Archive for category Genealogy Library

Plumb Library – Shelton Connecticut – Genealogy

Posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 29 July, 2012

Have you checked out your local library for genealogical materials. You may be surprised at the genealogy collections some small local libraries have amassed. The plumb library in Shelton, CT has a room dedicated to the history of Connecticut, especially the Shelton, CT area. Many of the materials in this room would prove very useful in genealogical research.

The materials include almost a complete set of City Directories from Ansonia, Seymour, Derby and Shelton from 1896 right up until 1980.

Other materials include;

Barbour Collection for
• Huntington, Kent and Killingly
• Milford, New Canaan and New Hartford
• Madison, Manchester, Marlborough, Meriden, Middlebury, Monroe, Montville and Naugatuck
• Sterling and Stratford
• Danbury, Darien and Derby

Other noteworthy books for reference in this room include
• Families of Early Milford, CT by Susan Woodruff Abbott, 1979
• The ancestry of David Wells Plumb by Gilbert Gillette Davis, 1976 (a three ring binder of various ancestor charts and family group sheets, which might not be compiled elsewhere.
• Register of the Middlebrook Family, descendents of Joseph Middlebrook of Fairfield, CT by Louis F. Middlebrook, Hartford, CT, 1909
• History of the Hubbell Family by Richard Hubbell, 1915
• The Holcombes by Mrs. Lewin D. McPherson, 1947

Town and county history books.
• History of Fairfield County, Connecticut by D. Hamilton Hurd, 1881
• History of New Haven County, Connecticut by Mary Hewitt Mitchell, 1930 (volumes I, II & III)
• The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut by Samuel Orcutt, 1880
• History of Stratford, Connecticut by Howard Wilcoxson, 1939
• Memories of Old Derby by Albert F, Sherwood, 1924


Various past genealogical and historical publications are also in the history and genealogy room. These include the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Connecticut Ancestry, Connecticut Nutmegger and the Connecticut League of Historical Societies.

For war time relatives they have books about the people who fought during the revolutionary war, the war of 1812 and the war of the rebellion (The Civil War).

A map of 1867 of the town of Huntington is on display. This map lists the names of the land owners within Huntington and where they lived. There is also a pictoral drawing showing the town of Shelton and what it looked like in 1919.

There are various books locked in cases. You would need to see a reference librarian to use see the books. Some of the books in locked cases include;
• Various copies of Seymour High School yearbooks from 1964 and even earlier.
• The city of Shelton’s annual report from 1900 – 1964.
• Service records for World War I
• History of Bridgeport and Vicinity
• Historic Towns of the Connecticut River Valley.
• The history of education in Connecticut

Be sure you check out your local library for genealogy collections which might help you in your research.


Derby CT Public Library – History and Genealogy Room

Posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 1 April, 2012

Genealogy Resources at the Derby Connecticut Public LIbrary

As with many of the larger local libraries, the Derby Connecticut Public Library has amassed a very good collection of books for use in genealogy. The local history and genealogy room has a large table and comfortable chairs.

Many New England families pre-date the revoluntionary war. If you think that your ancestor may have fought in the Revolutionary War, you should consult the DAR lineage books. The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) is a lineage society. If a descendant of your revolutionary war veteran applied to the DAR society a record most likely exists within the DAR. The Derby Public Library has a almost a complete set of DAR lineage books from 1 – 166.

There are also quite a number of books which contain vital record information. These books include;

  • Barbour Collection – (Danbury, Darien, Derby)
  • Barbour Collection – (Milford, New Canaan, New Hartford)
  • Connecticut Vital Records – (Woodstock)
  • Connecticut Vital Records – (Bolton)
  • Connecticut Vital Records – (Norwich [part 1 & part 2])
  • Connecticut Vital Records – (New Haven [part 1 & part 2])
  • Saybrook

There’s a few books which contain family vital statistic information which is not quite a vital record compilation. Derby library contains a few of these books including;

  • A Genealogical Register of the Inhabitants of the Town of Litchfield, CT
    by George C. Woodruff, 1845
  • East Haven Register, containing an account of names, marriages, births…
    by Rev. Stephen Dodd, 1910

A family lineage book typically traces one or more founding fathers and or mothers and traces all of their know descendents forward. The Derby library contains quite a number of these family lineage books. Most of the founding fathers have roots in Colonial New England. A large collection of more than 100 books with families with ties to Derby, Connecticut can be found in the library.

