The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records is an index to and transcription of most towns' vital (birth, marriage, death) records from the inception of the town to about the year 1850. There are two parts to the collection; a statewide surname index and a bound volume for each town.
The references on the slip or in the bound volumes are to the original records which are generally on microfilm. The microfilms are available here. Family Search has also been digitizing the microfilm. It is viewable through a Place Search (i.e. Farmington, Connecticut) in their Library Catalog.
Please keep in mind that there is usually no additional information in the original record. Also, many lineage societies accept the Barbour transcripts.
Is the Barbour Collection online?
Ancestry.com and the New England Historic Genealogical Society's website, American Ancestors, do provide different versions of the Barbour Collection.
More about the Barbour Collection
The Barbour collection was named for Lucius Barnes Barbour, State Examiner of Public Records from 1911-1934, under whose direction the project was begun. Barbour had directed the publication of the Bolton and Vernon vital records by the Connecticut Historical Society in 1909. He hired several individuals to transcribe the vital records of most other Connecticut towns. Most well-known was James N. Arnold, who had previously published the Rhode Island vital records.
Barbour presented the "Arnold" transcripts to the Connecticut State Library, where the information was typed onto printed forms. These form sheets were then cut, producing 12 small slips from each sheet. The slips for most towns were then alphabetized and the information was typed a second time on large sheets of rag paper, which were bound into a separate volume for each town. The slips for all towns were then interfiled, forming a statewide alphabetized slip index/abstract of most surviving town vital records to ca. 1850. Thus, there are two parts of the Barbour Collection: the slip index, and bound volumes for individual towns.
Statewide Slip Index/Abstract
The statewide alphabetical file, consisting of more than a million slips in index drawers, is arranged alphabetically by name of individual and within that, chronologically. Each slip contains a complete abstract of an event, generally a birth, marriage, or death. Where parentage, residence, or relationship is found in the original entry, it is included in the Barbour abstract.
At the bottom of each slip there is a citation to the original source from which the information was obtained: town, volume, and page. A list of abbreviations used may be found in the front of each Barbour Collection bound volume. Although there is normally no more information in the original records than what appears in the abstract on the slip, researchers desiring to see the original context or verify the accuracy of the transcription may consult the original records on microfilms which are available for use at the Connecticut State Library or through LDS Family History Centers.
Yellow slips in the same file have similar entries from private sources and institutions (see Related page Vital Records from Private Sources).
Since the bound Barbour volumes were prepared from the slips, they contain essentially the same information and the same references to the original records. However, there are some important distinctions:
While the slip index retains the original spelling of the surname, the bound volumes consolidate surnames under one spelling, so that the original is not preserved.
Since the bound volume is yet another generation away from the original source, the potential exists for additional errors in transcription.
Each bound volume contains an introduction explaining the sources of information and abbreviations used.
Bound volumes were not prepared for the towns of Bolton, Coventry, Enfield, Mansfield, New Haven, Norwich, and Vernon since published compilations of vital records had previously been prepared for these towns. However, these towns are included in the statewide slip index.
In a few cases, such as those of Coventry and Mansfield, the Barbour slips were prepared from the published vital records, and the page references are to the published book, not to the original manuscript volume. Early Norwich and Woodstock vital records were also published; the Barbour Collection volume for New Haven only covers the years 1847-1851, and the Woodstock volume the years 1848-1866. Published vital records volumes as well as Barbour Collection bound volumes are available for Saybrook, Suffield, and Windham.
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