Monday, December 31, 2012

Motivation Monday: Genealogical Tourism - Middlefield/Middletown

     Well, I finally decided to stop procrastinating. What am I talking about? Connecticut has an incredible history - and it's often ignored. Large cities are famous for destroying historic homes out of desperation to build their tax base. Sadly, too often, they end up with no historic home and an empty modern building. I've seen too many of these cases. They're heart-breaking.
   What I would love to see is an effort made to build up tourism as a way to save historic homes. Genealogical tourism would be perfect. There are many of us who have Connecticut roots. Most never visit. Sometimes it's because they can't afford the trip - something I can completely understand - but often, it's because they can't see a reason to come. You can get everything through the Connecticut State Library, the Family History Library, or online, right? The reality: that's not really true. 17th century Middlesex county court records, for example, are held by the local historical society in Middletown. Just think, you could research, vacation, and help preserve the past.
   Yes, I know it's idealistic, but I'm making my small contribution to cause. I've created a new tourism tab on the top of the page. It will lead you to places to stay and eat in the area. I'm only using places I know, so I may miss some finds, but it's a start. My goal over time will be to improve and build on this. Maybe it's a model we can all use.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sorting Saturday: Write as You Go

   If you've been following the genealogy listservs recently, you've probably already heard about this topic. Write as you go is the idea that - surprise, surprise - you compile a family narrative as you go, instead of just listing the information in your genealogy database.
   My first response was that this was a great idea in theory. Who doesn't love it? You immediately know what information you're missing or, if you're lucky, you end up with a completed document that you can share. Of course, that's presuming that you actually have the time to research and then write.
   It wasn't until today that I realized the true wisdom of this advice. I've been trying to put together a family narrative for some cousins. Thus far I've been through all of my file on the family - and realized that I never printed census documents and am missing a few other things. I'll have to order some things. Oops. Lesson learned.
   From now, I may try to take this good advice.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Follow Friday: Holmes Genealogy, Connecticut

   I'm sharing another surname blog in the hopes that it might be of use to a few Connecticut researchers. The Holmes Genealogy works research problems on different generations of the Holmes family. As the blogger explains, the line extends from "Nathan Holmes of Montville, New London County, Connecticut and Hamilton, Madison County, New York around 1800 back to John Holmes of Plymouth Colony in the 1600s." Unfortunately, you need to know the line to truly understand the posts. Titles are a bit vague, such as "Generation 8." Posts will provide an outline of one generation and the spouses. I'd love to see more details, such as source citations and a family tree. However, for a research with the name "Holmes" in the line, this blog provides a fantastic resource and starting point.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

   In the spirit of Christmas - and a much needed vacation - I'll be taking a break from posting for the next few days. Today, I'll let someone else take over the blog. An eight year old named Virginia. On the Newseum website, you can read the full text of Virginia's letter to the New York Sun. I hope you'll enjoy the spirit of her words and all that the response implies. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

change to blog posting schedule...

 I've decided it's time to reclaim my sanity - and my enjoyment in my blog - by limiting myself to topics I like. I'm changing my posting schedule to three to four times a week. I'm hoping this will allow me to explore a little more, write better posts, and enjoy what I'm doing. Thanks for your patience!

Society Saturday: Simsbury Free Library

   I love stumbling across new genealogy groups -chances are they have a resource I haven't heard about yet! This week's new group is the Simsbury Free Library. Founded in 1874, the library operates a genealogical and history library on its first floor. The library contains many of the classic Connecticut collections, including the Hale and Barbour Collections, as well as other resources. All can pay for access to the library, but members can enter for free. Members also get the option of genealogical consultations. If you're looking for Simsbury research, this might be the place to start.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Follow Friday: Samuel Griffin Family Blog, Killingworth

  Are you related to the 18th century Samuel and Mary Griffin of Killingworth? Turns out, there's a great genealogy available for the family - and it's right at your fingertips. A member of the family runs a great genealogy blog. Called the Samuel Griffin Family Blog, the blog offers the family history through images and transcriptions of the period's primary sources. It's up to you to build your own analysis. Stuck? Looking for a cousin? This is a great place to start.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Lighthouses

  One of the highlights of a visit to the Connecticut shore is a chance to see the lighthouses. Old Saybrook actually has two - the Lynde Point Light and the Breakwater Light. I could give a history, but others have done it much better. Here are some reading options:
1) Breakwater Light:
a. http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=797
b. http://lighthouse.cc/saybrookbreakwater/

2)Lynde Point Light
a. http://www.lighthouse.cc/lynde/
b. http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=798

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Website update: Essex

  I've updated my business website to include links for Essex. Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tech Tuesday: What would you like to see on a Connecticut genealogy tourism website?

   I've playing with the idea of genealogy tourism for a while. I've traveled to my ancestor's home towns before but never in an organized manner. I've been lucky enough to be able to speak the language and to understand how the archives work. But I couldn't do this in all of my ancestors' homes.
   In addition to wondering about how it might benefit me, I've also wondered about how genealogical tourism might benefit Connecticut. We're the "hometown" for much of the country. I've seen suggestions of great genealogical tourism websites, including  from Oklahoma and Scotland (thanks to APG members!), but I'm not quite sure what the best way to build one for Connecticut would be. We're not foreign - and a lot of our research is available online. What would you like to see from a Connecticut genealogy tourism website?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Military Monday: Civil War Manuscripts, Connecticut Historical Society

   Doing some research today, I stumbled across what might be an invaluable resource if you have Connecticut Civil War ancestors. The Civil War Manuscript Project was compiled by the Connecticut Historical Society in the early 1990s. It is a finding aid to the Society's manuscript. In short:  you can search the project to find out if the Society holds a letter written by or to your ancestor and what that letter's about. You can then contact the Society for more information. What a great resource!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Church Record Sunday: First Church of Christ, Old Saybrook

  The First Church of Christ in Saybrook bills itself as the original church of the Saybrook settlement. According to the history section of the church's website, the present building - which dates from 1840 - is the fourth incarnation of a church first established in the small fort.
   Church records are a bit scattered. Some of the church records are held by the Old Saybrook Historical Society, which does research for $10 per hour. Others are in publication form, accessible from a local bookstore. According to an article on American Ancestors, records are also part of the state church record index.
   Happy research!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Society Saturday: Connecticut Ancestry Society and Southwestern Connecticut

