The State of Vermont General Services and Records Center
holds an abundance of beneficial resources for Vermont researchers. The services
provided here are outstanding and the organization of the records enables
researchers to find what they want quickly and efficiently. In addition to
having the most open access to vital records in the country, this facility also
keeps probate records, county land records, town records, censuses, indices for
naturalizations and burial transmittals, military records, and much more. This
is a “must-see” repository for all Vermont researchers!
Vermont’s vital record microfilms form the backbone of the
collections genealogists seek. They are actually a card file in alphabetical
order broken down into year ranges: 1760 to 1870; 1871 to 1908; 1909 to 1941;
1942 to 1954; 1955 to 1979; and annually from 1980 to 1997. There is another set
of “revised, delayed, and amended” records. There is also a card index for
divorces covering 1861 to 1968 and then annually to 1997. Keep in mind that
these cards are only a secondary source copied by the town clerks (or county
clerks in the case of divorce) to send into the state. The other large
collection there is the actual town record books (the original records) for all
but a few towns. These records are generally filmed up to 1850 or 1900,
depending on the town. This is always the preferred version of the vital record.
The town record books include town meeting proceedings and most importantly, the
tax list, called the grand list in Vermont. These are annual taxation records
that were usually copied into the town books.
Probate RecordsProbate records are arranged chronologically by
district. Each county is one complete district or is divided into two districts.
These records were microfilmed up to 1850 and in some cases to 1900. One thing
that you cannot find anywhere else (except at the probate court itself) is the
card index to the estate and guardianship records. Most of these indexes go up
to the 1960s, although it varies depending on the district. Some of the indexes
are closed as they contain cards for adoption cases. Most probate docket books
have an index for that in each volume. The only great loss of records is the
Addison District with a fire in 1852, although some records back to 1801 were
Land RecordsLand records are kept on the town level as are most
records generated by the government. It should be noted however that some
early land records were registered at the county level, and subsequent sales of
this land continued to be recorded by the county. I have never been able to
determine why the county kept land records. I would be interested to learn the
reason if anyone has figured it out. Not every county kept the records, but the
ones that exist are kept at this facility. The following list shows everything
available on microfilm in the reference and research room.
Town RecordsTown records form the largest collection of microfilm.
The bulk of the records are proprietors’ records, town meeting minutes, and land
and vital records. The proprietors’ records were the first records generated for
any town. They are usually the minutes of meetings and the division of town land
recorded even before anyone settled in the town. The town meeting records were
the next records created by the town. At first, they included everything but
land records in a single volume. Later they created separate volumes for tax
records, vital records, and other specialized subjects. The land records were
recorded in separate volumes after the proprietors divided the land. There are
normally separate, filmed card files of grantors and grantees. Vital record
volumes appear by 1857, when the state mandated their collection, although
separate volumes were created for some towns prior to that. Allegedly there are
several towns missing from the collection. I know that Fair Haven is one of
WPA SurveysThe Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted
extensive surveys of records in Vermont, which can help locate records moved to
storage at the state or county level. A handful were finalized and published
from 1936 to 1943:
Federal records in Vermont:
Bolton (1939)Charlotte (1939)Essex (1940)
Alburgh, Grand Isle, Isle LaMotte, North Hero, South Hero, Two Heroes,
Alburgh Village (1939)
Belvidere (1940)Cambridge (1941)Eden (1940)Elmore (1941)Hyde
Park (1940)Johnson (1941)Morristown and Sterling Village (1940)Stowe
and Mansfield (1940)Waterville (1939)Wolcott (1939)
Albany (1940)Coventry (1940)Derby (1939)Derby Supplement for
Salem Town, 1781-1880 (1941)
Benson (1941)Castleton (1941)Clarendon (1940)Danby
(1941)Hubbardton (1940)Mt. Tabor (1941)Shrewsbury (1940)Tinmouth
Brookline (1939)Grafton (1941)Jamaica (1941)
The following resources are also available:
A part of the facility that researchers rarely visit is the
records center. A records center generally contains a large volume of temporary
records that the law requires the state to keep for a specified time. There is a
small core collection of permanent records stored in the records center in their
original form and not microfilmed. Most of them are not of genealogical
interest; those records that may be of value are listed below.
The court records they hold vary. A scan of an in-house guide
to the records showed:
Other miscellaneous records of note:
The last major collection consists of all the original
military records of the state. You cannot use the originals anymore because of
their fragile condition; however, the entire collection is microfilmed. A
discussion of the project and a guide to this collection is available online. A detailed guide to the Civil War records is also
The State Records Center is located on Route 2 just west of
the Middlesex exit off from I-89 behind the State Police building.
It is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except
There are nineteen microfilm readers.
The cost of photocopies range from seventy-five cents to
$2.50 depending on the size of the page. If the copy is from the vital records
films, the cost is $3.00 for an “informational” copy. Anything can be certified
for an additional $5.00.
Other services include a mailed request. Vital records and
divorces cost $9.50, which includes a second search into the revised, delayed,
and amended records. If you request a copy from non-vital records, the charge is
$3.00 per microfilm used.
You can even buy any microfilm you can use at the facility.
You can pay by cash, check, money order, or credit cards. The credit card is
surcharged $6.00 and includes VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
You can write them at Public Records Division, Drawer 33,
Montpelier VT 05633-7601. Their telephone is 802-828-3286 or 3701 and the fax is
828-3710. Forms in Word or pdf format are available online.