Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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This research guide is an introduction to some of the cemetery resources available at the Connecticut State Library. The list below is by no means exhaustive. Consult the library's catalog, the Manuscripts and Archives Catalog, and State Archives finding aids to ascertain if there are additional resources that would be useful to you.
Burek, Deborah, ed. Cemeteries of the U.S.: A Guide to Contact Information for U.S. Cemeteries and Their Records. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1994 [CSL call number HistRef CS 42 .C46 1994].
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002 [CSL call number CS 21 .C36 2002].
Farber Gravestone Collection, American Antiquarian Society. Contains over 13,500 images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800, in the Northeastern part of the United States.
Kemp, Thomas J. Connecticut Researchers' Handbook. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981 [CSL call number HistRef Z 1265 .K45 1981]. Includes names, addresses, and Hale numbers for most Connecticut cemeteries and, for most towns, short bibliographies of books and articles about the town. In many cases these bibliographies include information on cemetery records.
Kot, Elizabeth G., and James D. Kot. United States Cemetery Address Book. Vallejo, CA: Indices Publishing, 1994 [HistRef CS 44 .K68 1994].
Krull, Andrew. New England Cemeteries: A Collector's Guide. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press, 1975 [CSL call number F 5 .K84].
The National Yellow Book of Funeral Directors. Youngstown, OH: Nomis Publications [CSL call number HistRef HD 9999 .U53 U555].
Parks, Roger, ed. Connecticut: A Bibliography of Its History. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1986 [CSL call number HistRef Z 1265 .C66 1986].
Slater, James A. The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut and the Men Who Made Them. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1987 [CSL call number HistRef Q 11 .C85 vol. 21].
Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Revised ed. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing Co., 1997, pp. 71-82 [CSL call number HistRef CS 49 .S8 1997]. Includes bibliography, pp. 82-84.
Design and Symbolism
Benes, Peter. The Masks of Orthodoxy: Folk Gravestone Carving in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1689-1805. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1977 [CSL call number BV 153 .U6 B46].
Gillon, Edmund Vincent. Early New England Gravestone Rubbings. New York: Dover Publications, 1966 [CSL call number NB 1856 .N4 G5 1966].
Ludwig, Allan I. Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and Its Symbols, 1658-1815. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1966 [CSL call number NB 1856 .N4 L8].
Tashjian, Dickran, and Ann Tashjian. Memorials for Children of Change: The Art of Early New England Stonecarving. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1974 [CSL call number GT 3203 .T37].
Weatherby, Una F. "Early Connecticut Gravestone Design." Connecticut Antiquarian 4 (June 1952): 15-21 [CSL call number F 96 .C65].>
Benes, Peter. "Lt. John Hartshorn: Gravestone Maker of Haverhill and Norwich." Essex Institute Historical Collections 109 (1973): 152-64 [CSL call number F 72 .E7 E78].
Caulfield, Ernest. "Connecticut Gravestones." Bulletin of the Connecticut Historical Society 16 (1951): 1-5, 25-31; 17 (1952): 1-6; 18 (1953): 25-32; 19 (1954): 105-8; 21 (1956): 1-21; 23 (1958): 33-39; 25 (1960): 1-6; 27 (1962): 76-84; 28 (1963): 22-29; 30 (1965): 11-17; 31 (1966): 24-29; 32 (1967): 65-79; 40 (1975): 33-45; 41 (1976): 33-56; 43 (1978) 1-16 [CSL call number F 91 .C67].
Chase, Theodore, and Laurel K. Gabel. Gravestone Chronicles: Some Eighteenth Century New England Carvers and Their Work. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1990 [CSL call number NB 1956 .N4 C5 1990].
Forbes, Harriette M. Gravestones of Early New England and the Men Who Made Them, 1653-1800. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1927 [CSL call number NB 1855 .F6].
Hayward, Kendall Payne. "List of Connecticut Stonecutters or Engravers & Sculptors." Bulletin of the Connecticut Historical Society 15 (1950): 1-5 [CSL call number F 91 .C67].
Kelly, S., and A. Williams. "And The Men Who Made Them: The Signed Gravestones of New England." Markers 2:1-103 [CSL call number NB 1855 .M37].
Slater, James A., and Ernest Caulfield. "The Colonial Gravestone Carvings of Obidiah Wheeler." Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 84:73-104 [CSL call number E 172 .A35].