  I thought I knew about most of the Connecticut genealogy societies, but as it turns out, I was wrong. If you had family from Southwestern Connecticut (near Stamford), there's a society just for you. The Connecticut Ancestry Society was founded in 1954. Most of their work is locally oriented: they run regular workshops and advocate for records preservation. However, if you're cross-country, there may still be a reason to join. Their scholarly journal publishes articles on families in that region. It may even include yours!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Follow Friday: New England Travels

  It's official... I love travel blogs when they "show" me where my ancestors lived. New England Travels is one of these blogs. Written by a New England based travel writer, the blog offers mini-histories of different towns through their landmarks. I've separated the extensive postings just down to Connecticut. While I have seen some critiques as to the blog's accuracy, the basic histories seem to be good. I loved the story of Chester (which is definitely true). I just wish I could identify my relatives in the photos - a few served as extras. The Middletown post was also a gem. I've been by that statute many times and knew nothing about it. My only complaint - please use citations. I'd love to know where your information comes from!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

website updated with Deep River genealogy links

 My business website has been updated with links to Deep River genealogy websites. Happy research!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Deep River, Connecticut

  The realization that I knew nothing about Deep River convinced me it was time to do research. Deep River began life as part of the large town of Saybrook.
   According to the blog Historic Buildings of Connecticut, Deep River was once home to the ivory trade. The blog mentions the manufacture of ivory combs, but I also remember hearing about the production of pianos. In fact, I think the factory was still there when I was child. There's a nice photo of one factory on Connecticut History Online.
   Like all Connecticut River towns, Deep River also likely had some fishing and shipping. At least the images of Connecticut History Online suggest that...
   So what else do you know?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kids and Genealogy Online Resources: Tech Tuesday

   I've been doing a lot of adult genealogy teaching, but I've started to wonder what resources might be available for teaching children. Turns out there are a ton!
 1)  About Genealogy offers a list of sites with beginner lessons for child genealogists. Many of these sites have a parent or grandparent in mind.

2) Family Tree Kids! is the child oriented website of Family Tree Magazine. It teaches the child to act as a genealogist through a series of activities. (The teacher site is somewhat outdated, but the child's version is still functional...)

3) Blogger Jennifer shares worksheets she uses to teach her children about different aspects of her family history on Climbing My Family Tree.

4) The Allen County Public Library offers a list of genealogy books for children.

and I'm just getting started. Can anyone recommend a great genealogy picture book? What are your favorite sites?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Military Monday: Wreaths Across America (TM) and How do you honor the military service of a veteran ancestor?

  (Disclaimer: I am part of a group actively involved in organizing a Wreaths Across America TM ceremony.)

So, Wreaths Across America TM is coming up next Saturday and that got me to thinking...
    
     First of all, what's that? I'm going to take the following from a press release written by a local organizer, Ellen Halstedt (with permission), since she explains better than I can: 
  
Twenty years ago the Worcester Wreath Company in northern Maine donated hundreds of wreaths which were placed on the graves of Veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.  This simple wreath-laying event has grown over the years and has become a tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families – a symbolic way to show appreciation for our freedoms. 

    The idea is pretty simple. Local groups hold a short ceremony and then  honor deceased veterans by placing donated wreaths on their graves.While a donated wreath cannot be placed on a specific grave, a family can bring wreath to the ceremony. You can find a local ceremony at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. 
Since the holiday season is the time when we tend to remember our pasts - and our ancestors - it can be a great way to pause and honor their service. (And yes, I know I sound like a PR coordinator - I've been participating in publicizing the event - but I also believe it!)

So what was I thinking? How do you commemorate the service of a veteran ancestor? Is it through service in a lineage organization? It is through flag placing on Memorial Day?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fun with Search Terms...

 Thanks again to Amy Coffin for the idea. I'm reprising a "Fun With Search Terms," because guess what? I have fun writing them. And I always learn a ton. So here are this week's search terms...

1)Connecticut Town Historians
    These are useful people to know. While the position is not common in cities, most towns have a town historian. This person is the local  repository of knowledge on the town's past. Technically, the job only covers the town's history, but most town historians also know a lot about local genealogy. Best place to find their names? The website of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.

2) Luther Burke, Durham
    Someone adopted an oft-recommended search technique with this one... Google. I wrote about Luther Burke in a "Tombstone Tuesday"  entry. Does anyone know more about him? 

3) Civil War Tombstones Deep River
     Oops... I don't think I've actually done an entry on Deep River (originally part of Saybrook). Here's your best resource - the Deep River Historical Society.

4) Favorite mystery novels 2012
   Okay, that's what I get for talking about my love of genealogy related mysteries. Does anyone have any new ones to share?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Follow Friday: The Enos Kellogg Homestead

  This was a new one for me. A family in Norwalk has recorded their efforts to restore an 1784 home on a blog. Called The Enos Kellogg Homestead, the blog traces the restoration project from start to finish.  Recent posts have covered damage from Hurricane Sandy and views of the house in the late 19th century (from an inherited album).  Some posts are more detailed than others, such as the post on the extensive process of rehabilitating the "milk room."
  So why should you care? For some of us, it's just the fact that we love old homes. For others, it may be the fact that you're descended from a Kellogg or Comstock. It's possible that your ancestor lived there. Happy reading!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Those Places Thursday: West Hartford Photo Identification

   As it turns out, Ellington is not the only Patch.com site with a weekly photo identification contest. If you love playing with old photos of your "home towns," you may enjoy West Hartford's "A Moment in Time" column. Using collections from the Noah Webster house, the Patch.com site's editor posts a weekly photo and challenge question. See if you can answer by clicking on the above link. It's a fun way to test your local history knowledge.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Google Reader

   So what's Google Reader? Created by Google, the Reader allows you to look at all the blogs you've subscribed to at once. To add a blog, click on "posts" or "all comments"  under subscribed, and then click on Google. That will make the blog available in Reader.
  Once you're into your Reader account (accessible from the bar on the Google homepage, assuming you have a Google account), you'll be able to see a list of the newest posts from each blog. Click on the posting title to read the post. Once that page is open, you'll be able to scroll down to read more on the blog or click on your subscriptions (to the side) to read a new blog.
   While this may not be new territory to a long time blog reader, I hope it's useful to the rest of you. I'm still trying to decide if I like the notification telling me what I haven't read yet. It's always a high number!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Motivation Monday: Write It Down, Please...

