Barbour Collection

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This article is about a Connecticut genealogical collection. For other uses, see Barbour.

Barbour Collection[edit | edit source]

The Barbour Collection consists of abstracts of town, church and other original records in Connecticut. It was first created as a slip index of over a million entries by Lucius B. Barbour at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford, Connecticut.[1][2] It is a statewide index of births, marriages, and deaths to about 1850, arranged alphabetically by surname. Yellow slips have entries from private sources such as diaries.

To accomplish this massive project, Barbour instructed several genealogists to abstract what they judged to be the best extant vital records in most pre-1850 Connecticut towns. These abstractions and similar information already published for other towns were typed onto printed forms. These form sheets were then cut, producing 12 small slips from each sheet. The slips for towns not previously published were then alphabetized and the information was typed a second time on large sheets of rag paper, which were bound into separate volumes for each of 137 towns. The slips for all towns plus private records collected by the Connecticut State Library were then interfiled, forming a statewide alphabetized slip index of most surviving records to about 1850.[1] Thus there are two parts of the Barbour Collection: the slip index and bound volumes for individual towns.[2] Note: The slip index includes pre-published vital records from eight towns (Bolton, Coventry, Enfield, Mansfield, New Haven, Norwich, Vernon, and Woodstock) which are not in the bound typescripts in addition to thousands of private records.[2]

Films. They have been microfilmed and digitized on 98 films as the Barbour Collection: Connecticut Vital Records Prior to 1850, available at the Family History Library, Family History Centers, and their affiliates. The film collection is alphabetical by surname. The more original and extensive slip index is on films 2,887 through 2,966 and 2.984. The individual books are on films 2,967 through 2,983. The entire 143 town slip index with its added private collections of Connecticut vital records is available only at the Connecticut State Library or on FHL microfilms 2,887 through 2,966 and 2.984.[3] Both forms of abstraction identify the book and page where the original information can and should be found. As Barbour explains in his introduction to each bound volume: "The cards on which this list is based have not been compared with the original and doubtless errors exist."[4] [2][5]

Internet. The bound volumes for individual towns in the Barbour Collection are available on the Internet from two major sources.  First, digital images of all 137 of Barbour's typescripts are viewable at's subscription website, Connecticut Vital Records (The Barbour Collection) 1640-1870.($)[6] Second, ($), a subscription site, has indexed reprints of 119 of 137 bound towns: just 252,432 births, 218,569 marriages, and 56,008 deaths. Note: The index at is incomplete; if you can't find your ancestor on, it does not mean he/she is not in some other part of the Barbour Collection.

Books. This collection of bound typescripts is also available as a 55 volume set of books compiled by Lorraine Cook White, Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, 55 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1994-2002)[FHL Book 974.6 V2wL]. This format is arranged by town, and then alphabetical by surname. Digital images of the typescripts which White transcribed are searchable at Connecticut Vital Records (The Barbour Collection) 1640-1870. ($) and viewable free through FamilySearch,org, on microfilms 2967-2983.
Compact Disc. Jacquelyn Ladd Ricker’s The Ricker Compilation of Vital Records of Early Connecticut, CD-ROM (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2006), claims to have abstracted not only Barbour’s 137 town volumes and the books from which the rest of the slips identified as “public records” in the Barbour Index were abstracted, but also many other early Connecticut birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial record compilations which had been published in The Connecticut Nutmegger. The 1.2 million Connecticut vital records on this CD are not easily searchable and seem to contain many errors, including imprecise identification of their sources.[3]

Note: The Barbour Collection omits hundreds of vital records books, manuscripts and articles, which are cited in Linda MacLachlan's Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co,. 2019). This book is a bibliography of where early Connecticut vital records for 149 towns may be found today, including six not in the Barbour Collection at all: Cromwell, Easton, New Britain, New Fairfield, Seymour and Trumbull.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Connecticut State Library, The Barbour Collection.;
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Linda MacLachlan, Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond (Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2019) 3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Linda MacLachlan, Finding Early Connecticut Vital Records: The Barbour Index and Beyond (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co,. 2019) 2."
  4. Lucius B. Barbour, Connecticut Vital Records: Avon, 1830-1851 (Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1927) page after title page. FHL film 2,967) Digital images online at FamilySearch,org and AmericanAncestors,org.
  5. Kip Sperry, Connecticut Sources for Family Historians and Genealogists (Logan, Utah: Everton Pub., 1980), 92. (FHL Book 974.6 D23s)WorldCat entry.
  6. Connecticut Vital Records