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New Haven County Court Records: Blog

Meet Our Volunteers!

by Sarah Morin on 2023-06-06T08:30:00-04:00 in Archives, Connecticut, Courts: Connecticut Courts, History | 0 Comments

In addition to student interns and State Library staff, we greatly appreciate the assistance of our volunteers in preserving the New Haven County Court records. This month, we profile the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council (CPGC), whose members are processing the New Haven County, County Court, Papers by Subject series.

Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council

group of people sitting at table in conference room processing papers

Photograph courtesy of Jennifer Zinck, Certified Genealogist®

One day each month, CPGC volunteers gather to support the New Haven Court Records project:

  • Kathryn Black
  • Rosemary Leitz
  • Barbara Mathews, FASG, CG® Retired
  • Alison Watson Maston
  • Edwin Strickland
  • Carol Whitmer, CG®
  • Azar Zinck
  • Jennifer Zinck, CG®
  • Juniper Zinck

The purpose of the Connecticut Professional Genealogical Council (CPGC) is to:

  • Foster excellence in genealogical work
  • Enhance professional competence
  • Support Connecticut record repositories

CPGC began in 1993 and has more than sixty members who work as genealogical researchers, writers, publishers, instructors, lecturers, managers of genealogical records, and genealogists serving heritage and lineage societies. Our members are independent professionals who conduct genealogical and historical research for clients ranging from individual family historians to television producers. All CPGC members agree to abide by our Code of Ethics.

What do we do?

  • Through the Donna Holt Siemiatkoski Acquisition Fund, we give annual awards of genealogy publications to Connecticut genealogical repositories.
  • We partner with local community organizations to present Ancestors Roadshows at which we help family historians make new genealogical discoveries.
  • We engage with government officials to influence state and local legislation that impacts the genealogical community.
  • We offer professional development to our members through our programming activities.

CPGC is a 501(c)(3) organization.

What drew you to volunteer with the Uncovering New Haven project and/or the Connecticut State Archives?

As genealogists, we believe that record preservation and access is critical, and we want to do our part. We have a unique skillset that makes us particularly valuable to this project, so this is a perfect place for us to give back! We can read the records and understand their historical importance.

What is the most interesting, memorable, surprising, and/or bizarre thing(s) you’ve found while processing the court records?

We have found many unique and interesting documents. We have seen maps to plan new roads, signatures of famous New Haven residents including Eli Whitney, and some interesting and fancy watermarks. We also found a case involving Benedict Arnold and the Union Wharf Company, dating from 1764 to 1771. One of our members was particularly excited to find tavernkeepers from Salisbury, Connecticut, mentioned in the New Haven records. We sometimes encountered documents that had rusty old pins or paperclips, and sometimes even documents that were sewn together!

two pages of paper with handwriting

Union Wharf Company vs. Benedict Arnold

What aspects of the records did you particularly enjoy, and why? Were there any aspects of the records that were more difficult to work on?

Being genealogists, we think looking at documents is fun. Some people have quilting or knitting circles—we have an unfolding circle that takes place monthly at the State Archives. The paper is delicate and sometimes crumbles despite careful handling. Some documents are more challenging to read than others and there are times when several of us look at one document to use our cumulative knowledge to decipher the handwriting.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your volunteer experience and/or familiarity with these types of records?

We are honored to be a part of this project involving amazing records of our state, many of which are more than two hundred years old. We are pleased to have the chance to help preserve the records and make them accessible to future generations. We especially enjoy collaboratively working on a common goal.

Video of what it looks like to unfold and flatten New Haven County Court records, courtesy of Jennifer Zinck, Certified Genealogist®

This project is made possible through funding from the Historic Documents Preservation fund of the Office of the Public Records Administrator. We also recognize the past support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

logo of stylized book and color splashes representing each department with text: CT State Library Preserving the Past. Informing the Future. logo of eagle with text: National Archives National Historical Publications ampersand Records Commission

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