   I've been piecing together the life story of an ancestor. I've been relatively lucky. I have a lot of written sources for this family - from memoirs, to local newspapers, to family association records - but I'm also missing a lot. Why?
   There were two main reasons. My ancestors were busy people. Working the farm, attending to your family, and attending to the town didn't leave much time. They didn't write much down until they were elderly (the youngest was in their early 80s). And they wrote what they assumed their children didn't know. I've got great descriptions of my ancestors' childhoods. But things get much thinner when I need information about their adult lives.
  They assumed their children would tell those stories. Unfortunately, they assumed wrong. Some of their children wrote, but like many children, they saw themselves at the center of their own childhood. How often did you know about your parents' relationship or where they met? Others were just too busy. In those families, the tradition fell away.
  So, to my plea... Don't leave those gaps in your children's genealogy. Write a letter to a child or grandchild. It doesn't have to be long. Just give the basic details about your life, about what you remember. Yes, they'll still miss a lot - but at least they'll have something. And if they don't care now, put in the safety deposit. Maybe you'll save them a few "I wish I'd asked."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shopping Saturday: Christmas Fairs

  I've been able to indulge in one of my favorite shopping experiences recently - the Christmas bazaar or fair. These may be a nationwide tradition, but they seem to be especially common in New England. Designed as fundraisers for the local churches, they showcase the work of church crafters, baked goods, silent auctions, white elephant sales and more.  Sadly, as the average church population ages, it's harder to find people to staff these bazaars... and they're starting to change a bit in structure.  More and more provide space for commercial vendors instead of the church itself.
   But one of these bazaars always makes me wonder. What was it like 100 years ago? Did these bazaars exist? I know they've been around for at least fifty years. What were they like then?

Website updated: Chester Links added

   I've added some links to Chester webpages on my business website. Please let me know if I've missed anything.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Follow Friday: Hidden in Plain Sight

   Okay, it's official... I know nothing about Litchfield. Fortunately, the blog Hidden in Plain Sight is offering me the opportunity to take care of that. The author profiles different aspects of life in Litchfield through both words and images. Recent posts covered John Brown (I bet you didn't know he grew up in Connecticut!), a local portraitist, and more. I love the level of detail in these post and how well the images correlate to the words. My only "complaint" would be that you're not sure what the blog is going to cover next, whether it be people or places. Great read!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Motivation Monday: Update to last week's post and Durham, CT resources

   Well, I finally took my own advice. I mentioned in last week's post that I hoped genealogists would take the time to update the FamilySearch Wiki. Many beginners start there, and it's a good way to give back. I noticed recently that my blog was coming up in searches for Durham, Connecticut. I write a lot about Durham, but often, not in a way that a beginner could use. Maybe it was time to fix that.
   So I spent some time updating the FamilySearch Wiki page. Here's the updates - I added to what others had begun - and I hope they're helpful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Genealogy Mysteries?: My Favorite Mystery Novels...

   I'm a bit of a "cozy" mystery addict. (For those of you who don't know, cozies are light murder mysteries. No gore, just a good story.) And recently, I've been noticing a trend. A lot of cozy writers have begun weaving family stories into their novels. Sometimes the detail adds flavor to a story; others, it's key to the story.
   Here are a few of my favorites. Have I missed anything?

Melissa Bourbon, Magical Dressmaking Mystery Series: The characters in this series are endowed with magical gifts, courtesy of their common ancestor - Butch Cassidy. Harlow Jane Cassidy, the main character, uses her magical gifts to help solve mysteries in her Texas town. Here's the author's website.

Sheila Connolly, The Orchard Series: Meg, the main character of the series, solves murder mysteries while exploring the history of her inherited home.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday: Don't Forget Your Local Genealogist :)

  I think I've heard Small Business Saturday mentioned at least a hundred times this year... And I'm glad for it. For those of you who don't know what I'm taking about, the premise is pretty straight forward. You shop at local businesses. Because they buy locally and pay local taxes, it benefits your local economy. Neat, right?
  Just wanted to share a quick reminder that local business can include your local genealogist. Stuck on a research problem, want to give a great gift (warning- it may be too late for Christmas, but there's always next year...), or have someone else do the work? Check out www.apgen.org to find a genealogist near you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Follow Friday: Revolutionary CT

  Founded by the Connecticut Sons of the American Revolution and a group of museums and historic sites, RevolutionaryCT.com is designed to encourage Connecticut residents to explore their Revolutionary heritage. Much of the site is tourism oriented. For example, the site helps tourists "letterbox" their way through historic sites. (If, like me, you didn't know what letterboxing is... Here's an explanation.) However, there are some nice features for those who can't visit. "Featured Places" profiles historic homes or people related to the war.  A "Timeline" traces the Revolutionary War experience of the men who owned the house museums. The "Gallery" offers images from the collections of these museums. "Blog" is largely aimed at house museums and reenactors but is worth a read if you're interested in finding about how the site runs. RevolutionaryCT.com  is just getting started... but it shows a lot of promise.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Ellington photo identification

   Happy Thanksgiving! I stumbled across this Patch.com column while looking for a new blog and thought it might provide a fun puzzle for those of you with Ellington roots. "A Moment in Time" posts new photos every week and challenges readers to identify them. Most are of buildings but a few are of people. Here's a recent photo. Consider this a break from the turkey :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Thankful for Connecticut's Past

 
Since it's close to Thanksgiving, I thought I would share my favorite features of Connecticut landscaping... the stone walls!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Suggestions for Historical Society/Genealogy Group Facebook Pages

