The following important events in the history of Connecticut affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.
- Before 1625 the Dutch built Fort Goede Hoop, also known as Huys de Hoop as part of their New Netherland colony. It was turned over to the English in 1633 and became Hartford.
- 1633: a major smallpox outbreak may have killed 80% of the native population.
- 1633-1636: Puritans from Massachusetts established settlements on the Connecticut River at Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford, by land and sea.
- 1636: Colonist arrive at Saybrook from Massachusetts
- 1638:The New Haven colony was established. New London was founded soon after.
- 1637: Pequot War
- 1658: New Haven passes severe laws against the Quakers.
- 1665: Connecticut (Hartford) Colony and New Haven Colony united.
- 1662: A British royal charter established Connecticut as a colony separate from Massachusetts.
- 1684: Boundary with New York established.
- 1701: Yale College established.
- 1713: Boundary with Massachusetts settled.
- 1723: Settlers arrive at Voluntown, New London County from Scotland. In 1728 Voluntown was transferred to Windham County. In 1883 it changed back to New London County.
- 1729: The Quakers and Baptists exempted from ministerial taxes.
- 1731: Boundary with New York finally settled.
- 1740: By this date all of present-day Connecticut had been settled and organized into incorporated towns, the basic governing units.
- 1760 and before: Settlers from Scotland arrive at Chelsea.
- 1774: Reverand Sampson Occom, a Presbyterian minister organized a migration of Native American out of Connecticut. They removed to Oneida Country near Waterville, New York. They became known as the Brothertown Indian Nation. Members from the Mohegan, Pequot, Narragansett, Montauk, Niantic and Tunxis tribes also joined them. In 1830 they sold their land in New York and moved to Wisconsin.
- 4 July 1776: Connecticut became one of original 13 states.
- 1780-1840: nearly 750,000 people migrated to the west from Connecticut.
- 1786-1800: Connecticut relinquished its claims to western lands, except for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania which Connecticut claimed until 1799, and the Western Reserve in Ohio which it claimed until 1800. Connecticut settlers remained in both areas.
- 1788: Connecticut ratified the Constitution to become a state.
- 1820: The Congregationalists are the most numerous religious sect in the State, Episcopalians next, then the Baptists.
- 1840s: As the factory system developed, thousands of foreign laborers began moving into Connecticut.
- 1861-1865: Connecticut furnished 60,000 troops to the Union Army during the Civil War.
Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, Connecticut public libraries, Connecticut college and university libraries, the Connecticut State Historical Society, and local historical societies.
- Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. FHL book 973 H23bi. Other libraries (Worldcat).
- Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. FHL book 973 A3ka. Other libraries (Worldcat).
State Histories Useful to Genealogists
Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any valid history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the state of Connecticut are:
- Burpee, Charles W.The Story of Connecticut. Four Volumes. New York: American Historical Company, 1939. This is an especially helpful source for studying the history of Connecticut. Family History Library book 974.6 H2b.
United States History
The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:
- Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history. FHL book 973 H2alm. Other libraries (Worldcat).
- Dictionary of American History. Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. FHL book 973 H2ad. Other libraries (Worldcat). A snippet view is available at Google books.
- Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. This includes history, some maps, tables, and other historical information. (FHL book 973 H2v. Limited view at Google Books. Other libraries (Worldcat).
- Writings on American History, by American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921. FHL book 973 H23w. Other libraries (Worldcat). Full text available at Google Books
To find more books and articles about Connecticut 's history, use the Internet Google and search for phases like "Connecticut history." Family History Library Catalog Place Search lists many more histories under topics like:
- CONNECTICUT - HISTORY
- CONNECTICUT. [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- CONNECTICUT, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
- CONNECTICUT, BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Connecticut History Online has photographs, drawings and prints about Connecticut History.
- Connecticut State Library has information about the people in Connecticut's history.
- The Newberry Historical County Boundary Database
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Connecticut Death Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Connecticut Divorce Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)