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A basic guide for beginning research on Vermont genealogy


The United States federal census schedules for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1900 contain the names of and demographic information about all residents of households at the time the census was taken. The earlier census schedules include only the heads of households.

Cemetery Records

Birth Records

Church Records

Church records are often a reliable source for vital records. The Congregational, Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches predominated in Vermont. The library has published histories of some individual congregations as well as some denominations. Some volumes such as the History of the Baptists in Vermont (Vt. Coll. BX6248 V4 C7) provide a list of the founding date of all of their congregations in Vermont and list many prominent members. The Inventory of the Town, Village and City Archives of Vermont (Vt. Coll. CD3550 H47) include a directory of churches in Vermont, and an inventory of Protestant Episcopal churches in the diocese of Montpelier. Other surveys were made but not published. These were placed at the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier. They include surveys of churches in the various counties.

Court Records

Very early court matters may have been taken either to Boston, MA, Portsmouth, NH or to Albany, NY. After 1768, when Cumberland County was created, legal matters could be settled at Chester, VT, where there were courts of common pleas and of quarter sessions. Matters involving higher court jurisdiction were taken to Portsmouth or Albany depending on the allegiance of the parties to New Hampshire or New York. Gloucester County was created 16 March 1770. The Gloucester court records for 1770-1774 were published in The Upper Connecticut (Vt. Coll. F46 V53 v. 2) by the Vermont Historical Society. Cumberland and Gloucester counties were discontinued, and the present-day Vermont counties were established from them:

Bennington 1779

Windham 1781

Windsor 1781

Orange 1781

Rutland 1781

Addison 1785

Chittenden 1787

Caledonia 1792

Essex 1792

Franklin 1792

Orleans 1792

Grand Isle 1802

Washington 1810 (formerly Jefferson County until 1814)

Lamoille 1835

Land and Property Records

Township and other land records before 1791: For grants by Massachusetts, 1671-1744, see Massachusetts Land Grants in Vermont. (Vt. Coll. HD184 V4 D56 1920) Grants made by New York, 1688-1736 are listed in State Papers of Vermont, v. 7 (Vt. Coll. HD184 V4 A5 1939) The New Hampshire grants are in New Hampshire Grants (Vt. Coll. F31 N42 v. 26)

Vermont also granted land, 1777-1811. These are listed in the State Papers of Vermont, v. 5 (Vt. Coll. HD184 V4 A5 1947)

Deeds since statehood have generally been filed with the town clerk, though there are also some county records. The town clerks have records of deeds recorded in the 1780's but drawn up in the 1760-1780 period while Vermont was part of Cumberland and Gloucester counties of New York. Inventories of some town records are included in the Inventory of the Town, Village and City Archives of Vermont (Vt. Coll. CD3550 H47).

Military Records

All Time Periods:

Neagles, James C. U.S Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994. (Ref E181 .A1 N43 1994)

French and Indian War - 1755-1763

During this period Vermont was under the jurisdiction of New Hampshire and New York. Records of these states may have information. No single listing of Vermonters involved in this conflict is known.

Revolutionary War - 1776-1783

Goodrich, John E., ed. Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. Rutland: Tuttle, 1904. (Vt. Coll. E263 V5 V5)

Fisher, Carleton E. and Sue G. Soldiers, Sailors, and Patriots of the Revolutionary War: Vermont. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1992. (Vt. Coll. E263 V5 F58 1992)

War of 1812

Clark, Byron N., ed. A List of Pensioners of the War of 1812. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969. (Vt. Coll. E359.4 C62 1969)

Johnson, Herbert T. Roster of Soldiers in the War of 1812-1814. St. Albans: The Adjutant-General, 1933. (Vt. Coll. C359.5 V3 1969)

Civil War - 1861-1865

Peck, Theodore S. Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and Lists of Vermonters who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866. Montpelier: Watchman Publishing Co., 1892. (Vt. Coll. E533.3 V53 1892a)

Militia records for some years are on file at town clerk's offices.

Naturalization Records

For records since 27 September 1906, contact the nearest Federal Building. They can help you obtain forms to have a search made through the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington, DC, and through state offices. For records filed before 1906, write to the county clerk at the courthouse near the place where the ancestor lived. Adjoining counties may also need to be searched. As Vermont does not have any seaports, records of Boston and other New England ports should be searched. See the chapter on Passenger Arrival Lists in the Guide to Genealogical Research (Ref. CS69 A1 V54 1983), published by the National Archives, for lists of ports.

Tax Records

The Vermont laws of 1779 provided for levying and collection of taxes from every male adult. Towns collected the taxes and have the records of real estate taxes, personal property taxes, poll taxes, school taxes and special taxes. Lists were compiled on a yearly basis. See the Inventory of the Town, Village and City Archives of Vermont (Vt Coll. CD3550 H47) for inventories of town records, or write to the town clerk.

Vital Records

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