In addition to the many family lineage books, you can find a great deal more including

  • The Early CT Probate books
  • Many local histories
  • New Haven and Connecticut Colonial records
  • Derby City Directories – hard cover and on microfilm

If you have family members who are from the Derby Connecticut or surrounding towns, the Derby Library is a good resource for you to perform your research.

Genealogy answers at the Connecticut State Library

Posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 1 January, 2012

Searching for Sidney W. Ford at the Connecticut State Library

Not so long ago, I found myself working in Hartford within walking distance from the Connecticut State Library (CSL). My dad had done a lot of research of the family and many lines went back to the 1600s or earlier. There was one line of the family which seemed to have a number of holes and unanswered questions. Sidney W Ford was my 3rd great grandfather. I knew very little about Sidney’s father (Schuyler Ford) and even less about his grandfather (Reuben Ford). Nothing was known beyond Reuben Ford. The last time I was at the Connecticut State Library, I felt completely lost and I would only have 30-45 minutes a day during lunch to perform my research. I’d have to have a good research plan.

I first decided to review what I knew about Sidney W. Ford.

• He was born in about 1832 in Michigan.
• He was married to Mary Elizabeth Turner.
• They had three children, George born in about 1854, Edwin born in about 1856 and Lovinia born on 12-Apr-1860 in Albany, NY.
• He was in Rensselaerville, NY in 1850.
• He was living in Hartford in 1870.
• He apparently died by 1880.
• Daughter Lovinia died 7-Jan-1901
• Wife, Mary died 18-Apr-1918
• Sidney’s parents are Schuyler & Lucy Ford.
• Sidney’s paternal grandparents are Reuben & Eunice Ford.

Besides being recorded in the research my dad conducted. what were the major sourcerd of the known facts about Sidney Ford?
• 1850 US Census Rensselaerville, New York household of Schuyler Ford
• 1870 US Census Hartford, Connecticut household of Sidney Ford
• 1880 US Census Hartford, Connecticut household of Elizabeth Ford
• Death certificate for Lovinia Ford.
• Obituary of Mary E (Turner) Ford

Here are some questions I’d like to find answer about Sidney Ford.
• When and where did Sidney Ford die?
• Where is he buried?
• Where did he live throughout his life and when?
• Can I locate his 1860 US Census record?
• Can I find an exact date of birth and marriage date for him?
• What else might be found at the CSL about Sidney Ford?

The first day at the CSL

The first day I went there during my lunch, I was very lucky. Fellow Genealogy Club of Newtown member and professional genealogist Harlan Jessup was there. He gave me a tour of the CSL Genealogy Department. I wasn’t able to really look at any of the records that day, but I took a good stock of what records they did have. The next day I decided to focus in on my first research question.

When and where did he die? Sidney last shows up on the 1870 US Census. His wife is listed on the 1880 US Census without him. Presumably he died between 1870 & 1880. There are a number of vital record sources at the CSL. I looked for Sidney in the following sources.
• Newspaper Obits Collection
• Hale Cemetery Inscriptions
• Hartford Probate Index
• Connecticut State Probate Index

Sidney was not to be found in any these indexes. So much for a quick hit trying to find this information. If I couldn’t find the dtae of death in these sources could I narrow down the date of death? I checked the Hartford City directories, which are on microfilm at the CSL. Sidney last shows up in the Hartford City directories in the 1872-1873 edition. His wife is listed in the 1873-1874 edition. Bingo, this was a very good indication that he died between 1872 and 1873.