  As part of my persistent attempts to organize my files, I went through my Facebook news feed and likes list. I ended up removing many of the pages. And there were many I never added. Why?
  1. There isn't  a page. Some groups are not comfortable establishing a webpage, blog or Facebook page. They stick to a mailbox and a phone number. Believe it or not, people tend to be more patient about the turnover time it takes to answer emails than the time it takes to return a phone call. Provide a page that, at the very least, lists an email address. 
  2. The page hasn't been updated.   I will gladly hunt down a page, but if it hasn't been touched in three years, I'm going to assume the page (and the group) aren't active. Make sure to update your page at least once a month. We'll want to know you're still there. 
  3. The page only includes things interesting to the members of the group. If your page is going to be all about people already in the group, you may want to consider making it private. Why? Because your Facebook page acts like an entrance to your business. Covering the page with information of interest only to members is like pasting a "members only" sign on the front door. 
  4. You've not made it clear what the benefits of joining your group would be. Make it clear why I want to join your Facebook page. Are there interesting conversations? Clear indications of what your group does? An interesting enough Facebook page may lead me into paying to join your group. 
  5. You don't reach out. Help me find what I want to know by linking to other pages. It's a nice "touch" to your page.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Motivation Monday: Bored? Consider updating the FamilySearch Wiki

  I recently received an exiting announcement from FamilySearch. They've made it much easier to update a Wiki article. Instead of doing the formatting yourself (something I struggle with doing correctly!), you can now submit a fill-in the blank form. A volunteer will transcribe the information for you. You can read the announcement here.
  Why do I care? Because the FamilySearch Wiki is used by beginners as a way to research new locations. I used it to search several Connecticut towns recently and discovered that many haven't been finished. They're useless - researchwise. But that's some that can be easily fixed. Have an interest in a town? Consider sharing it. You'll be helping the whole genealogy community.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Website update: East Haddam links added

  Just a bit of an update. I've added East Haddam links to my Middlesex County links list. Please check it out, and let me know what I've missed. I'm always looking for new resources!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Follow Friday: CT Monuments.net

  I think I may have profiled CT Monuments.net  months ago, but with Veteran's Day fresh on our minds, I thought it might be worth a second look. The site - which is readable as both a blog and a website - consists of profiles of Connecticut monuments. The front page reads like a typical blog. A September post covers Connecticut monuments at Antietam battlefield. The first part of the post serves as an overview, listing all the monuments related to Connecticut. For example, you can read a basic description of the monument for the 8th Connecticut. Click on the monument's subheading, and you'll be treated to a more detailed description. It won't give you a history of the monument, but you can see discover the monument through the tourist's eyes. Want to use the site as a website? There are tabs right under the page title that will allow you to look at all monuments of a certain war. Click on World War II, and you'll be able to read about Connecticut monuments as well as monuments made by Connecticut manufacturing companies. Think your ancestor might be recorded on a war memorial? Here's your chance to virtually visit.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Veterans Memorial Green, Middletown

  I've driven by the Veterans Memorial Green for years and had always wondered about its history. I knew it contained war memorials, but I knew little else. According to the City of Middletown's website, the park is 4.1 acres, containing memorials to veterans of every war. A 1985 historic register nomination is a little more explicit: the eastern park monument was to veterans of the Civil War; the western to the veterans of the first World War.The 1904 Civil War memorial is described in detail on the Connecticut Historical Society site.
   Now if I could only manage to take photos... There are a few on Flickr, in the meantime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tech Tuesday: FamilySearch.org My Source Box

   Did you know it is possible to save documents if you're working on FamilySearch while away from home? Make sue you have an account before you get started. To create an account, click on "Sign in" and then "Create a New Account."  Once you have that, log-in. The  "My Source Box" will appear when you've opened a search result.  Click on "Add to my Source Box" to save the item. Once you're home, log in again. You'll be able to find your "Source Box" by clicking on your user name.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Military Monday: A Civil War Research Problem

  In the spirit of Veterans Day, I thought I would share a research problem (even though it does not involve a Connecticut ancestor). While I do a fair amount of Civil War research, I have an ancestor who continues to avoid my searching. That ancestor lived in a region of Maryland bordering North and South, although his home was technically in the North. When the war came, he went South. And that's all I know.
   I've tried a few things. My first step was searching the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database. The only person of that name from Maryland fought for the Union Army and lived in a different region than my ancestor did. I've also tried to find his death information. My ancestor supposedly died in Petersburg, VA soon after the battle. I've checked Find A Grave without success.
  So what would be your next step?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day!

  Happy Veterans Day (or in the old term, Armistice Day!). Today is our day to remember the service of the nation's veterans. Do we know who in the family fought? What efforts have we made to understand their service?
   If the answer is no and nothing, today is a good day to start. There are some great resources online to teach you how to research your family's military ancestors. Ancestry.com offers an online class on using their military databases. The lecture is designed for their American databases. I prefer a little more systematic course - studying war by war - but if you just need a starting point, this may be it. FamilySearch offers even more options. There are 30 online courses that mention military records. Many are basic "how-to" courses or do not cover American records, but take a look. You're liable to find something help.
   And as always, I'm willing to try to answer any questions.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fun with Search Terms Leads to New Resources

  I started out this post intending to another fun with search terms... but this time, I learned something.
Here were the search term: "Connecticut quarterly genealogy." I know why my blog turned up - one of the historical society's I write about calls their newsletter the quarterly. Combine it with my blog title, and you can guess the rest. What I didn't know was what the Connecticut Quarterly was.
  Turns out, the Connecticut Quarterly was a magazine published in the late 1890s. Its official title makes reference to art, literature, and history. While many of the features are pure fiction, others are historical, discussing local beaches, family history and more. One edition is available on Google Books. If you want to learn more about late 19th century Connecticut, this appears to be a good resource.
  And blog reader - thanks for getting lost.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Follow Friday: Best of New England

While the blog is clearly intended for travel (where else do you see "Best Five Mountain Bike Trails?"), Yankee Magazine's Best of New England has some nice features for genealogists. Click on "History" (under categories) to sort the posts. You'll be treated to a great article on historic hurricanes in New England, an article aimed at tourists to Boston, and one on the most beautiful cemeteries. While the cemetery article seems to be a little more touristy, I loved the hurricanes... Happy reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: Godfrey Memorial Library, Bible Collection

   Hidden treasures are the best, aren't they? It's rare that you find new documents or sources about your family... The rarity makes them that much more special. While many of these "hidden treasurers" are in your home or with close relatives, a few may be housed in libraries or archives.
 The Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown houses one such treasure chest. Godfrey long collected family Bibles. While their collection is eclectic, it provides a starting point in your search for possible treasure. They can be contacted here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Talented Tuesday: Beatrix Ferrand

