Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Connecticut Genealogy Book Review: Connecticut Researcher's Handbook

    Note to self - never store the information on books you're intending to review at the bottom of your library bag. You won't find them for months...
     I started looking for a genealogy guide specific to Connecticut this summer and stumbled across Connecticut Researcher's Handbook (Thomas Kemp, Gale Research, Detroit, MI, 1981). This guide is screaming for an update and reissue. It dates from 1981 and is no longer easily obtainable. I found a copy at the local library.
      This book is divided into two sections. The first is a bibliography entitled "Connecticut General Subjects." That portion touches on everything from Jewish history to information on loyalists. While it is now outdated, it is still a valid starting point for research. The second part of Connecticut Researcher's Handbook covers counties and towns. The county pages are somewhat vague. They contain the county organization date, a list of towns within that county, and a list of published works about that county. The town pages are possibly my favorite of the resources. They list the name, county, organization date, and parent town. They follow with cemetery listings - and the appropriate citation for the Hale Collection; transcriptions of census and church records; the name of the library and historical society; the probate district; the coverage of the town vital records collection and more.
     Much of the author's work is now outdated, but a few sections are still of great use. The town clerk's vital record coverage can be almost impossible to determine without help. All towns had to keep records after 1897; some towns started much earlier. Probate districts can also be confusing. Your ancestor's will may be three towns away from his residence because of the probate districts. This guide, although it does not take into account recent changes in districts, can provide a starting point for finding the appropriate court.
     I would love to see this book reissued for the internet age. It has great bones. With a little work, it could be a fantastic current resource.

1 comment:

  1. Are there books you do recommend for genealogy research in Connecticut?