A substitute for Lyme, Connecticut’s missing records?

Lyme, Connecticut’s town meeting records for the Revolutionary era are missing, making it a challenge to document the activities of town residents in that period.

The records of the Lyme Public Hall Archives may offer resources to help fill in the gaps. Housed in the Lyme Public Library, the collection includes several manuscripts that appear to date from the Revolutionary War period, including a record of oaths of allegiance. It’s not clear from the catalog whether the manuscript is an original or a transcription of another source. To schedule a visit, visit https://lymepublichall.org/local-history-archives/.

My lineage society says I need vital records from NY. Do I need a court order?

I’ve heard this come up as a point of confusion often recently…

New York State has restrictions on the access to vital records. (NY City has its own records system.) A lineage society requires that vital records be provided for the applicant, their parents, and their grandparents. The parents are deceased. The applicant is told that they need a court order to get records.

It’s not true. The State of New York has a policy that allows for time period waivers of genealogical copies of vital records for direct descendants. The application has to be made by the direct descendant. (If you’re hiring a professional genealogist, they cannot do it for you.) The applicant has to document the decease of the subject(s) of the birth or marriage record (for marriage, both spouses), and their relationship to that subject or subjects. In many cases, this means submitting copies of the grandparents’ death records, a parent’s record naming their parents, and an applicant’s record naming their parents.

If there is any confusion, refer the clerk’s office to the page referenced above.

Revolutionary War taxes, Boston

The Boston Public Library has digitized tax lists for 1780, 1782, and 1783.

Although these tax lists are from the Revolutionary War period, they can’t automatically be used as “proof” of service for the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution. Why? Because we don’t know when and how the tax money was employed. To be considered “service,” the tax money needs to have gone towards the support of the cause.

Town meeting records may provide evidence as to how the money was used.

America250 prep: Resources on the American Revolution in Connecticut

This list will be updated. Check back for changes. I welcome suggestions and additions!


Anderson, Virginia DeJohn. The martyr and the traitor : Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. A dual biography, this text examines the Revolution and its impact from both sides.

Baker, Mark Allen. Connecticut Families of the Revolution: American Forebears from Burr to Wolcott. Charleston: The History Press, 2014. Who were the major players in Connecticut’s American Revolution? This text dives into the personal history of those who appear only by name in other texts.

Baker, Mark Allen. Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale. Charleston: The History Press, 2014. A lighter adult read, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut introduces the topic of spying during the American Revolution. The text discusses the process of spy craft, famous spies, and more.

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. Bushnell’s Submarine: The Best-Kept Secret of the American Revolution. N.p.: Scholastic Non-Fiction, 2006. A history of America’s first submarine, the text studies the work of a Connecticut resident. It’s a young adult text and a fairly easy read.

Mullens, Jolene Roberts. Connecticut Town Meeting Records in the American Revolution. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2011. An abstract of the town meeting minutes, this two volume set can help you discover how your ancestor was involved in their town’s governance.

Museums and Historic Sites:

Connecticut River Museum: Across the street from the site of the shipyard that built the Oliver Cromwell, the Connecticut River Museum hosts a full sized model of the Turtle.

Research and resources on Connecticut’s patriots of color

This list will be updated. Please check back for updates!

“Jack Congo,” E Pluribus Unum (https://honoringourpatriots.dar.org/patriot-profiles/jack-congo/: accessed 10 March 2023).

Jamie H. Eves, ““Faithfully to Serve”: Jesse & Job Leason, African American Soldiers in the Revolutionary War,” Windham Textile and History Museum (https://millmuseum.org/job-jesse-leason/: accessed 10 March 2023).

Mary Harrell-Sesniak, “Hammet Achmet: Washington’s Waiter & Revolutionary War Patriot,” 18 February 2014, GenealogyBank (https://blog.genealogybank.com/hammet-achmet-washingtons-slave-revolutionary-war-patriot.html: accessed 10 March 2023).

Michelle Tom, “Glimpses of Windsor’s Black Patriots,” 30 September 2022, Windsor Historical Society (https://windsorhistoricalsociety.org/glimpses-of-windsors-black-patriots/: accessed 10 March 2023).

Pauline C. Merrick, “The Real Sam Huntington: Black Governor, American Patriot,” 12 February 2022, The Atlantic Black Box Project (https://atlanticblackbox.com/2022/02/12/the-real-sam-huntington/: accessed 10 March 2023).

Todd Jones, “Black Soldiers in the Nation’s Wars,” Salmon Brook Historical Society (https://www.salmonbrookhistoricalsociety.com/blacksoldiersinthenationswars: accessed 10 March 2023).