Lineage Society

I need vital records from Connecticut for a lineage society application. How do I start?

“How do I order the vital records for my application?” is one of the most commonly asked questions in lineage society research.

Here’s what you need to know for Connecticut records:

  1. Connecticut doesn’t have counties. Records created before 1 Jul 1897 are only accessible on the town level (although microfilm duplicates have been made). Records after that date exist on the town and state level.
  2. There are limitations on access. Anyone can purchase a copy of a death or marriage certificate, although certain information may be blacked out. Birth certificates are closed for a hundred years, except to certain family members and to members of an approved genealogical society.
  3. You will be asked for identification. If you order a record, be prepared to submit photocopies of your genealogy society card (if needed) and your photo identification.
  4. You will need to follow instructions for payment. Some clerks do not allow checks. Follow instructions.
  5. Where you will get the record will depend on time period:
    • If you don’t know the location:
      • Pre-1850 records have been generally been transcribed and are part of the Barbour Collection. There are versions of this collection on Ancestry, American Ancestors, and FamilySearch. If you can’t find the records you need, be prepared to check all three. Ancestry and American Ancestors have different towns included. There are a few towns missing from Barbour. See https://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/genealogyindexes/Barbour for details.
      • Post-1897 records have indexes available on the Connecticut State Library website; FamilySearch; and Ancestry.
    • Pre-1900 records have generally been digitized and are available on FamilySearch. Search the town in the catalog to access the records.
    • Post-1900 records (the exact date depends on the town, check FamilySearch to confirm) can be requested from the town clerk or city health department for $20/copy. Members of an approved genealogical society can view (but not photograph) the record without charge.
    • Don’t know the location? You can place a request with the state vital records office (https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Vital-Records/State-Vital-Records-Office–Home).

Rule of thumb: FamilySearch first and then the town. State only when all other options have been exhausted.