The Hale Collection of Connecticut
Vital information from headstone inscriptions in over 2,000 Connecticut cemeteries was recorded in a W.P.A. project known as the Charles R. Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions. Lists of the cemeteries covered in the project and of available maps showing the location of veterans' graves from colonial times through World War I are available.
Manuscripts and Archival Materials
These original materials, in the State Archives, are subject to the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records, Original Newspapers, and Special Collections Materials. Selected items include:
Bissell, Frederic Clarence, comp. Hebron, Conn. Cemetery Inscriptions, 1702-1900 [CSL call number Main Vault 974.62 H35bi].
Comstock, E. M. Abstracts of Returns from Sextons and Undertakers, Recorded by E. M. Comstock and Daniel Calkins, Registrars [CSL call number Main Vault 974.62 Ea77c].
Gaines, Lester K. Account of Lester K. Gaines as Undertaker in Hartland, Conn. from 1846 to 1867, Giving Names of Persons, Age, etc. [CSL call number Main Vault 974.62 H26g].
Weitzel, Charles T. Inscriptions from Gravestones in Norwich Town Burial Ground, 1706-1863 [CSL call number Main Vault 974.62 N84i].
Check also the following subject headings:
RG: 72:06, Boxes 1-2, Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions, ca. 1640-1934.
Abstracts of vital information taken from headstones, compiled principally
by Lucius B. Barbour. Cemeteries are listed alphabetically by town. Not all
towns, or all cemeteries in a given town, are listed. This collection
contains some unusual items, e.g., photographs and sketches of cemeteries
and individual stones.
RG 72:06, Boxes 3-13, Cemetery Inscriptions, ca. 1640-1934. Abstracts of vital information taken from headstones. Arranged alphabetically by towns in envelopes. This collection contains miscellaneous information on almost all cemeteries, especially material relating to veterans and their burials and service records. It also consists of Barbour genealogical lists, correspondence relating to specific cemeteries or persons, maps and locations of cemeteries, miscellaneous articles and sketches, and Photostat copies of old manuscript records. This collection sometimes contains more detail than the other sources.
RG 72:06, Box 14, Veterans Buried in Connecticut, ca. 1640-1934. Lists of veterans, their service records, vital information. Cemeteries are listed alphabetically by town. Veterans are listed alphabetically in each cemetery by the war in which they served. The lists include the name, company, regiment, date of death, and age of each veteran. 5 volumes.
RG 72:06, Boxes 15-17. Genealogical Data from Connecticut Cemeteries, ca. 1640-1934. Genealogical information taken from headstones. Cemeteries are listed alphabetically by town, and each cemetery is listed alphabetically by heads of families. This collection does not contain information from all cemeteries or towns. It consists of Photostats of Barbour material in Boxes 1 and 2 above, and material from D.A.R. chapters, historical associations, and private individuals. When a cemetery is not listed, sometimes a reference is given to a list published elsewhere.
RG 72:10, Miscellaneous Cemetery and Burial Records. Includes Stafford Springs Civil War burial records, cemetery inscriptions of New London Bounty by Ross G. Graves, volumes containing the names on the Founders Monuments in Hartford and Norwich, abstracts of vital information from headstones in New York state, orders for veterans' headstones, and Charles R. Hale's personal collection of unusual epitaphs.
RG 74:44, Daughters of the American Revolution, Connecticut. Genealogical Records Committee. Includes some transcriptions of cemetery records.
RG 72:06, Cemetery Maps, cemeteries extant ca. 1930-1934. Topographical maps locating cemeteries and maps of cemeteries identifying veterans' graves. The maps are arranged alphabetically by town. Not all cemeteries have maps; those cemeteries having maps in the file are noted in the Key to Cemetery Maps of the Hale Collection. These materials are subject to the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records, Original Newspapers, and Special Collections Materials.
Accounts of administration sometimes include payments for gravestones, which can help establish whether an individual had gravestones as well as name of the potential carver. Inventories of carver's estates sometimes include stonecarving tools or rights to quarries. The State Library holds most extant pre-1850 probate estate papers and, for much of the state, papers dated into the 1900s. Most of these are included in the Probate Estate Papers Index and many through 1915 have been microfilmed. The Library also holds microfilm copies of most probate court record books to ca. 1915. The films were produced by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available through LDS Family History Centers. For additional information, see our Research Guide to Probate Records and Research Guide to Connecticut Probate Districts.