   Talented landscape Beatrix Ferrand (read her full biography here) was not a Connecticut native, although she had a significant impact on the state. According the Beatrix Ferrand Society, she was born in New York. The biography explains that she went on to build a career in landscape design during a period when women were not often welcome in the field. Ferrand traveled across the country, but she designed a number of gardens within the state.
   Many of the better known gardens throughout the state were designed by Ferrand.  Yale University's gardens were created by Ferrand during the 1920s and 1930s. According to the University's website, she was hired by Yale in 1923- their first paid landscaper - and worked on the grounds for sixteen years. Those grounds have undergone changes over the years, but efforts have been made to reconstruct the campus. The most recent were traced in a 2012 Yale Daily News article. She also worked on gardens in the Hill-Stead Museum and Harkness Memorial State Park. Her Harkness Garden is my favorite.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Town Profile: Rockfall

   Located on the edge of Wadsworth State Park, the village of Rockfall (despite having its own post office) is actually part of Middlefield. Like Middlefield, it has a long agricultural history. Rockfall was also home to many of the town's industries, which made use of water power on its rivers.
   Looking for Rockfall records? Before the Civil War, you'll need to start in Middletown. After, records will be in Middlefield. Happy hunting!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fun with Search Terms...

  I'm borrowing a post theme from Amy Coffin of We Tree. In her "Fun with Search Terms!" posts, she comments on the (anonymous) searches people make that turn up her blog. Sometimes she offers more information, in case they come back. You can see an example here.
   My turn! The following are a few of the recent search terms that found my blog. And yes, in most cases I can help.
  1) Connecticut genealogy blog
     Entering this will probably bring up a Connecticut State Library blog, but there are a lot of genealogy blogs out there. Check out my (partial) list here.
  2) Harkness Memorial State Park
      Disclosure: this is one of my favorite places in Connecticut, so I write about it a lot. But what you probably wanted is the state park's website. Here's the address: http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325214&depNav_GID=1650.
  3) Genealogy for Gillette Castle
      Okay, my posts on Gillette Castle were more history than genealogy. But there's a nice biography on the park's website.

Happy reading!



Friday, November 2, 2012

Follow Friday: Fresh Pickin's

  I don't normally follow university archival blogs. For some reason, most university blogs revolve around university events instead of the contents of their collection. If you're not there, it's useless.
  Fresh Pickin's incorporates both sides of the university archival blog. Many of the posts are announcements about changing exhibits, archives month and more. A few, however, are gems.  A September post offered pre-1912 photos of Mansfield. Another post offers links to primary documents being used in History Day. Enjoy the read!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Property Cards

  Looking for land records? An alternate way to find information about a property is the town's property cards. While they don't list every owner - most cover only back to the mid-1970s - or adjacent properties, they do provide detailed descriptions of the property. Many property cards  include images of the home and a few other fun details. It may not be as detailed as the land records, but the property cards are still fun... and they're often available on the town's website. Check out the tax assessor's office

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Talented Tuesday: James Wadsworth of Durham

    Do you have a "James Wadsworth" in your family tree? If so, chances are high that your family is from the Durham area. There are two well known figures in the Wadsworth family line: James Wadsworth, Sr. was a founder of Durham, while his namesake was a major figure in the American Revolution.
   James Wadsworth lent his name to the area's Daughters of the American Revolution chapter and information on his life can be found on their website. According to the site, Wadsworth served first in Conteninental Congree, then distinguished himself as a soldier, and finally as a judge.  He served honorably in each of these roles.
   For me, the most interesting part of Wadsworth's life comes in his interaction with a man named Jack Arabus. An enslaved man, Arabus was cited in a newspaper article as having served during six years of the American Revolution. The author explains that he was promsied freedom in exchange for his service. It didn't happen. Wadsworth role in the story is described here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivation Monday: Organizing Electronic Files

  I've recently been faced with cleaning out my teaching files. What a mess! I have a multitude of handouts, my teaching notes, photos and more. I'm gradually trying to sort through the documents and decide what to keep and what to delete. My hope is that eventually I'll be able to locate what I need quickly.
  Like my paper sorting, this has required me to establish some ground rules.

1) Is it the version I'm currently using? For some strange I kept the original draft of my documents.
2) Have I touched it in a few years? I keep old project files. Some are great options for journal articles. Others really should be deleted. If I haven't touched it, it's time to decide if it's going to be useful.
3) Should it be stored somewhere else? Something are better on a back-up drive.

What are your rules?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday: Connecticut's Underground Railroad

  Today we view them as heroes, but in the 19th century, they were breaking the law.  Connecticut men and women helped escaped slaves move north on what has become known as the Underground Railroad. While many are unknown, some have their lives documented as part of the Freedom Trail. 
    Interested in a family or home documented as being on the Underground Railroad? There are some great sites available. Check out the Connecticut Museum Quest for a visitor's view. An old Hartford Courant article explains how a site was chosen for inclusion on the trail. And Historic Buildings of Connecticut  explains the history of the houses.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Surname Saturday: Joshua R. Warren, Lyme

  Judge Joshua R. Warren was born  to Moses Warren Jr. and Mehitable Raymond in the late 1700s. Joshua's father was  a Revolutionary War veteran, and Sons of the American Revolution applications provide most of the information on Ancestry.com. A few more details of his life are available in a profile of his grandson in an 1898 book. He was a local judge of probate, a state legislator, and a veteran in the War of 1812. Joshua died in 1854 and is buried East Lyme with his wife Harriet.
    As far as I know Joshua had two children: a girl and a boy. Am I missing anyone?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Follow Friday: GenBlog

  Written by Julie Cahill Tarr, GenBlog  covers topics in genealogical research. Posts feature lists of useful articles, resource links, and book reviews. The author is a professional genealogist. Posts reflect her interests. They're worth a read just in case your interests overlap.
   So why am I recommending a general genealogy blog? Because one of her recent posts covered Connecticut links. It's not useful if your family arrived in the 1800s. If they came any time before, take a look. She's covered many sources for colonial records.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Being the Student (even when I'm supposed to be teaching...)

