Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Town Meetings - A Genealogy Treasure Trove

Jolene Roberts Mullen’s recently published two-volume set of extracted Connecticut town meeting records, titled, Connecticut Town Meeting Records During the American Revolution (April 1775-November 1783) was the subject of her talk to the Newtown Genealogy Club at its meeting on October 12.

Town meetings were generally held in December. It was at that time that town residents were assigned positions. Should you decline a position, i.e. you didn’t want to be the designated Fence Viewer in your neighborhood, then you would have to pay a penalty to the town in order to get out of the job.  Our forefathers found unique ways of raising money.  Another risky position was tax collector. If you were the tax collector, you paid the town the taxes due out of your own pocket, and then had to collect from all homeowners to get reimbursed.

A treasure trove of names are listed in these Town Meeting Minutes; named are all those who filled the lengthy list of offices (mostly unpaid positions), those who were in military service, took the oath of fidelity, Pound Keepers, Key Keepers, Sheep Master, Grave Digger, those who owned property along a new highway, and the list goes on and on. 

Jolene spent four years on this project. Volume I (577 pages, plus index and list of parent towns) contains minutes for the towns of Ashford to Milford; Volume II (631 pages) contains minutes for the towns of New Fairfield to Woodstock.

For my family, Volume One listed Joseph Agard chosen as Surveyor of Highways in Litchfield, CT (Dec. 16, 1776), and also in Litchfield, Noah Agard was chosen as one of the tything men (December 7, 1781). 

For anyone with ancestors in Connecticut during this time period, these volumes are a must for your genealogy library.


  1. Thanks for the tip! If only my CT ancestors were in the area at the time...they arrived just before the 20th century and stayed long enough to be in several city directories and a Census, but that's it.

  2. Marian: These volumes contain so much information on early CT residents, and open a window into their lives. Jolene's research will enhance genealogists' understanding of their ancestors.