Could I use this to find the exact date of death. I presumed he died in Hartford, so I checked the following records
• Hartford Connecticut Vital records on microfilm for deaths in 1871 – 1875.
• Surrounding towns vital record for deaths in 1871 – 1875

He was not listed in Hartford or any surrounding town vital records index. I guess you can’t win them all. I decided to ask for guidance from CSL Staff. They rechecked the Hale Collection with me and we noticed Sidney’s wife was listed and was buried at Zion Hill Cemetery in Hartford. Zion Hill Cemetery is several acres. Walking the cemetery to find the plot would be very time consuming. There was a ‘L741’ listed next to her name. The CSL staff did some digging and found they had an old map of the cemetery. The plot map was off-site and required me to get an archives pass. I would also have to wait for the next day during lunch.

The next day I was there I consulted the map. S. W. Ford was listed right on the map. Another hit, Sidney died more than 40 years before his wife and since his name, not his wife’s name was on the map, I felt confident I found where he was buried. It was time to review the information I found. Sidney apparently died between 1872 & 1873. He was only about 40 years old when he died, leaving his wife and teenage children. He was buried in Zion Hill Cemetery in Hartford. This was much better than what I knew before. I did not have an exact date of death, but I decided to move onto another question.

Where did he live throughout his life and when?
I decided to move onto the next research question. Where did he live throughout his life? I had already consulted the Hartford City Directories from 1870 – 1874. I reversed the order and started working back in time. When did he first arrive in Hartford? He was listed in every Hartford City Directory on Microfilm starting from 1861. I did not see any earlier Hartford city directories, so I asked a CSL staff member. She told me that earlier city directories exist, but they are on Microfiche. We took a look. We saw one city directory back from 1799. I pulled Hartford for 1859 and 1860. He was not listed in either 1859 or 1860. So it appears he arrived in Hartford in about 1860 or 1861.

I knew his daughter Lovina was born in Albany in 1860 and while looking for the 1859 & 1860 Hartford City Directories, I noticed they had some neighboring states city directories as well. I looked for Albany and was in luck. I check the Albany City directories and Sidney first starts showing up in the 1854 City Directory. He showed up in every city directory all the way through the 1860 Albany City Directory, which was the most recent Albany City Directory the CSL had.

I had one nagging question. It was recorded that Sidney was born in Michigan? The 1870 Census record indicated this and Lovinia Ford’s death certificate indicated this. When I re-looked at the 1850 US Census, it showed Sidney was born in New York. Since this is closer to his birth, this might be a more accurate account. Subsequently looking for Schulyer Ford in the 1840 Census, Schuyler was found in Rensselaerville, with a son who would be about Sidney’s age.

Here’s a quick review of where Sidney lived during his life. He was born in about 1832 in New York, presumably Rensellaerville, NY. He presumably lived in Rensselaerville, NY until about 1853. He moved to Albany, NY and lived there until around 1860. He moved to Hartford, CT until his death in about 1872 – 1873

Below is a detailed look at where Sidney Ford lived throughout his life.
1832 – Born in New York
1850 – Rensselaerville, New York
1854 – cartman, 8 Lumber, Albany, New York
1855 – cartman, 249 n Pearl , Albany, New York
1856 – cartman, 14 Railroad Avenue, Albany, New York
1857 – cartman, 16 Jackson, Albany, New York
1858 – carman, 175 1/2 Montgomery, Albany, New York
1859 – hostler, 57 South Lansing, Albany, New York
1860 – carman, 152 Colonie, Albany, New York
1861 – sawyer, h. 10 Ellery Street, Hartford, Connecticut
1862 – sawyer, h. 10 Ellery Street, Hartford, Connecticut
1863 – sawyer, h. 10 Ellery Street, Hartford, Connecticut
1864 – hackman, h. 10 Ellery Street, Hartford, Connecticut
1865 – hackman, h. 5 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1866 – hackman, h. 5 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1867 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1868 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1869 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1870 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1871 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1872 – hackman, h. 3 Huntey Ave, Hartford, Connecticut
1873 – His wife is listed at 6 Huntley

While he lived in Albany, New York, he loved every single year. I pondered why someone might move that often in a city in the 1850s. However, I decided to move onto the next research question.