  I get to teach genealogy on a regular basis. While I enjoy sharing the subject, I've started to appreciate something else more: student questions. I don't know everything, and my students' questions never cease t make me aware of that. I get questions about everything from the format of the Hartford Courant databases (yes, it is online) to the contents of the U.K. census. It's hard to admit you don't know everything, but this has become a great learning opportunity. I've delved into subjects I never would have covered.
   My lesson: take the opportunity to teach. Share your genealogy with your family. Write an article. You may find out what you don't know... but you'll learn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: 1939 to 1949 Connecticut death records

  If you've tried to search for death records for the period between 1939 and 1949, you've probably hit a dead end. Why? Records for that period are not available online. You have two options for locating them "off-line." If you know the town where the death took place, you can order the records from the town clerk. If you don't, contact the State Vital Records Office. The state maintains duplicate copies of vital records. It also has an index to records - crucial in locating a record. Good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Military Monday: War of 1812 Records

  How many of us know anything about the War of 1812?  The PBS.org website provides a nice overview as a part of the website accompanying the "War of 1812" film.  I've heard a few versions of the history, including the "Second War of American Independence" and the "forgotten war." Long story short, it was another war with Great Britain, and Connecticut was right in the center.
   What does this mean for your genealogy? Records of the war are helpful in several ways. First and foremost, the history is fascinating. Many Connecticut towns were attacked or burned during the war. Second, even if you don't case about the conflict itself, his pension can provide a stepping stone. His records - including pension files - can take you a generation further back.
  Only a few records can be accessed online. Check out the beginning of a collection on Fold3.  Others can be ordered from the National Archives. Happy research!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday: Old Newgate Prison

   Believe it or not, one of Connecticut's oldest prisons was actually underground. According to a state of Connecticut site, the Old New-Gate prison started life as a copper mine. In the 1770s, it was converted to a prison. Prisoners lived in the mine's old tunnels. Conditions were poor, and the prison was closed in the 1820s.
   There are some great histories of the prison online. The Colebrook Historical Society describes several of the infamous escapes. The town of East Granby keeps an events calendar. If you have an ancestor who "lived" in Old Newgate, it's time to do some research...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sorting Saturday: What books do I keep?

   Every time I review archival and paper storage techniques, I'm left with questions about how to manage family collections. Books are my personal challenge. Most families inherit a mix of books from many eras. Many were popular novels in the era. Some have become classics; others have not.
  As a result, I've tried to develop a system for deciding which books to keep. These are my rules:
    1. Does it directly relate to my family? Personally, I've inherited a genealogy or two and other useful documents.
    2. Is it rare or otherwise unique?
    3.  Am I going to read it?

  What are your rules for deciding what to keep?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Follow Friday: A Preservationist's Technical Notebook

  I skipped right over this blog the first time I saw it, but I'm so glad I decided to take a second look. A Preservationist's Technical Notebook  is part of a website designed around the author's experiences - and business (?) - restoring old homes. Since he's based in Connecticut, his blog posts are hugely relevant to locals.  In one recent entry, he traced the history of the Stone House (Guilford) and the Mansfield House (Middletown).  Other entries describe preservation battles in the area. Definitely worth a read if your family lived in Connecticut for a while.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Starting Research in a New Connecticut town...

   You've probably wondered how I find resources in a new town, when I don't live, work or study in most of Connecticut (I'm Middlesex/New London County focused). Here are a couple of my favorite methods:

  1. Start with Google. Search for the term genealogy + "(insert town name)." You're almost guaranteed to find a few new sites. 
  2. Contact the town's historical society and local library. Most have local collections. Even if they don't, they generally can tell you who to call. 
  3. Connecticut has a few formulaic contacts:
    1. Vital records: town clerk or, in a city, health department.
    2. Land records: town clerk. 
    3. Colonial church records: search for the "First Congregational Church" + town name.
Still stuck? Consider contacting the town historian!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mappy Monday: 18th Century Waterbury, Connecticut

  While I have to admit I find the impetus for this project disturbing, Fortune's Waterbury is worth a read for anyone with ancestors in early Waterbury, Connecticut. The website traces the experience of an enslaved man in early Waterbury. Sections cover religion, slavery, biographies of African-Americans, biographies of slave owners, and maps. The interactive map links points on a static map to images of the original town. Want to know where the old church was? This is a good starting point...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Society Saturday: Killingworth Historical Society

   It's rare you can get a solid introduction to a town's history off a historical society website, but Killingworth Historical Society goes beyond just providing a town history. Founded in 1969, the Killingworth Historical Society's website includes a walking tour, promotions for a recent photography book, photos of recent events and historic buildings... and much more! They also hold regular meetings, provide a venue for historic speakers and do fundraisers. They should be a good source for local questions. And if you're looking for a home for Killingworth related items, they're happy to provide.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Follow Friday: Cathy's Genealogy Blog

   Written by a genealogist specializing in Italian history, Cathy's Genealogy Blog traces the author's personal genealogical experiences. These include her DNA research, her Italian history, and of use to our Connecticut research, her work tracing her mother's early American ancestors. Her blog posts profile a research trip to Connecticut, the history of her family, and visits to cemeteries throughout the area. Even if you're not directly related to her family, you may appreciate her website tracing that trip. Great blog to check out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those Places Thursday Waterbury, CT

  Interested in learning the history of Waterbury's landmarks? It turns out that there are a few sites that offer historical walking tours of town. First up, the City of Waterbury's website. While not exactly a walking tour, this list of "Famous Waterbury Landmarks" provides nice details of the history of various sites around town. And there are a few other options. The Waterbury Time Machine carries images of the town. You can also check out the Waterbury Observer's series on brass's role in the town's history. Happy research!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Waterbury Observer and Waterbury Industries

   Finding good online history of a town's industrial past  can be a challenge. The Waterbury Observer has made researching Waterbury's past much easier. Their website makes it possible to search through previous articles on Waterbury's history. Most include photos and a solid base of research. Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Are you considering joining a lineage society?

