|JULY 2002||Volume 4 Number 3|
Carol Ganz, Librarian I, History and Genealogy
Genealogy is not solely the occupation of people searching for their roots. The sources and techniques lend themselves to a wide variety of uses. Here at the Connecticut State Library we serve many individuals, professional and amateur, searching for genealogical material. Many wish to trace ancestral lines for themselves or clients, but some have other purposes in mind. Family history is part of local history...local history is part of national and world history. When we focus on the human aspects of events, we get a more complete picture. Details learned through genealogical research can fill out the background and context of historical and biographical subjects, suggesting motivation. Recreational activities, medical research, creative writing and many other pursuits can make use of information available to genealogical researchers.
Genealogical research answers questions like...
What does history have to do with my family?
Is there a pattern of illness in my family tree?
What background did this historical person come from and
what effect might that have had on his actions?
Did my ancestors come over on the Mayflower?
How can I make my Civil War reenactment more realistic?
Where did I come from?
Can I solve this puzzle?
Who lived in our house?
Picture Group 320, Clark Photograph Collection of Connecticut Houses, 1885-1890.
This photo, from a collection in the State Archives, shows a house in "Danielsville" (probably Danielson) and the family that lived there in the late 1800's, complete with family dog. The name D. H. Davis appears on the back. More information about the house and family might be found in census or land records, vital records or perhaps a will.
Did my great, great, great, great, great Grandpa fight in the American Revolution?
The Bayonet Charge at Bunker Hill Steele, Joel Dorman. A Popular History of the United States. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1878, p. 154
Researching a Revolutionary War ancestor at the Connecticut State Library can involve the use of a wide variety of materials, including documents in the Connecticut Archives, cemetery indexes, town and church records, rolls and lists, journals, pension indexes and other published materials, town accounts, pay vouchers and microfilm of old newspapers.
Who are these people in the cemetery?
Detail, "General View of Old Burying-ground before Restoration in 1899" Ruth Wyllys Chapter, DAR. Restoration of the Ancient Burying-Ground of Hartford. Hartford, 1904, p. 4.
Cemetery inscriptions can hint at interesting stories to explore. What happened to this family? How are these people related? What was the town like when they lived here? The answers may be in the historical and genealogical materials available at the library.
Names show up everywhere. An antique tool in your collection has a signature engraved on the handle. You found a Civil War letter in an ancient family trunk. A developer wants to tear down the old house on the corner. You need to write a biography as a class assignment. Genealogical research may provide the information you are seeking, and the Connecticut State Library has the materials and knowledgeable staff to help you in your search. For more ideas on answering genealogical questions, visit the History and Genealogy Unit in person or on the web or contact us at the Connecticut State Library, 231 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106; (860) 757-6580.
Using The Library
Search the State Library Catalog Search the State Library Website CSL Research Resources iCONN (CT Digital Library)
Government Information Services History & Genealogy Law & Legislative Reference Library For The Blind & Physically Handicapped
Museum of Connecticut History Public Records Services To Libraries State Archives Connecticut Heritage Foundation (supporting the Connecticut State Library & Museum of Connecticut History)
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
860-757-6500 * Toll-free 866-886-4478