Anyone who is researching ancestors in the state of Connecticut soon finds references to "The Barbour Collection." In fact, this is one of the most extensive collections in genealogy and is the definitive source for early Connecticut records.
Lucius Barnes Barbour was the Connecticut Examiner of Public Records from 1911 to 1934. He directed a project in which all the known birth, marriage, and death records to about 1850 for 137 Connecticut towns were copied and abstracted. He hired several individuals who were experienced in copying old records and could read the old scripts. These individuals typed the newly-created abstracts onto preprinted forms.
The form sheets were then cut, each page producing twelve small slips. The slips were then alphabetized, and then all the information was typed a second time onto larger sheets of paper which were later bound into volumes, one volume per town. In the twenty-three year effort, Barbour and his assistants produced 14,333 typed pages of vital records. They could have saved many thousands of hours of labor if they only had computers back in 1911 when Barbour embarked on this project! Barbour's original hand-typed documents are now stored at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. They have also been microfilmed.
In recent years, under the general editorship of Lorraine Cook White, Genealogical Publishing Company has been publishing town-by-town transcriptions of Barbour's collection of vital records in books. Each book covers one or more towns. This week I had a chance to look at volume 55, the records of Windsor, Connecticut, from 1637 to 1850. As you can see, Windsor is near the end of the alphabet. In fact, it is the last entry on an alphabetical list of Connecticut towns. Thanks to Lorraine Cook White and Genealogical Publishing Company, all of Barbour's works are now available in book form at reasonable prices.
Each volume in the 55-volume series contains the birth, marriage, and death records of one or more Connecticut towns. Entries are listed in alphabetical order by town (also in alphabetical order) and typically give name, date of event, names of parents, names of children, names of both spouses, and sometimes such items as age, occupation, and place of residence.
For instance, here is a typical entry from Barbour's records for Windsor:
CHASE, Charles A., of Warehouse Point, m. Nancy H. POMEROY, of New London, Apr. 11, 1841, by Ezra S. Cook. Volume 2, Page 475.In the above record, "m." means "married" and "by" is followed by the name of the minister. "Volume 2, Page 475" is a source citation as to where the original information was found.
For many individuals, you can find more than just birth, marriage, and death records. For instance:
FORWARD, Samuel, adm. Ch. And communicant Oct. [ ], 1671 MGThe above record indicates that Samuel Forward was admitted to the church in October of 1671, according to the Matthew Grant Record.
If you have Connecticut ancestry prior to 1850, you need to examine the Barbour Collection! It has more facts of interest to Connecticut genealogists than any other single source. If you already know the town(s) where the ancestors lived, you can find the references within seconds. At worst case, you may have to look through numerous books listing different towns. While that may be a tedious task, it is still faster than any other method available today.
The Barbour Collection is a total of 55 volumes covering all 137 towns in Connecticut. It is the largest series of books in Genealogical Publishing Company's history. Prices vary from $23.50 to $45.00 per volume. Be aware, however, that some of the volumes are out of print. For more information, or to safely order volumes via Genealogical Publishing Company's safe and secure online order system, go to http://tinyurl.com/34k2q.