   I've talked to several people lately who had considered joining a lineage society but had given up because it was too hard or they didn't know how to do it. Those who did may have given up too soon.  Most lineage societies will offer some sort of help to someone who has a genuine interest in joining. You will have to do your own work (don't plan on getting your genealogy done for free!), but they may be able to offer your some guidance. Check out the group's website for a section on how to be come a member. You can view the DAR's description here.  Once you've done that, reach out to the local group. Good luck!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mappy Monday: Connecticut's disputed border

   Did you know that Enfield once belonged to Massachusetts?  I didn't know until I read the Connecticut State Library's history of the "Southwick Jog." Apparently, the town petitioned to secede because of the high colonial taxes. According to the history, Massachusetts tried to get Enfield back - and failed.
   So what does that mean for the genealogist? Probably not much in the day to day. Vital records were kept locally. According to the Connecticut State Library's town and counties list,    the  town was formed in 1683. The clerk would have started keeping records sometime around that point. Deeds should also have been kept locally, no matter the time period.
   Where you may see a difference is in the records kept on the county level. These were only kept in a few sites. Such sites, however, may not be in Connecticut. Court records, military records, and other colonial records may be in Massachusetts. Consider checking with the Massachusetts State Archives for records prior to 1749.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday: Tory's Den, Burlington

   I first visited Tory's Den while on a local trip. At the time, the name seemed a little weird - and admittedly I didn't take it seriously. Would tories (British supporters during the American Revolution) actually have hid out in a cave? The short answer is yes.
  Of course, the story is a little more complicated. You can read the full  back story on Connecticut Museum Quest but according to the article, there is a short version. Farmers in the surrounding reason ran afoul of the local patriots for various reasons, usually for crimes such as refusing to pay a fundraising tax. An angry patriot could mean problems. They hid rather than risking personal harm. Read the full story, and you may discover the true story of why your ancestors were called "tories."
   If nothing else, you may understand why Tory's Den is considered a place to visit by the Courant's reporters...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Society Saturday Colchester Historical Society

  Back to Colchester, CT... (Yes, I'm still using my Google maps.) As I mentioned in a previous post, Colchester was founded in 1698. The Colchester Historical Society lays out a detailed history of the town. As the site indicates, the town began as an agricultural community and remained so through the late 19th century. Like many other "rural" towns, Colchester became a resort community and then a bedroom community. In short, it mirrored life in many other Connecticut towns.
  But every town has things that make it unique, and the Colchester Historical Society is trying hard to protect those features. The Society maintains several museum problems, hosts an annual festival, and has started to sort through an extensive research collection. Check out their Facebook page for more information. Right now, the genealogy options are somewhat limited to visiting the museums, but it shows lots of potential!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Follow Friday: Old Hartford

  Old Hartford may not be a website, but it's still worth a "Follow Friday." An open group on Facebook, Old Hartford  is a space for anyone interested in the history of Hartford. I've only been on the group for a few weeks, but I've already been treated to images and movies of Hartford in the past, questions about history and more. Thanks for a wonderful group!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Guilford, CT

   I love tour videos for one reason only: if you can't visit a place that your ancestors lived, these videos can give you a chance to virtually "see it." Guilford has produced one such video. While it's more relocation promo than history lesson, it is a way to see part of town. And there are some nice shots of the Green in the fall...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Noah Webster

   Connecticut doesn't have a wordsmith like Benjamin Franklin, but we do have a historic figure with an equally great influence on language. Heard of Webster's Dictionary? Noah Webster, the first author, was native of Connecticut. Born in West Hartford, he spent most of his life in New Haven. The Noah Webster birthplace in West Hartford provides a full sketch of his life.
   If you think you may be descended from Webster, you have several options for learning about his life. The West Hartford site has a collection of his items, stored in his birthplace. The New Haven Museum holds a small collection of his papers, including notes for the first two letters of his dictionary. Others are held by Amherst College. He is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven. There, he is featured among the prominent burials, and maps make it possible to locate his gravesite.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Accessing Connecticut newspapers

   We've all used newspapers as an alternative to vital records. But how do you go about accessing those newspapers?
   1. Visit news.google.com/archivesearch. A way to search the older postings on Google News, this search option probably provides the fastest way to search Connecticut newspapers. The statewide coverage of sites is spotty, but it does have The New London Day for the early 1900s. The ability to search names and towns is a huge help.
  2. If you live in Connecticut, you can access the Hartford Courant databases (the main state newspaper) through www.iconn.org.
  3. Looking for a 19th century newspaper? The Connecticut State Library offers a nice selections online.
  4. Still stuck? Contact the public library in the nearest large town or city. Chances are high they have microfilm of the major local paper - or can tell you how to access it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Motivation Monday: Getting Started Writing....

   I have an ancestor with a fantastic story. Child of immigrants, he lived an incredible life of his own.  Part of it has been maintained in family lore, but since he died without descendents, that lore is missing a few details. That's where the genealogists' role comes in.
   I've been procrastinating on writing that ancestor's story for a while now. There's a draft sitting in notebook near my feet... and I'm reaching the bottom of my to-do list. It's almost time to get started.
   So which leads me to my question: how do you get started?

These are my tips - thus far:
   1. Bring a notebook with you when you travel. At least you'll eventually be forced to start.
    2. Make sure you can see that notebook when it's time to start typing... (Guilt trip!)

And I'll let you know when I manage to start!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Church Record Sunday: First Congregational Church Guilford

   I know New England churches had a long history, but this one's older than most. According to its website, the First Congregational Church  of Guilford was founded in 1643. Like many Congregational churches, it went through various religious changes. Today, it is part of the United Churches of Christ. Of course the building isn't quite that old. According to a history of the church, the current church dates to 1830  It has features typical of the period, although some are 1930s era replacements. According to that history, the steeple was lost in the 1938 hurricane. This mix of architectural and social history created a legacy that influenced all the surrounding towns.
   Why? Because many were formed from Guilford. That means your  colonial and early American ancestors may actually have a church record in Guilford. To access them, you'll probably want to start with the Connecticut State Library's slip index or a microfilm from the Family History Library. But read carefully. Many towns split off in the 1700s. You can read each church's records to find the foundation date or work in the opposite direction and look for the splits.
Happy research!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Society Saturday: Great Connecticut Historical Societies and Libraries

    A recent discussion on a genealogy listserv set me to thinking... What are your favorite features of local libraries and historical societies? What societies do something exceptionally well? I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
   1. Middlesex County Historical Society: The Historical Society holds the collections of genealogist Frank Farnsworth Starr. His extensive notes provide hints into the genealogy of Middletown families.
   2. East Haddam Historical Society: With hard working volunteers, the Historical Society has built a great collection of East Haddam material from Moodus (yes, that's part of East Haddam) to Millington. Most of it is not available anywhere else.
   3. Durham Historical Society : How can I praise the collections of a historical society when I've never used their written collections? Because their oral history knowledge is fantastic. Have a question about Durham? The board can probably answer it - or tell you who in town can.