Can I locate his 1860 US Census record?
Armed with new information that Sidney lived in Albany in 1860 and Hartford in 1861, I took shot at trying to find the 1860 Census record on ancestry.com and Heritage Quest. No luck again, perhaps he moved prior to the census being taken in 1860 in Albany, but after the census was taken in Hartford in 1860. Perhaps the census record just does not exist for Sidney in 1860. I moved onto another research question.

Could I find the exact date of birth or marriage date of Sidney?
Sidney was apparently born in New York, not Michigan. Most likely he was born in Rensselaerville, where his parents lived. Sidney was also most likely married in New York, in or near Rensselaerville. Although the CSL has an extensive array of vital records for Connecticut towns and churches, there are few vital records for the area of New York I was looking into. It looks like I will have to research elsewhere for this information. Onto the last research question I had from my original list.

What else might be found at the CSL about Sidney Ford?
I searched the Hartford Courant Historical Newspaper. Incidentally you can access this from home for free with any library card you have from the State of Connecticut. I found an article which indicated his daughter (Lovina) was very badly bitten by a dog in July of 1867. I checked for an obituary or a death notice for Sidney and found none.
I did however find an obituary for his wife, Mary E. Ford who died in 1918. It said she left a sister behind in Michigan.

I remember that Harlan had showed me rows upon rows of books for just about every part of the country. I checked to see if there was anything for the small town of Rensselaerville, New York. I wasn’t really expecting to find anything about this small town. To my surprise there were two books “The Story of Old Rensselaerville” by Torrence and Rensselaerville – Reminiscences and Rhymes” reprinted from village newspapers. I looked through the index to see if Sidney was listed in either book. He wasn’t listed, but his father and grandfather were listed.

One of the books had a set of maps in insets. There was a map from 1854 of Rensselaerville, His father and grandfather were listed right on the map were they owned property. Within the same book there was a copy of the 1866 Beers Map of Rensselaerville. Sidney’s father was again listed on the map where he owned property.

The CSL has a lot of family lineage books. I checked to see if the CSL had a family lineage book I was familiar with, “One Dorman Family and Allied Lines”. My first cousin once removed had written it. They did have it; Sidney Ford, Schuyler Ford and Reuben Ford were all listed. That’s as far back as that book took my Ford line. I also checked the extensive collection of other family lineage books. To my surprise, my Reuben Ford was listed in another book entitled “Ford Family Genealogy” by H. C. Ford. This book took my Ford family back another five or six generations to Pembroke and Marshfield, MA in the early 1600’s and before. I still need to verify the information from primary sources, but it certainly provides a great avenue of research.

Let’s review how we did on our research questions
• When and where did he die?
• Where is he buried?
• Where did he live throughout his life and when?
• Can I locate his 1860 US Census record?
• Can I find an exact date of birth and marriage date for him?
• What else might be found at the CSL about Sidney Ford?

We may not have found all the details we were looking for but we found a lot more detail on a number of the research questions we started out with.

At this point I need to stop and think about what the next steps are in researching Sidney Ford’s life. I should contact the city of Hartford, which maintains Zion Hill Cemetery to see if they have any burial records.
• I should plan a visit to Zion Hill Cemetery to see if I can find Sidney Ford’s grave. Perhaps his name was just missed when the Hale Cemetery Transcription Project was undertaken. If his gravestone is not there, at least his wife and daughter should be there.
• I should get a copy of Mary Elizabeth Ford death certificate. How many of you recognized when reading this article, that this was a missing piece of evidence.
• I should Go to a research facility in New York to look for Sidney’s birth or marriage certificate. Perhaps the local family center has records for this area and time on microfilm.
• I should plan a research trip to Rensselaerville, NY. See if I can find the property where Sidney grew up, visit the cemeteries where Schuyler Ford, Reuben Ford and Abel Ford (Reuben’s father and revolutionary war veteran) are buried.

