Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Land records are a valuable source of genealogical and historical information. These records, documenting the sale and ownership of land, may cite the kinship between parties or other vital records information. For example, a deed may state that a father sold land to his son or include the birth name of the buyer or the seller's wife. These records may infer the approximate date when a person moved to a town or when a building was erected. The records may also include the residence of the parties, if they did not live in the town where they were buying land. The Connecticut State Library has an abundance of useful sources of land records in several collections.
While the following is not an exhaustive list of land records held in the Connecticut State Library, it should help researchers formulate successful strategies for consulting Connecticut land records.
One major microfilm collection, created by the Genealogical Society of Utah, affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), constitutes the majority of land records held by the State Library. If you cannot visit our library to search the records, copies of these microfilmed records are available from the Society's Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, through any of their local LDS Family History Centers.
Records of the Colonial Period to circa 1900
This land record collection, which dates from the 1600's to the early twentieth century, was filmed in the 1950s and is kept in microfilm cabinets 1-6, located in the History and Genealogy Reading Room which also include town vital and probate records. Land records in this collection are arranged by town alphabetically and within each town, by year, although in some towns, such as Windsor, the years covered overlap in certain volumes.
The State Library Staff at the History and Genealogy Information desk has access to a database that lists these land records – giving volume numbers, years covered in each volume, Connecticut State (CSL) microfilm reel number, along with the LDS film number.
Each town's collection of land records includes some form of indexing. Most town records include an index in each volume for that particular volume. For some towns, such as Bethany, there is additional index available on microfilm. Compiled indexes of a number of towns may be arranged in various ways. Farmington's index is arranged in separate sections by grantor and grantee. The Bolton index is a combined grantor/grantee index with grantor listings on the left page and grantees on the right page. Some are a strictly alphabetical listing, interfiling grantor and grantee entries.
Most of the original records are still held by the town. See the section on Manuscript Resources, below, for information on original records held in the State Archives.
Each boxtop label gives general information about the reel's content, as in the Bristol example, shown below:
Bristol Land Records
A side label offers the user more information, including years covered for each volume:
Bristol Land Records
1. Vol. 33 (cont.), Quitclaims, 1875-1876
2. Vol. 34, Warrantee Deed, 1872-1877
Vol. 35, filmed with Vols. 45-46
Vol. 36, NOT FILMED
Vol. 37, NOT FILMED
3. Vol. 38, Quitclaims, 1876-1880
Indexing resources vary. Most volumes have an individual index, with varying degrees of completeness. Some town clerks have consolidated their town's individual indexes, although most were not microfilmed. If we lack the index you need, you must either search each individual volume's index or contact the town clerk's office and ask about the availability of land records indexes.
The Society filmed only those volumes that the microfilm operator deemed of genealogical value, and we have noted in the research guides and side labels those volumes not filmed. We suggest you search these unfilmed volumes, as many of our patrons have found genealogical information. The unfilmed, original volumes are still located in the offices of the respective town clerks.
Examples of published Connecticut land records are listed below. The Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal number is given in brackets.
Phillips, Nancy Pratt Owen. Records of the Town of Derby, 1655-1710. Derby, CT: Sarah Riggs Humphrey Chapter, DAR, 1901 [CSL call number 974.62 D44]. This indexed transcript of town records includes land records.
General Index of the Land Records of the Town of Hartford. Hartford: City of Hartford, 1873-1929 [CSL call number F 104 .H357 H357]. This multi-volume set indexes land record volumes 1 through 643, covering the period 1639 to 1927. The set is arranged by grantor and grantee and includes the volume number, page, type of records, date, and location of the property.
"Hartford Proprietors: Original Distribution of the Lands in Hartford Among the Settlers, 1639," Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Vol. 14. Hartford: 1912 [CSL call number HistRef F 91 .C7]. This is an indexed transcript of the earliest Hartford Proprietors' land transactions. The title is misleading in that the volume also includes grants and sales of proprietors' land up to approximately 1685. An earlier handwritten transcript (1830s) is listed as Vol. 1 in the microfilmed Early Land Records for Hartford, but the original has not been located.
Trumbull, J. Hammond and Charles Jeremy Hoadley, eds. Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1689-1776. 15 vols. Hartford: 1850-1890 [CSL call number HistRef ConnDoc G25].
Hoadley, Charles Jeremy et al., eds. Records of the State of Connecticut, 1777- . Hartford: 1894- [CSL call number HistRef ConnDoc G25].
The two collections above are transcriptions of General Assembly records. They include records of land grants from the colony and later the state, to individuals or groups of persons.
This is not an exhaustive bibliography of published land records. A researcher needs to search both the library's card and computer catalogs to find additional published sources.Manuscript Resources
974.62 Tomlinson family. D44b Derby, Conn. MAIN
Baldwin family deeds of land in Derby, Oxford,
Watertown, Woodbury, Conn. and Monkton,
Vt., 1765-1843; also two letters, 1808-1809,
relating mostly to Tomlinson family. 30 docs.
Mrs. Noyes D. Baldwin, Derby, Conn.,
donor. Feb. 14, 1934.
Please not that these are original materials and may only be used in the Archives Reading Area. See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials.
