My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Farnham and the Connecticut Barbour Collection

Any researcher doing Connecticut genealogy research, especially prior to around 1850 has probably heard of the Barbour Collection. They are the Vital Records for Connecticut.  Over the years, I have found my ancestor, JOANNAH RUTTY, wife of HENRY FARNHAM listed in two different sources, and both correctly named the Barbour Collection.

In an attempt to explain, I will show copies of the two sources for the above individual. When I first began researching this line, I used the Barbour Collection at the New England Historic Genealogical Society's Library (NEHGS). This collection consists of about 110 maroon bound books, one for a town or city in Connecticut, but not all towns are in this series (photos taken at NEHGS).

Within these books, the surnames are in alphabetical order, then the names, indicating whether it is a birth, marriage or death, and followed by the volume and page number.  Unfortunately, when I first began sourcing this name and using the book for Killingworth, Connecticut, I just used the page number (Pg. 31) from the book as the source. The page I used is shown below, and Joannah's name has an arrow by it.
So imagine my dismay when a new series of the Barbour Collection was published, about eight years ago, not all at once, but one or two books at a time.  These blue books are set up the same way as the original maroon ones, but may contain more than one town.  I think there are 52 books in all. 

They are much smaller and easier to read. Surnames are in bold and all-capped, everything is cleaner, no crossed out typo errors. However happy I was to see these new books, imagine my surprise when I realized my past sourced entries weren't agreeing with the new books. Not only did I now have a huge number of Killingworth sources incorrect, but I probably had thousands for the entire state! My new JOANNAH FARNHAM'S death is now on page 34 not 31. And, there was a correction to her death date, no longer was it August 22, 1689, it was now August 11. The death date was easy to change, but not for all the incorrect page numbers. 
What did I do about all the thousands of incorrect page numbers?  I did what I should have done in the very beginning.  Instead of the page number, I manually went back and put in the volume and page number for that record. This is another hard lesson I learned, don't assume that the page number is always going to be the same for records.  Another publication may come along with pretty much identical bits of information.  So please don't be like me, but think ahead, and try to find out where the original information was obtained from and  try to use that.

In closing, I was going to discuss the background of the Barbour Collection, but already this is too long. However, here is a photo of the original record; I obtained from the town hall in Killingworth. You can clearly see that Joanna Farnham died on 11th Day of August 1689 (the tape is under her name).