I realize that while researching this one ancestor, I used quite a variety of records available at the CSL. Although I consulted quite a number of record collections within the CSL, there are quite a number of record collections I didn’t even get to. Some of these records include;
• Land records
• Early Connecticut Church records
• Military records (I found no evidence that Sidney Ford served in the military)
• Bible records
• Ship passenger records
• Extensive collection of Connecticut newspapers on microfilm
• Collection of databases (ancestry.com, heritage quest, on-line newspaper archive)

If you have ancestors from Connecticut and have not visited the CSL, plan a research trip. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did. I believe the Connecticut State Library has a subscription to Ancestry.com

Genealogy Resources at the C.H. Booth Library, Newtown, Connecticut

Posted by Jim Sanders on Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

C. H. Booth Library Genealogy Room

In most hometown libraries you will find some materials useful in your genealogy research for residents who lived or worked within the town.  The C. H. Booth library is so much more than that.  There are literally hundreds (perhaps a few thousand or more) of books and other materials useful for genealogical research.  An entire room is dedicated to genealogy.  This room is located on the main level of the Library and houses the Julia Brush special collection. A computer, with Family Tree Maker software, is available for use. In the Reference Department, the Library maintains microfilm records of the U.S. Census of Fairfield County, Connecticut for 1790-1920 and microfilm of Fairfield County vital statistics before 1850. The books in the genealogy collection are catalogued.

Professional genealogist Harlan Jessup provides help to those interested in researching their roots on Monday afternoons from 2:00PM-5:00PM in the Genealogy Room. Please call the library at 203-426-4533 first, as Mr. Jessup is not always available.

The libary has access to the library edition of Ancestry.com. Access is provided free of charge to on-site patrons of the library.

Newtown Connecticut Genealogy Resources

If you are searching for Newtown ancestors, your first step is to look through the white binders on the map chest. Those binders contain information on the:

  • 1890 Census Substitute for Newtown
  • Cemetery Inscriptions: Danbury, CT
  • Cemetery Inscriptions: St. Paul’s Church, Huntington, CT
  • Genealogy Room Lateral Files Contents
  • Hale Collection of Headstone Inscriptions for Newtown
  • Julia Brush Collection – Family Files – Located in Lateral File #1
  • Newtown Bee Vital Records 1889-1953;
  • Newtown Bee Obits Index 2004-2009
  • Newtown Congregational Church Records 1715-1946
  • Newtown Supplementary Vital Records
  • Newtown: Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1711-1852
  • Stratford: Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1639-1840
  • Family Histories Looking for New England Ancestors?

The 1890 census substitute is one of the best census substitutes for a small hometown as you can find anywhere.  It contains school registers, the grand list, voter registrations and new electors.

The Julia Brush Genealogy Collection is a nationally-recognized collection of over 900 volumes on the families and local history of neighboring Connecticut towns. Bequeathed to the Library on the death of Julia Brush, nee Clark, in 1942. The collection has been continually expanded using money that was put into trust by another provision of the Brush will.

New England Genealogy Resources

If you are searching for New England ancestors, check the:

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Index online and on top of tall bookshelf)
  • Mayflower Families (22 vols.) Great Migration books
  • Family Histories – Most are Newtown family related
  • Rhode Island Vital Records
  • Rhode Island Colonial Records
  • Revolutionary War materials
  • Military Service books
  • Genealogies of Connecticut Families
  • Census books (1850)
  • New England states, towns, localities. Starts with Maine, ends with Connecticut.
  • DAR Lineage Books with Index
  • Connecticut Nutmegger with Index
  • Connecticut Ancestry Journal

Other Genealogy Resources

If you are searching for non-New England ancestors, you might check:

  • Settlers of the Beekman Patent (NY). Now complete through letter “P.”
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Record
  • The American GenealogistLong Island church books
  • Reference books on individual states
  • Ethnic group how-to books (Scottish roots, German-American ancestry, Jewish roots, Irish, English, and Polish roots)