Connecticut Land Records
This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Connecticut is a State-Land State.
England had what it considered legal right to the land in Connecticut, like the rest of New England. It was not until 1662, nearly thirty years after British subjects established the settlements of Connecticut, that a royal charter affirmed the settlements’ legal right to land. New Haven Colony and Connecticut Colony formed a united commonwealth of Connecticut as a result of that charter. Previous to 1662, land was generally recognized by settlers as belonging to Native Americans and, consequently, acquired or purchased from them.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, adopted in 1639, provided for the recording of land transactions in town records. The Connecticut General Assembly (originally the Connecticut General Court) had first jurisdiction over the colony and established town proprietors to dispose of land in their control. Land was divided and sold in lots; registration of deed transactions was the responsibility of the town clerk.
While few land records in Connecticut have been published, the exception is volume 14 of Collections of The Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford: the society, 1912), which includes all the Hartford land records from 1639 to the 1680s. A supplement, although only an index, is the General Index of the Land Records of the Town of Hartford, 1639–1879 (Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1873–83).
Deed books are generally indexed individually. Town clerks usually have comprehensive indexes to grantors and grantees. The deed books to about 1900 have now been microfilmed and can be consulted either in the central location at the Connecticut State Library or through The Family History Library (FHL) and its branches. There is no statewide index to all deeds, however.