Illustration of vista and town in Connecticut

Connecticut Research: Four Centuries of History and Genealogy

January 5, 12, 19, 26, 2022
Live Broadcasts 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Christopher C. Child
Ann Lawthers
Melanie McComb

Whether your family connection to Connecticut is 400 years old or 40, there is a treasure trove of genealogical resources waiting for you: vital records have been kept by towns since the early seventeenth century; newspapers have existed since colonial times; and there are thousands of published genealogies, local histories, study projects, and other references that exist for Connecticut research. Yet, Connecticut is not without its challenges. This online course will provide a century-by-century look at the records, resources, repositories, and research strategies that are essential to exploring your Connecticut roots. We will also look at the historical context, settlement patterns, and migrations into—and out of—the state; from colony to statehood.

January 5 - Class 1: 17th-Century Connecticut Research, Ann Lawthers

Many 17th-century Connecticut colonists have been researched and written about, but there remain research challenges: distinguishing people with the same name, deciphering hard-to-read handwriting, understanding unique record sets, and more. This first class will look at the beginnings of Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook Colonies and the people who inhabited the lands prior to colonization. We will provide an overview of the many published genealogical resources and record transcriptions available, demonstrate how to locate and utilize primary sources, and discuss how to overcome common research challenges.


January 12 – Class 2: 18th-Century Connecticut Research, Melanie McComb

The 18th century was a transformative and foundational period for Connecticut: continued colonial conflicts, movement westward, revolution, the abolition of slavery, and ultimately statehood. This session will look at just some of the many records of the era—pre- and post-American independence—including military records, tax lists, census records, newspapers, city directories, and more.


January 19 – Class 3: 19th-Century Connecticut Research, Christopher C. Child

Connecticut experienced even more transformation in the 19th century, from Civil War to the industrial revolution to an increase of immigration from across Europe, and beyond. This class will look at the start and impact of probate districts, the age of the passenger list, pension files, expanded vital records, and less commonly used records.


January 26 – Class 4: 20th-Century Connecticut Research, Christopher C. Child

Continued urbanization and industrialization characterized much of 20th-century Connecticut. This final session will look at records that emerge in the 20th century—including the special WWI Military Census for the state—and the changes in records and record keeping that persisted since the 17th century, with particular attention to the topic of “access” and the go-to repositories for Connecticut research.

Books and Journals
Christopher C. Child
New England
African American
Lineage Societies
Chris Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven.
Education and Programming
Ann Lawthers
Migration Patterns
New England
Mid-Atlantic States
Areas of expertise: New England, New York, Mid-Atlantic states, the southern colonies, Ireland, and migration patterns.
Research and Library Services
Melanie McComb
Eastern Canada
Areas of expertise: Irish genealogy, DNA, Atlantic Canada, Jewish genealogy, and military records.