Connecticut State Library with state seal

Research Guide to Revolutionary War Sources at the Connecticut State Library

General Works | Establishing Military Service | Rolls and Lists | Pensions | Special Groups | Non-Military Service | Other Useful Services


The following sources are suggested for beginning the search for information on Revolutionary War service. However, the list is not exhaustive, and researchers interested in more in-depth research should also consult the library's catalogs and research guides. A list of Professional Genealogists Familiar with Connecticut State Library Collections who will undertake research for a fee is available.

General Works
Barrow, Thomas C. Connecticut Joins the Revolution. Connecticut Bicentennial Series, no. 1. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1973 [CSL call number History Reference ConnDoc Am35 cb].

Callahan, North. Connecticut's Revolutionary War Leaders. Connecticut Bicentennial Series, no. 3. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1973 [CSL call number History Reference ConnDoc Am35 cb].

Hinman, Royal Ralph, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files & c. of the Part Sustained by Connecticut During the War of the Revolution. Hartford: E. Gleason, 1842 [CSL call number SpecColl E 263 .C5 H6 1842]. This title has been digitized by Google books.

Mather, Frederic G. The Refugees of 1776 From Long Island to Connecticut. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972 [CSL call number E 263 .N6 M4].

Middlebrook, Louis F. History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution, 1774-1783. 2 vols. Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1925 [CSL call number F 99 .M63].

Establishing Military Service
Materials useful when beginning research include:

Cropsey, Joyce Mackenzie, comp. Register of Revolutionary Soldiers and Patriots Buried in Litchfield County. Canaan, NH: Phoenix Publishing, 1976 [CSL call number F 102 .L6 C76].

DAR Patriot Index, Centennial Edition. Washington, DC: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1990 [CSL call number History Reference E 255 .D38 1990]. Lists "patriots", gives birth and death dates, name of spouse, rank, and state from which they served.

Index of the Rolls of Honor (Ancestor's Index) in the Lineage Books of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution [CSL call number History Reference E 202.5 .A15]. This set serves as an index to:

Daughters of the American Revolution, Lineage Book, 1896-1921 [CSL call number E 202.5 .A15]. This 166 volume set, housed in stack section 1B, lists DAR members, membership application number, lineage from the patriot ancestor, and service record of the patriot. Although the information in this set serves as a clue to establishing a connection to a Revolutionary War ancestor, it should be remembered that some lines and service claims may have been subsequently disproved and that DAR membership requirements are now more stringent than they once were.

Hedden, James Spencer, comp. Roster and Graves of, or Monuments to, Patriots of 1775-1783 and of Soldiers of Colonial Wars in and Adjacent to New Haven County. 4 vols. in 3. New Haven, 1931-34 [CSL call number F 102 .N5 S6].

Sons of the American Revolution. Connecticut Society. Year-Book of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution [CSL call number E 202.3 .C8 A48]. Membership rolls for 1891-1894 include brief biographical information of members and show the service of the patriot ancestor. Entries for 1895-1903 also include the members' application numbers, which can be used to access some of the Photostatic applications, below.

Sons of the American Revolution. Connecticut Society. Applications for Membership in the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution: Certified Photostat Copies, 1889-1925 [CSL call number E 202.3 .C8 .A53 1889a]. This set of Photostatic copies of applications for membership in the Connecticut Society, SAR, is housed on the oversized shelves in stack section 1B. Arranged numerically by application file number, the application forms include the applicant's name, lineage back to the patriot, and a statement concerning the patriot's service. These volumes are partially indexed by the Year-Book, above.

Veterans' Deaths Index. A card index prepared by the Veterans' Graves Survey project is housed in the corridor adjacent to the History and Genealogy reading room. Although not complete, includes the names of many deceased veterans from the Revolutionary War.

Rolls and Lists
The following printed sources are suggested; copies may be consulted at the Connecticut State Library but are not available on interlibrary loan.

Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution. Hartford: Adjutant-General's Office, 1889 [CSL call number GR D Ad 44 res]. This important work should be one of the first tools consulted when attempting to determine whether an individual saw Revolutionary War service from Connecticut. It is a published compilation of documents taken from many sources, including the Connecticut Archives and Trumbull Papers (c.f.) as well as State Comptrollers' accounts, orderly books, miscellaneous letters and diaries, and other Revolutionary era materials in the possession of the State Library, the Connecticut Historical Society, and other libraries and societies. There is an index in the back of the volume and a slip index in the archives reading area. Unfortunately, in most cases the original sources from which the payrolls, lists, etc. were taken are not specified.

Index to Compiled Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers who Served with the American Army in Connecticut Military Organizations, National Archives Microfilm Publication M920. 25 rolls. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1976 [CSL call number 973.34 C762u No. 7 Mfilm]. Housed in the classified microfilm cabinet in the stacks.

Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution, 1775-1783, Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume 12. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1909 [CSL call number History Reference F 91 .C7 v. 12]. This title has been digitized by Google books.

Orderly Book and Journals Kept by Connecticut Men While Taking Part in the American Revolution, 1775-1778, Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume 7. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1899 [CSL call number History Reference F 91 .C7 v. 7]. This title has been digitized by Google books.

Rolls and Lists of Connecticut Men in the Revolution, 1775-1783, Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume 8. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1901 [CSL call number History Reference F 91 .C7 v. 8]. Transcripts of documents, citing original sources. Includes index.

Many materials within the State Archives are available for your research at the State Library. An archives pass is required. See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials. See in particular the following record groups:

RG 1, Early General Records.

The Connecticut Archives collection comprises the records of the General Assembly to approximately 1820 and is grouped into broad topics. For more information about this collection, see the main Connecticut Archives page. The series pertaining to Revolutionary War military records include:

The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut.
The Public Records of the State of Connecticut.
These sets comprise the official record books of the General Court/General Assembly. The original volumes are housed in the State Archives as part of Record Group 1, but those through the early nineteenth century have been published [CSL call number History Reference ConnDoc G25], and the Public Records of the Colony are available online as Colonial Connecticut Records. Volumes covering the Revolutionary War period include appointment of officers to militia units; acceptance of accounts; memorials by citizens who lost property during the war, etc.

Researchers should also note the following collection which is related to the Connecticut Archives (c.f.):

Jonathan Trumbull Papers.
This collection of Connecticut colonial and early state official papers ca. 1631-1784, was collected by Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr. at the direction of the General Assembly. The papers were arranged into 30 volumes; volume 19 burned in 1825. An alphabetical index (by subject and surname) is housed in the Archives Secured Collection Research Area.

For many years this collection was housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society, which published selected items in its Collections, Fifth Series, vols. IX and X and Seventh Series, vols. II and III. Those researching the Revolutionary War who are unable to utilize the original manuscript volumes may wish to consult the Fifth Series, vol. X and the two Seventh Series volumes [CSL call number F 97 .T78 1885]. Note that spelling has been modernized for publication.

Research guides to more recent archival records consist of a series of black loose-leaf notebooks housed near the History and Genealogy Unit's information desk. Useful record groups pertaining to the Revolutionary War include:

Pensions
Revolutionary War pension application files frequently contain documents such as discharge papers, affidavits and depositions of witnesses, narratives of events during service, pages from family Bibles. Those with access to Heritage Quest Online may now search selected records online. Other resources include:

Daughters of the American Revolution. Twenty-first Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, March 1, 1917 to March 1, 1918. 66th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document No. 83 (Serial Set No. 7601). Appendix "A" includes Mrs. Amos G. Draper's index to the "Pension Records of the Revolutionary Soldiers From Connecticut," listing Revolutionary pensioners and pension numbers. This is the "Draper Pen" referenced in the slip index to Connecticut Archives: Revolutionary War, Series II. Appendix "A" has been reprinted as:

Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, comp. Connecticut Revolutionary Pensioners. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987 [CSL call number E 263 .C5 C69 1982].

Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications in the National Archives. Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1976 [CSL call number CS 63 .N63 1962]. Similar to the "Draper Pension Index," above, but it lists patriots from all states along with the state from which they served and pension file number. This volume also serves as an index to the many abstracts of pension applications that appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly [CSL call number CS 42 .N4] beginning with volume XVII [CSL call number 1920].

The Pension Roll of 1835. Indexed Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992 [CSL call number History Reference E 255 .U53 1992]. This is a reprint, with a new index, of Senate Document 514, Serial Nos. 249-51, Report From the Secretary of War in Obedience to Resolutions of the Senate of the 5th and 30th of June, 1834, and the 3rd of March, 1835, in Relation to the Pension Establishment of the United States. Provides names of pensioners, rank, annual allowance, sums received, brief description of service, date of commencement of pension, age, laws under which individual was entitled to pension, and death date (for those deceased prior to 1835).

White, Virgil D. Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1990 [CSL call number History Reference E 255 .W55 1990]. Consists of information extracted from "Selected Records from the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files," National Archives microfilm series M805.

Copies of military records and pension application files can be ordered from the National Archives. Request NATF Form 80, Order for Copies of Veterans' Records, in an email addressed to inquire@nara.gov or in a letter address to the National Archives and Records Administration, Attn: NWCTB, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001. Be sure to provide your name and postal mailing address, specify the form number, and state the number of forms you need (limit 6 per order). Additional information on how to obtain copies is available on the NARA website.