Some examples of other subject headings that researchers may want to consult to find manuscript land records are:
The Connecticut Archives consist of the working papers of the Connecticut General Assembly prior to 1820. The series Towns and Lands contains acts and petitions to form new parishes and towns. Boundary disputes, as well as petitions for resolution of land disputes between individuals or with a town, were also brought before the Assembly. Land grants and copies of some deeds are also in these collections, which are arranged as follows:
Towns and Lands, Series I, 1629-1789 (Index Vol. 45).
Towns and Lands, Series II, 1649-1820 (Index Vol. 46).
Each series has its own integrated index, which includes names of towns and individuals as well as subject headings. Microfilmed Towns and Lands reels are numbered 180 through 186 for Series I, and 187 through 189 for Series II. They are found in cabinets in the History and Genealogy Reading Room. The original Connecticut Archives volumes are subject to the Guidelines on Use of Restricted Original Archival Records and are available for use only if the microfilm is not legible.
The illustration below shows part of a page from the Towns and Lands index. The Roman numeral refers to the original volume number, and the Arabic numeral denotes the document number. For example, the first entry shown, pertaining to West Britain, is found in Vol. 9 and consists of documents 330 and 331. When searching the microfilm, patrons need to remember that document numbers do not correspond to page numbers; more than one document may be placed on a page, or a document's length may exceed one page. Also, a researcher needs to look at the correct series, as volumes and page numbers start over with each collection.
|West Britain, Petition for town of Bristol grant, 1785||IX: 330, 331|
|West Chester||I: 17, 66|
|West Hartford, Map: section next Farmington||X: 338|
|" "||Petition to have east division of lots in Farmington joined to Hartford & Windsor for town privileges, 1785||IX: 336|
|" "||Western town petition, 1730||VII: 2|
|Westall, Westell, Westoll.|
|"||Mr., House||I: 158|
|"||John||I: 139a, 149|
State Archives Record Groups
Record Group 1, Early General Records.
Volumes 46-51 of the Early General Records contain land records copied by the Secretary of the General Assembly. These are records of land grants from the colony and subsequent sales of granted land. These are not found in the land records of the individual towns, and those who are searching for early records should search these volumes in addition to town land record volumes.
These volumes are available on microfilm in the History and Genealogy Reading Room. They were microfilmed by the Latter-Day Saints and are also available through their LDS Family History Centers.
|46||Connecticut Colonial Records Vol. 1, 1640-1653, Hartford, Windsor, Wethersfield.||L.H. 4417|
|47||Connecticut Colonial Land Records Vol. 2, 1646-1673 [Hartford, Windsor, and Fairfield (interfiled)].||L.H. 4417|
|For more information about these two volumes, see Connecticut Historical Society Collections, "Original Distributions," Introduction, pp. xiii-xvii.|
|48||Connecticut Colony Records of Deeds. Number D. Vol. 3, 1671-1724. This volume also includes wills, promissory notes, and town patents. It includes a typed index.||L.H. 4417/18|
|49||Connecticut Colony Records of Deeds, Number 3. In addition to land transactions, surveys of land and border disputes between towns are included. The volume contains a partial index.||L.H. 4417/18|
|50||Connecticut Records for Patents, Deeds, and Surveys of Land, Vol. 4. Oaths of Allegiance, copyrights, and Indian deeds are also recorded in this volume. It is partially indexed.||L.H. 4418/19|
|51||Connecticut Records of Deeds, 1705-1846. This volume contains mostly surveys of roads, but there are some items pertaining to Pennsylvania and the Western Reserve lands. The volume is partially indexed.||L.H. 4418/19|
Record Group 62, Records of Towns and Boroughs.
Another collection of land records is found in RG 62. A research guide to this collection, available at the History and Genealogy Information Desk, lists many, but not all, towns in Connecticut and describes town records held in the record group. Any land records found in this record group should be a copy of those found in the land record volumes, but the researcher wish to search these to make sure no records have been missed. These records cover most cases of property sold to the town and also include attachments of property for non-payment of taxes.
Please note that these are original materials and may only be used in the Archives Reading Area. See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials.
A typical entry from the research guide to Record Group 62, Records of Towns and Borroughs, is as follows:
East Hampton (cont'd)
Papers of Zebulon Penfield, 1804-49. Box 2
Bills, notes and receipts pertaining to his activities as a merchant, with a small amount of personal and family correspondence. 1 inch.
Deeds, 1806 Boxes 3-4
Unarranged. 2 feet.
Terms Frequently Used in Land Records
Foreclosure: The act to deprive a mortgagor of the right to redeem his/her property, especially on failure to make payment of a mortgage when due. Ownership of the property then passes to the mortgagee.
Grantee: The person to whom land ownership is transferred; the buyer.
Grantor: The person who transfers property ownership; the seller.
Lease: Contract conveying property to another for only a specified period of time
Mortgage deed: A deed conveying property to a creditor as a security.
Quitclaim deed: A deed that conveys to the buyer only the seller's interest. The buyer assumes responsibility for any claims brought against the property.
Warrantee deed: A deed that includes a clause assuring the buyer that he/she owns the property free from interference by anyone making claim under a superior title.
Prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library, 11-1996;revised 07-2009.