Connecticut Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
New Haven Genealogical Magazine (formerly The Families of Ancient New Haven and now The American Genealogist) was begun by Donald Lines Jacobus and still sets a standard for its depth and documentation (see page 10).
Connecticut Ancestry (1957-present) is the publication of the Connecticut Ancestry Society.
Newspapers are an important source for early marriages and deaths. The Connecticut State Library holds the largest collection of Connecticut newspapers in the United States (approximately 2,050 titles spanning almost 250 years) and makes its newspaper microfilm holdings available on interlibrary loan. The completeness of holdings for titles ranges from a full run of the Hartford Courant and its predecessor, the Connecticut Courant (1764-present), to the solitary copies of several one-issue-only newspapers. An informative research guide to Connecticut newspapers is included on the Connecticut State Library’s website. Most newspapers in the library are included in its online catalog.
The Connecticut Courant served not only Connecticut, but the burgeoning frontier to its north, in Massachusetts and Vermont, and west in New York. Reports from the frontier are quite common including land advertisements, letters from former residents, and social items. An index (1754–1820) by Doris Cook is available at the Connecticut Historical Society, and another index (1764–99) at the Connecticut State Library.
The Hale Collection of Newspaper Marriage and Death Notices (ca. 1750–1865) is available at the Connecticut State Library and on microfilm through FHL Family History Centers, and abstracts notices from ninety of the earliest Connecticut newspapers. These notices generally end with the close of the Civil War (ca. 1865–66).
Newspapers in Connecticut Institutions, Updated through June 1997 (Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1997) identifies and shows the holdings of newspapers in 280 participating Connecticut institutions. Newspapers are listed alphabetically by title, and under each title the names of the institution(s) having copies are given, along with dates of the issues held. Copies are available for consultation at many Connecticut libraries.
Between 1910 and 1967, the Hartford Times ran a genealogical query column similar to that of the Boston Evening Transcript (see Massachusetts Newspapers), which has been indexed and microfilmed by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown and distributed to many major research libraries.
As with all record categories, the manuscript collections in Connecticut are excellent. The major repositories—Connecticut State Library, Connecticut Historical Society, Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Greenwich Library, Ferguson Library in Stamford, and Otis Library in Norwich—all have extensive collections. Family papers abound in these collections, but other items such as school records, church records, and original copies of wills and deeds can sometimes be found. There are no every-name indexes, but the collections are well cataloged.