Special Groups

Blacks
White, David Oliver. Connecticut's Black Soldiers, 1775-1783. Connecticut Bicentennial Series, Number 4. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1973 [CSL call number History Reference ConnDoc Am35 cb].

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Minority Military Service, Connecticut, 1775-1783 [CSL call number History Reference E 263 .C5 M56 1988].

Loyalists
Barnett, Cleadie and Elizabeth Sewell. Loyalist Families. Federation Branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, 1983 [CSL call number F 1041.8 .Be7 1983].

Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your Canadian Roots [CSL call number History Reference CS 82 .B39 1989].

Chadwick, Edward M. Ontarian Families: Genealogies of United Empire Loyalist and Other Pioneer Families of Upper Canada. Lambertville, NJ: Hunterdon House, 1983 [CSL call number CS 88.06 .C45 1983].

Coldham, Peter Wilson. American Loyalist Claims Abstracted from the Public Records Office. Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1980- [CSL call number E 277 .C65 1980].

Fraser, Alexander. United Empire Loyalists: Enquiry Into the Losses and Services in Consequence of Their Loyalty; Evidence in the Canadian Claims. Reprint ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994 [CSL call number CS 88 .06 F7 1905].

Hill, Isabel Louise. Some Loyalists and Others. Fredericton, New Brunswick: Louise Hill, 1977 [CSL call number E277 .H55 1977].

MacKinnon, Neil. This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia. Ottawa: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1986 [CSL call number F 1038 .M15 1986].

Palmer, Gregory, ed. A Bibliography of Loyalist Source Material in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Meckler, 1982 [CSL call number History Reference Z 1238 .B52 1982 E277].

Peck, Epaphroditus. The Loyalists of Connecticut. Connecticut Tercentenary Commission, publication no. 31. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934 [CSL call number ConnDoc T271h p no. 31].

Potter-MacKinnon, Janice. While the Women Only Wept: Loyalist Refugee Women. Ottawa: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993 [CSL call number F 1058 .P68 1993].

Reeks, Linsay. Ontario Loyalist Ancestors. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1992 [CSL call number CS 90 .B397 1992].

Reid, William D. The Loyalists in Ontario: The Sons and Daughters of the American Loyalists of Upper Canada. Lambertville, NJ: Hunterdon House. 1973 [CSL call number F 1058 .R44 1973].

Siebert, Wilbur H. The Refugee Loyalists of Connecticut, Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Series III, volume X, 1916 [CSL call number E 277 .S566].

Tyler, John W. Connecticut Loyalists: An Analysis of Loyalist Land Confiscation's in Greenwich, Stamford, and Norwalk. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1977 [CSL call number E 277 .T93].

Villers, David H. Loyalism in Connecticut, 1763-1783. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Xerox University Microfilms, 1976 [CSL call number E 277 .V55 1976 Mfilm]. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Connecticut.

Wright, Esther Clark. The Loyalists of New Brunswick. Fredericton, New Brunswick: E. C. Wright, 1981 [CSL call number F 1043 .W74 1981].

State Archives Record Group 8:21 includes papers pertaining to disposal of "confiscated estates" [CSL call number property seized from Loyalists], 1779-1788.

Researchers should also check the subject heading American Loyalists on the library's computerized catalog and the headings "Loyalists" and "Confiscated Estates" in the indexes to Connecticut Archives: Revolutionary War, Series I, II, and III. There are sometimes references to the administration of the estates of Loyalists in probate records; check the statewide probate estate papers index in the corridor off the H&G reading room. Check land records to determine succession to title to Loyalists' land. Other sources of information are Superior Court and County Court records, housed in the State Archives.

Non-Military Service
Non-military Service in the Revolutionary War from Extracts of Connecticut Town Council Meetings, 1774-1784. 2 vols. Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, 1965 [CSL call number History Reference E 263 .C5 1965].

See also State Archives Record Group 8, Records of the Comptroller, for vouchers, receipts, and other papers relating to payments for supplies (blankets, clothing, etc.) and services (packing, transportation, etc.).

Other Useful Sources
The following sources are available for your research at the Connecticut State Library. An archives pass is required. See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials .

RG 72, Vital Records. Includes some lists of veterans buried in Connecticut.

RG 74, Genealogical Materials. Item 44 includes genealogical records copied from different sources by members of DAR chapters in Connecticut.

RG 123, Records of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Connecticut Chapters. Includes meeting minutes and early registrars' records of the Ruth Wyllys Chapter

Manuscript materials. There is a wealth of individually cataloged material dealing with the American Revolution in the State Archives' manuscript collection, including rolls and lists, letters, diaries, journals, registers, and regimental histories. Check the Manuscripts and Archives Catalog under specific subject headings such as:

Prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library, 11-96, 02-10.