What historical societies or libraries would you recommend? Share your favorites.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Follow Friday: Norwich Nuggets

  From Norwich? Yes, there is a blog for you. The Norwich Bulletin plays host to Norwich Nuggets. Written by Beryl Fishbone, a local historian, the blog covers the events of the Leffingwell House Museum and the history of Norwich. Recent posts focused more on the museum than anything else. However, dig a little deeper, and you'll find some interesting material. Fishbone has published cousin connections, history of the local tavern and more. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Connecticut Trolley Museum

   This is another one on my "I really should have been to by now..." list. Located in East Windsor, The Connecticut Trolley Museum presents trolley cars from the 1890s through the 1950s (when buses took over...). According to the website, it was founded in 1940 as a way to preserve a fast disappearing part of American life. In house exhibits trace the full history of the trolley, while outside, visitors can take a street car ride. It looks like fun, but what caught my eye even more was the blog.
  If you're interested in trolleys, streetcars, and more, check out their blog. Most of the blog covers museum events, but there are some great histories and photos. Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Local Farms in Salem

   As you've probably noticed before, I love celebrating the history of the family farm. Salem has a long history of farming, and a few are still owned by original families. Check out these local farms with great history.
  Salem Herbfarm: Originally owned by the present owner's grandparents, Salem Herbfarm today functions as a nursery. The Herbfarm considers its past part of the charm. It's closed for the season, but check out their website.
   Salem Valley Farms: I wasn't able to find out much about its history, but I know the shop has been around for awhile. It has lost its herd of cows in the last few years but still makes its own ice cream. Check out their website for flavors! It's not every ice cream shop that gets reviewed by the New York Times.
   Treasure Hill Farm: Today, the farm is a boarding facility, but the site dates back to the 18th century. Read about its history on the website.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: How do I locate a gravesite in Connecticut?

  Every genealogists has a great story of how finding a gravestone "solved" a brick wall. So how do you find that gravestone in Connecticut?
   1. If your ancestor died after 1930, your best bet is probably the website Find A Grave. However, there are other options. Some towns have public cemeteries. A web search should help provide some hints.
   2. For a burial prior to 1930, you have the option of the Hale Collection. Long story short, it is a long list of gravestone inscriptions. It's available several different ways, including microfilm and website.

If you're looking for an older stone and know the town, try the Hale Collection. Such stones are sometimes missing from Find A Grave. However, if you don't know the town, start with Find A Grave. The Hale Collection lacks a central index. Good luck!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mappy Monday: Salem Plantation

   This was my first time looking for information on Salem Plantation. Haven't heard of Salem plantation? You're not alone. I had only heard rumors of slaveholding in Salem, Connecticut. Maps seemed a good way to start, since they should show me the layout of the farms. Of course, as it turns, the maps don't exist. The plantation had almost disappeared by the early 19th century.
   However, I found something a little better. In 2002, the Hartford Courant ran a complete description of  Salem plantation. It's not a map, but it is a start.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Congregational Church of Salem

  Sometimes the churches predate the formation of the town... And that's true of Salem, according to the church's website.
   While the town of Salem was founded in 1819, the Ecclesiastical Society of New Salem was actually founded in 1725. The Society included residents of Lyme and Colchester. The current church appears to date by 1838. Since 1890, the church has existed independently.
   I'm unclear as to whether the church records are included in the State Library's slip index. You can always contact the church for more information.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Society Saturday: Salem Historical Society

  I've always loved traveling through Salem - and no, I'm not lost, there is a Salem, Connecticut. Of course, that may have something to do with ice cream. (For non-locals, Salem Valley Farms makes very good ice cream!) However, Salem has a much more complicated history, which you can read about on the town's website.
    In the meantime, if you have ancestors from Salem, you have options. The Salem Historical Society is only open a few weekends a year at their house museum in the center of Salem Village. However, a phone call never hurts. Contact information can be found here
   
  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow Friday: Simply Ledyard CT

  Ledyard... Where's Ledyard? (For those of you who don't know, it's due north of Groton, in New London County.) Run by a Ledyard real estate agent, Simply Ledyard CT  provides an overview of life in Ledyard. As a genealogist, you may not be interested in all of the site's content - which include the author's political views and real estate listings- but there are some great things here for you to look at. Check out "Photo Friday" for images of life in town. "Ledyard History" includes some snapshots of the town's past, including its connection to submarines. For a mid-sized Connecticut town, Ledyard is getting some wonderful coverage.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Those Places Thursday: The Institute Library, New Haven

  There's one aspect of blogging I'm starting to fall in love with - finding out new things about Connecticut. I didn't know Connecticut has (or ever had) a subscription library. I've used and loved the collections at Boston's Athenaeum, and it turns out New Haven has an equivalent.
   According to the library's website, The Institute Library was founded in 1826 as a mutual education society for New Haven's apprentices. Formally chartered in 1841, it was a popular literary site in New Haven through the late 19th century. The popularity of the Institute Library declined following the foundation of a free library in the late 1800s, but the Library itself has held on.
   If you don't live in New Haven, why should you care? Because, as is featured on the Institute Library's blog, the library has an extensive local history. Check out the blog for more details.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: How accurate is the Barbour Collection?

     A recent genealogy group question set me to wondering... How accurate is the Barbour Collection, really? There's no secret it's incomplete - seriously incomplete. But, thus far, what I've found has corresponded perfectly with the actual records. (Disclosure: I try to double check.) What has your experience been?
   Why am I wondering? Because I'm in the process of completing a genealogy project that requires copies of my records. Either I submit the certified copies - at $20 a record; head to the State Library; or use the Barbour. Hmm...