Thursday, April 21, 2011: The Connecticut State Library

A delicious breakfast was served at the Chester Bulkley Bed and Breakfast in a lovely dining room with large rose and pink background wallpaper.  A large grandfather clock was across the room between two windows and it chimed the quarter hour and then the top of the hour.  It was very nice.

Most B&B’s will give you a TV tray if you ask and you can put your computer on it and work much easier especially if they don’t have a desk in the room.  I asked and sure enough the host found me one to use.

Today I was off to the Connecticut State Library.  Before leaving for the trip I took a look at their holdings and catalog and pulled some titles review when I arrived.  The trip so far might reveal some other interesting things to review.  So I was prepared for the day.

This was my second trip to Hartford and the Connecticut State Library.  So I was pretty familiar with this archive from before and had studied their website thoroughly.  They have a lot of great information on their website and I highly recommend that you review it before you go if you are not familiar with CSL. 

The CSL is not to hard to find.  It is right across from the capital building with the beautiful gold gleaming dome.  It is south of there. You can park on Hungerford if you can find a space and it does not cost anything.  There is a left turn lane from Capitol Ave. onto Hungerford with a light so that is nice for you do have to cross Capitol Ave. coming from the east to the west.  I came up Hartford Ave. in Wethersfield to Wethersfield Ave. to Main and then I turned at Capitol and went east.  Smooth sailing the whole way.  It didn’t take too long either.

Another thing I did was to wait till about 8:45 am before I left so I didn’t have as much traffic.  I did get to the Connecticut State Library (CSL) about 9:30 am.

When you park on Hungerford just make sure you read the signs carefully and park on the correct side. I had been on the left the last time but this time I was on the right side of the street facing south.  It is one way I believe.  Lock your valuables in the trunk.  Make sure the car is locked up tight. 

The walk from Hungerford is along Russ Ave. then you turn north onto Oak and the entrance to the CSL is a little odd, like in the back of the big building which is the Connecticut Museum and more.  The research room is in the lower floor.  You enter walking up the walkway and there is a sign and into a small court yard with a Public entrance.  You skirt the parking lot and think you are going into a receiving area but it is the entrance. 

The Dome of the Capital, The State Library from across Oak St.

Entrance to the State Library, be prepared for a security check

You are greeted by security and have to give up everything in your pockets etc. and go through a scanner. You don’t have to remove you shoes however.  Then you walk this long hallway and there are signs pointing the way.  You pass through a door area and then turn right into a small room with lockers and then left into the Main Reading Room.  The first things you see are card catalogs, filing cabinets and then the librarians desk and the main Reading Room.  To the left is the special collections and archive area.  You go into it only if you order documents that require special handling. 

I found things pretty much the same in the room and headed for the table area next to the wall by the windows on the left and took over the left side of the table. I used this area before. I set up my computer and got organized and ready to dig in. 

First I needed to figure out if there was a probate for James Barclay sibling to Mary J. Barclay Ford and my great grandfather George A. Barclay.  I had reviewed the films the last time I was there but various indexes were missing.  The librarian was a nice young woman with dark long hair.  She studied what I had and talked with the other librarian (he seemed familiar) and they decided I should just order the probates for those missing indexes.  She figured out what I needed and had me sign up for an Archive’s pass.  I filled out the paperwork and returned just about a couple minutes before 10 am.  This was their first run to storage and they have them periodically throughout the day.  I think the next was 12 noon?  Check with them for their hours.  They do hand you a flyer on the rules and times.  So read that.  Fill in the form and they issue you a card.  You sign that and then other order forms are filled in and you are ready to put your order in.  She was very helpful.  It was going to take about an hour to get the information. 

What this means is if you can’t find an index listing on the films then the CSL might have the actual books or probate/estate packets that you can look at. 

I was very impressed with this librarian she knew what she was doing and I like that!!! The other librarian was also equally helpful and pleasant.  Unfortunately I didn’t get their names. 

They were cute calling me Miss Bonnie Jean.  Made me feel young!!

They told me the former director or head of the research room had retired.  He had given a lecture at the last NERGC in Hartford that I had attended.  Things change. 

The other good news was the woman who had given me a hard time when I had visited before was not there.  It was an unfortunate situation and I had to complain to the librarian. 
This time my visit to the Connecticut State Library (CSL) was a happy one and productive. 

The next problem was figuring out a source that Paul H. Goss had given listing the volumes of the Founder and Patriots.  There is hope.  There are lineage books in volumes but unfortunately the CSL does not have Vol. 25.  They also have the applications of the members.  I decided that since I would be at the DAR Library again in a month and I could go to the Library of Congress, one of those archives should have Vol. 25.  Why am I so interested in these sources?

