your genealogist!

For ancestors from Connecticut, there are some wonderful resources that can assist in your search. Debbie Duay’s “Revolutionary War Service” page lists many of the places in which documentation of an ancestor’s Connecticut service may be found.

Here’s my typical checklist:

  1. Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution.
  2. Rolls and Lists of Connecticut Men in the Revolution.
  3. Pension files and compiled military service records on Fold3.
  4. Jolene Mullen’s Connecticut Town Meeting Records
  5. Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut and Public Records of the State of Connecticut.
  6. The Connecticut Archives Collection
  7. If time allows, town meeting records for oaths and/or payment of taxes.

If your ancestor is not listed in these sources, they may still have service – but expect it to be challenging to find.

A few additional points to consider:

For those applying to DAR and SAR, the payment of taxes may qualify your ancestor as a “patriot”. With one exception, Connecticut’s taxes never went straight to the military effort. (The records of the 1780 beef tax seem to be largely missing. If you find a source, please share!). Instead, they were paid to the town who then sent them on to the Army. As not all taxes were sent on, you’ll need to do a little more work. Plan to document both that your ancestor paid taxes and where those taxes were sent before attempting to use taxes as a source of service. Tax payment has yet to be used as a source of service, so published resources are few.

The closest point of military activity to your ancestor may not have been in Connecticut. Don’t forget to check the neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

Questions? Contact Charter Oak Genealogy.

Published by Bryna O'Sullivan

Proprietor of Charter Oak Genealogy, Bryna O'Sullivan specializes in assisting clients with lineage society applications and with French to English genealogical translations.

%d bloggers like this: