This is the second installment of my discussion on the microtext
records for Connecticut research available at the NEHGS Research
Library. Part one covered vital records and gravestone inscriptions.
This column will cover the general index to probate records and the
probate packages as well as the Connecticut Military Census, and those
bits of Connecticut treated in the Corbin and Cooke collections. All of
the microtext covered in this article can be found on the fourth floor
microtext room in the NEHGS Library in Boston.
Index to Probate Records - (F93/C69)
This is a card index
that resides in the hallway of the History and Genealogy Unit at the
Connecticut State Library. It covers probate packages deposited at the
state archives by local probate judges. These packages have been
microfilmed and are also available at NEHGS.
Each index card
contains the name of the deceased, his or her town of residence, the
year the probate file was opened, the name of the probate district in
which the case is filed, the docket number, and information on just what
types of documents are in the file Each probate package folder includes
a cover sheet listing the number and types of documents included. An
example might be a probate package that includes 1 Will, 1 Inventory, 2
Accounts, 1 Bond, etc.
Probate Packages to 1880 - (F93/C69)
The probate packages are the loose papers associated with an estate
filing. The loose papers often include the original will, bonds,
accounts, distributions, and receipts. They are arranged in order by
probate district, then by docket number within each probate district.
The docket numbers roughly correspond to an alphabetic sequence with
the exception of guardianships. Guardianships for a family of children
are often filed under one child's name. The docket number could either
follow the deceased parent's number or it could turn up under the
child's name. Fortunately, this should not be confusing because docket
cards were filed under each child's name referencing the docket number
under which the paperwork is actually filed.
Not every probate
district in Connecticut was included in the microfilming of these files.
Districts that did not contribute their older files to the state
archives were excluded. Missing from the sequence are a few very old
districts, such as Greenwich and Stamford.
This second round of microfilming is not yet
complete. The NEHGS Library currently has films only through to the New
Haven Probate District.
Connecticut Military Census, 1917-1918
This little gem was a special census made in
order to ready America for entry into World War I by compiling personal
information to be used by draft boards. Every man in Connecticut between
the ages of 16 and 38 had to fill in one of these forms. Thus, if you
have a male ancestor or relative born between 1879 and 1901, you should
be able to find information on him here.
The single-page form
contains identifying information on top followed by a checklist
questionnaire detailing job skills that might be pertinent. For example,
from his check-offs, I learn that my grandfather was not able to drive
either a team of horses or an automobile. After all, he was a city boy
living in Bridgeport. However, he had attended a business school. Later,
this particular set of skills made him a bookkeeper in Pershing's
headquarters. He was 5'10" tall, 148 lbs., and had brown eyes and blond
There are two sets of microfilm reels that comprise the
Connecticut Military Census. The first is on 16-mm reels and is an
index. The second is on 32-mm reels and contains the actual census
The index is arranged by town and alphabetical by name
within each town. So, to get started with the Connecticut Military
Census, you need to know the town in which your ancestor lived in
1917-1918. Each index entry is a card that includes the number of the
census form that person filled out. With this information in hand, you
can consult the forms themselves. The 32-mm forms films are in order by
The little-known Nurses Census is filed separately
under LOC number F93/C67.
Connecticut Towns in the Rollin H.
Cooke Collection - (F72/B5/C66s)
The Rollin H. Cooke
Collection consists of 66 volumes of typescript produced by the Works
Progress Administration (WPA) from the manuscripts of Mr. Cooke, a
banker and genealogist from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. While the works
focus mainly on Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Cooke did include some
Connecticut records in his original ledgers.
Towns in the Walter E. Corbin Collection
Over the course of
thirty years, Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin of Northampton,
Massachusetts copied vital, town, church, deed, cemetery, and private
records for their own use. The collection concentrates mainly on central
and western Massachusetts, but does include some Connecticut towns, all
on reel 43: