Vital Records

Vital records:

Connecticut technically required vital records for all beginning in the 1600s.

“And that all parents, masters of servants, executors and administrators, respectively, shall bring in to the Register of theire severall Townes, the names of such persons belonging to them or any of them, as shall either be borne or dye[…]”

Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut prior to the Union with New Haven Colony, p. 551.

Yet, they also charged for recording.

And it is further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Town Clerk or Register shall be paid for each Marriage he Records, Six-pence, and for each Birth, Three pence, and for each Death, Three pence […]

Acts and Laws of his Majesties Colony of Connecticut in New England (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, nd), 103.

Major changes:

  • Beginning in 1788, enslavers were required to record the birth of any enslaved children with six months, along with the births of any children born at or after March 1784. These records were to include the enslaver’s name and the child’s name, age, and sex.
  • Beginning in 1852, an abstract of the vital records books was to be sent to the Connecticut State Library on a yearly basis.

Alternate sources:

  • Sexton’s books and burial books:
    • The legislation, dated 1852:“[…] every sexton or person having charge of any public or private burial place, shall, during the first week of each month, deliver to the registrar of the town, in which such burial place is situated, a list of the names and dates of burial of the persons buried therein, during the month next preceding […]”[1]
    • The town registrar – usually the town clerk; check the health department in those towns that store vital records outside of the clerk’s office – was required to keep that list. Most often it will be stored in a bound book. Depending on the location, the book may be arranged by date or by cemetery. Some communities may have two sets of books, one by date and one by cemetery.
      • Godfrey Memorial Library has digitized Middletown’s books. (Accessible for a fee.)
      • To date, no other set of books has been digitized.
    • These books are considered public record. Expect to pay copying fees of about $1/page or a daily scanner fee.
  • Burial transit permits:
    • The legislation, dated 1884: “Sec. 113. No person shall remove the body of any deceased person from or into the limits of any town in this State otherwise than for immediate burial in the cemetery adjacent to the town in which such person died, unless there shall be attached to the coffin or case containing such body, a written or printed permit signed by the registrar of deaths in said town, certifying the cause of death or disease of which said person died[…]”[2]
    • The permits often contain nearly as much information as a death record – and sometimes more. They should include at minimum the date of death, cause of death, and funeral home.
    • They are stored by the office of the registrar of vital statistics in the town in which the burial occurred. Typically, this is the town clerk or health department.
    • These permits are generally still in the town clerk’s office but may have been stored in an overflow vault. To date, none have been digitized. They are considered public record. Expect to pay copying fees of about $1/page or a daily scanner fee.

[1] Revision of 1875: The General Statutes of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., Printers, 1875), 29.

[2] The General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, Revision of 1887 (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., Printers, 1887), 27.