Connecticut Genealogy Research

Vital Records

Alternate sources:

  • Sexton’s books and burial books:
    • The legislation, dated 1852:“[…] every sexton or person having charge of any public or private burial place, shall, during the first week of each month, deliver to the registrar of the town, in which such burial place is situated, a list of the names and dates of burial of the persons buried therein, during the month next preceding […]”[1]
    • The town registrar – usually the town clerk; check the health department in those towns that store vital records outside of the clerk’s office – was required to keep that list. Most often it will be stored in a bound book. Depending on the location, the book may be arranged by date or by cemetery. Some communities may have two sets of books, one by date and one by cemetery.
      • Godfrey Memorial Library has digitized Middletown’s books. (Accessible for a fee.)
      • To date, no other set of books has been digitized.
    • These books are considered public record. Expect to pay copying fees of about $1/page or a daily scanner fee.
  • Burial transit permits:
    • The legislation, dated 1884: “Sec. 113. No person shall remove the body of any deceased person from or into the limits of any town in this State otherwise than for immediate burial in the cemetery adjacent to the town in which such person died, unless there shall be attached to the coffin or case containing such body, a written or printed permit signed by the registrar of deaths in said town, certifying the cause of death or disease of which said person died[…]”[2]
    • The permits often contain nearly as much information as a death record – and sometimes more. They should include at minimum the date of death, cause of death, and funeral home.
    • They are stored by the office of the registrar of vital statistics in the town in which the burial occurred. Typically, this is the town clerk or health department.
    • These permits are generally still in the town clerk’s office but may have been stored in an overflow vault. To date, none have been digitized. They are considered public record. Expect to pay copying fees of about $1/page or a daily scanner fee.

[1] Revision of 1875: The General Statutes of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., Printers, 1875), 29.

[2] The General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, Revision of 1887 (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., Printers, 1887), 27.

Land Records

  • What level of jurisdiction (town, county, state) stores land records in Connecticut?
    • Connecticut stores land records on the town level, in the town in which the property is located.
    • Connecticut town boundaries have changed over time. The same property may be in the records of three or more towns, depending on the date of records.
  • How do I find the towns in which my property might be recorded?
    • Use the “List of Connecticut Towns & Counties Including Year Established” on the Connecticut State Library’s website (https://ctstatelibrary.org/cttowns/counties) to determine when your town was created and what “parent towns” from which it may have been created.
    • Be aware that you may have to check multiple jurisdictions. Some “child towns” were created from two or more parent towns. Andover, created in 1848, was “taken from Hebron and Coventry.” Some parent towns have broken into smaller and smaller pieces over time, leaving records along the way. Prior to 1767, properties in Portland and East Hampton were in the jurisdiction of Middletown. Between 1767 and 1841, the properties were part of “Chatham.” Portland separated from Chatham in 1841. That means the same property could have records in Middletown for the early 1700s; Chatham (East Hampton) for the early 1800s; and Portland for the early 1900s. When in doubt, check all possible jurisdictions.
  • How do I access copies of the land records?
    • Start by visiting the town clerk’s website. Many clerks have been digitizing their records independently. They may have records for free or a low download cost.
    • Next check FamilySearch. The microfilms created by FamilySearch have been digitized and are available on their website. To access them, log into www.familysearch.org and go to the catalog. Search by place name. Be aware: many of these records can only be opened from a FamilySearch affiliate.
    • There are generally some records that have yet to be digitized, so plan to visit the town clerk at some point in your search. Before you do so: check with the State Library and the town’s library, as other copies may be available.
      • (Please note that some towns gave their original copies to the State Library and have only photostats.) If you want copies, you will be allowed to purchase them. As of 2021, the rate is $1 a page.
  • How do I find my property?
    • If the property has been sold in the last few decades, you can start by checking the town tax assessor’s property card system. It will list the most recent sales.
    • Use the volume and page of the oldest listed sale to locate the deed.
    • Find out the name of the “grantor” (the person selling the property).
    • Go to the index and look for that name under the “grantee” section (the list of people buying the property). (If there is not a digitized central index, the clerk likely has one onsite.)
    • Locate that deed to get the name of the person who sold them the property.
    • Repeat.
    • Over time, you should build up a list of all the deeds “conveying” or transferring the property and the names of everyone who lived on your land.