Did my Connecticut ancestor swear allegiance to the Revolutionary cause?

Many Connecticut towns and organizations required a public statement of support for the cause. The statements, issued in the form of an oath, were considered binding. Even better for the Revolutionary cause, they had public relations value. After you’d just sworn in front of the entire town to support the cause, public pressure was likely to ensure that you followed through.

While Revolutionary organizations and governments relied on these oaths for their political impact, genealogists love them as evidence of their ancestor’s support for the Revolutionary cause. Yes, DAR and SAR do consider them to be “qualifying service.” But finding the records of the oaths can be quite challenging.

Connecticut did not issue oaths on the county level. Instead they were issued by a number of local organizations. Justices of the peace often issued oaths for those intending to work with the military. Towns often did them as part of a town meeting. Churches and other local organizations may have done them as well. The very local nature of these records can make them difficult to locate.

Easiest to locate are the town records of their oaths. A few towns – most notably, East Haddam – included them in their vital records books. The vast majority includes them in the town meeting minutes. Depending on the town, those records may be with the town clerk, at the Connecticut State Library, or with another organization.

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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.