The Barbour Collection is the best early vital records collection for Connecticut birth, marriage, and death records, aside from town vital records. It’s named after Lucius B. Barbour, Connecticut’s examiner of public records in the early 1900s. It’s a statewide index of Connecticut birth, marriage, and death records listed alphabetically and by towns.
The date ranges vary by town, based on when the town was created and started keeping records. In Connecticut, by law, each town was and still is responsible for keeping and maintaining the birth records, marriage records, and death records for that town.
Barbour, as well as those he enlisted, went town to town copying these vital records. They attempted to compile records through 1850 but some towns have records up to 1870. The Barbour Collection is not complete, and AmericanAncestors (NEHGS) has a great article explaining some known deficiencies.
David Rumsey Map Collection 1855 Map of Connecticut published by Desilver & Butler Cowperthwait
AmericanAncestors has the Barbour Collection published as images from typescripts donated to the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) by Mr. Barbour’s family in 1938. It’s organized first by town, then alphabetically.
Ancestry has the Barbour Collection online searchable by either births, deaths, marriages, or towns and their data comes from The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records,Vol. 1-55, Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002, edited by Lorraine Cook White.
Connecticut Town Clerks have the Barbour Collection and more. They have records from the time the town was formed to the present. There is usually a fee for requesting a record look-up at the town clerk’s office and they may require a request for a certified copy. As far as the specific Barbour Collection goes, according to AmericanAncestors/NEHGS, “a copy was sent to each town clerk. The town books are labeled “The Arnold Copy” and are known to many town clerks only by that name.”
VitalChek doesn’t have the Barbour Collection, per se, but VitalCheck has access to birth, marriage, and death records for a few Connecticut towns for a fee.
FREE options for the Barbour Collection
Several sites have posted free transcriptions of parts of the Barbour Collection. The two websites with the most transcriptions are CtGenWeb and New Horizons Genealogy. I’ve found about one-third of the Barbour Collection town records available online as free transcriptions. (For example, CtGenWeb has Barbour collections posted for Windham County.)
Some libraries and archives, including NEHGS, have the complete set of The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records,Vol. 1-55, Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002, edited by Lorraine Cook White
I’ll be updating this blog with a link to a comparison chart* where you can access the fee & free online Barbour Collection sites. Best in your research whether it’s fee or free!
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