Specific Towns and Cemeteries
The following are examples of the many published books containing compilations of Connecticut cemetery inscriptions. For additional books, check the library catalog under the headings:
Abigail Wolcott Ellsworth Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Cemetery Inscriptions in Windsor,
Windsor: The Chapter, 1929 [CSL call number F 104 .W7 C35 1929].
Cohen, Edward A. Jewish Cemeteries of Hartford, Connecticut: The Cohen/Goldfarb Collection, Volume 1. Baltimore: Heritage Books, 1995 [CSL call number F 104 .H362 C64 1995].
Davis, Norman C., Jr. "Index by Family Names Cited to Gravestones of Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Conn., Recorded in 1870-1892, with Additions and Corrections Through 1896." Connecticut Antiquarian 18 (1975): 13-15, 45-48 [CSL call number F 96 .C65].
Dorrance, Sarah Francis. The Burial Places of the Town of Plainfield, Conn. Typescript. Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1922 [CSL call number F 104 .P3 1922].
Eardeley, William Applebie Daniel. Connecticut Cemeteries, 1673-1910. Brooklyn, NY: The Author, 1914-1917 [CSL call number Mfilm 929.3746 Ea71]. The same microfilm reel also includes the Hale Collection headstone inscriptions for the town of Stamford.
Hedden, James Spencer. Roster of Graves of, or Monuments to, Patriots of 1775-1783 and of Soldiers of Colonial Wars, In and Adjacent to New Haven County [CSL call number F 102 .N5 S6].
Hosley, William N. By Their Markers Ye Shall Know Them: A Chronicle of the History and Restorations of Hartford's Ancient Burying Ground [CSL call number HistRef F 104 .H362 H68 1994].
Lathrop, Samuel G. Records of the "Old Cemetery," Suffield, Connecticut. Typescript. Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1948 [CSL call number 974.62 Su2D1L].
Linck, Bonnie J. "Burials in the United Society of Believers (Shakers) at Enfield, Connecticut." The Connecticut Nutmegger 31 (1998) 363-374 [CSL call number F 93 .C64]. Based on a ca. 1914 map in the State Archives, gives names and burial locations for 337 individuals whose headstones were removed when the land was sold to the State of Connecticut around that time.
Prichard, Katharine A. Ancient Burying-Grounds of the Town of Waterbury, Connecticut. Waterbury: Mattatuck Historical Society, 1917 [CSL call number F 104 .W3 P7 1917].
Sawyer, Frederick W. and Jessica Sawyer. Eastbury Cemetery: An Outdoor Museum [CSL call number F 104 .G5 S29 1988].
Stonington Historical Society. Old Cemetery Committee. Stonington Graveyards: a Guide. Stonington, CT: Stonington Historical Society, 1980 [CSL call number F 104 .S85 S76 1980].
Tillotson, Edward Sweetser. Wethersfield Inscriptions: A Complete Record of the Inscriptions in the Five Burial Places in the Ancient Town of Wethersfield, Including the Towns of Rocky Hill, Newington, and Beckley Quarter.... [CSL call number F 104 .W4 T5].
VanAlstyne, L. Burying Grounds of Sharon, Connecticut, Amenia and North East, New York. Interlaken, NY: Heart of the Lakes Publishing, 1983 [CSL call number F 104 .S53 V22 1983].
Links to Other Institutions
Association for Gravestone Studies
278 Main St., Suite 207
Greenfield, MA 01301
Connecticut Gravestone Network
135 Wells Street
Manchester, CT 06040-6127
French and Indian War marker for Benjamin Talcott, Belknap (Quarryville) Cemetery, Bolton. Photo by Richard C. Roberts.
Headstone of Dorothy Steel (1775), Center Cemetery (Ancient Burying Ground), Hartford, Cemetery & Burial Records (Charles R. Hale Collection), RG 72:10, Box 19.
Map of Eastbury Cemetery, Glastonbury by Charles R. Hale, RG 72:06.
Transcription of Elizabeth Hungerford inscription, Ancient Burying Grounds of the Town of Waterbury, Conn., p. 65.
Prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library. Revised 4-01, 12-04. © 2004.