Friday, October 28, 2011

Why do I need to contact the town? It should be at the county seat. Right?

If you're not a "Nutmegger," the hardest part of research can be figuring out where the records are located. Many genealogists expect to find county systems that hold all records at the county seat. It's a relatively simple way to access records. Of course, Connecticut's counties don't work that way.

Connecticut's towns - not counties - have always been the state's political powerhouses. Traditionally, politics happened locally; records were stored locally. The reasons behind this are not entirely clear. Likely it had something to do with settlement patterns. Early arrivals settled around churches and left gaps between their communities. That church, and the town that eventually replaced it, easily became the center of their lives. According to the Secretary of State's website, the state of Connecticut entirely eliminated county governments in 1960.

What does that mean for you? It's time to stop looking for records on the county level. Time to try the town.

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