Well I have been going through all of Paul’s work on the Goss family looking for these old sources.  First of all it is fun to investigate them.  I have had some challenges in the old sources because some been republished.  Once I get all the sources identified I can evaluate their value, add more updates and then publish my findings for future Goss researchers.  There are primary sources and secondary sources. Paul used a log of secondary and I have been trying to figure out if they are reliable and then add more of the primary sources like births, deaths, marriages, deeds, land records, probate/estate.  One thing you do have to remember is that Paul was not wealthy like most of us and he had to decide where to put his money.  He did hire Donald Lines Jacobus the father of modern genealogy to help him so he did hire professional genealogists when he needed to. This was the 1930’s and 1940’s.  It was the depression and he was raising his family.  Like most of us he had to do genealogy as best he could.  I think he did very well. 

I was having a little problem figuring out their coding on the various books I had pulled to research.  Most were in the stacks as they call them.  This is a really interesting experience.  You go into the hallway where all the card catalogs are and through a door that looks like a bomb shelter door.  It is metal and I think “Green?”  you then go down a couple steps into a cool room with rows and rows of bookshelves and books.  It must me heaven!!!!  No it is the stacks silly girl!!  Now this room is big but then there is another room with more books and over sized books.

Be careful…you will be tempted to pull more than you came for!!!  Once you start figuring out the number system you catch on and go in the direction you need to as the numbers get larger or smaller.  The first one or two books or pamphlets or periodicals you are looking for might be a little slow going but then you are on your way. 

The Court Cafe was still operating across Oak St. in the tan building so I head there and ordered a chicken salad sandwich and coffee.  I didn’t check the hours but I was concerned they would be closed by 2 pm.  It is very convenient to the library. 

Back at the library Reading Room and have to say that the drawback of the stacks is that you can’t load up on books like you do at the Family History Library.  It is too far and then there is the door.  You are asked to take them back to the Reading room and work on them there rather than sit on the floor next to the stacks.  It really isn’t pleasant.  I found that I could handled 2 – 3 books at a time but then it started to get too much.  You might be able to do more.  If my hubbie was there I could have really smoked!!!  He is very good at finding things. 

My order had come so I went into the Special Archives area and I showed my card. You sign this register. You initial another form that states I was in possession of one book of probate to look at  a time.  The attendant a nice young man put it on the table and I was allowed to look without gloves in the indexes for James Barclay.  The book was a big book just like any court clerk’s book.  No Barclays at all.  The second book also did not reveal any Barclays.  So I was in the area a short time and had to initial this and that and sign out.  I am glad the young man assisting me was so patient and kind. 

Bummer, James Barclay was just not showing up in the indexes for Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1906.  He died during the probate of his brother Alexander Barclay’s estate.  I pondered an obituary notice but I did not have a specific death date so slogging through a couple of months of a newspaper or longer was not my idea of fun and frankly I didn’t have the time.  So I set that aside.  I would work on what I had found from his sister Mary J. Barclay Ford in Bristol and expand that information.  Technically I was after my great grandmother Margaret Barclay – where she was buried, her last name and more.  James could wait.  I do like to study the whole family and the sibs to a point.   

Now when you are in the book stacks at CSL you need to keep focused…don’t start reading all the titles around your target or you will end up carrying back more books.  I am just kidding go have fun!  I succumbed to pulling other titles too. 

I worked on other things like some Kendall family histories, checked the Church and Bible indexes, and found a copy of the thesis by Brady on the John Franklin.  I have work to do when I get home. 

The time flew and it was 4 pm and I was getting very tired.  I was also pretty much done and ready to head out.  This had been a good experience and I was pleased.  The librarians were helpful, friendly and the whole day and been a good day.  So I am not a fan of the CSL. 

I left the building and headed to my car.  The day was sunny but the wind was sharp and strong.  Ouch!

My care was still on Hungerford and I had not parked incorrectly. Whew!  I was soon off and on my way back to Wethersfield.  This time I found my way back just fine.  I turned right after the big church with the square towers onto Wethersfield Ave and then I found Hartford Ave which took me back into Wethersfield’s historic district and back into time.

This time I was going to have dinner at Lucy Lou’s.  I ordered a Caesar salad and Crab Cake appetizers.  Little did I know that they would both be big dishes of food.  There was no way I could have had more dinner.  It was good food, a nice class of Cabernet.  They have the tall tables and chairs so I had to climb up and in and when I got down that was interesting. Loud music and big screen TV with sports on. It was fun to sit and look out the window and watch the activity on the Main Street of Wethersfield.  It is a mix of old, new and very old.  It works.

I am pleased that I chose the Wethersfield area to stay.  It is not hard to get to Hartford just takes about 15 minutes.  You step back in time there and it is quieter and lovely.  Food is easy to find. I believe there are others B&B’s in the area beside the Chester Bulkley. 

Soon I was in my room tending to chores. 

Note:  Blogspot is giving me trouble and I am sorry if things are mixed up.  My post on the Old Settlers Burial Field in Lancaster for April 12 was wrong and I tried to fix it and it is giving me grief.  It should be April 13th.  I may have to wait till I get home to see what I can do to fix the situation. I might have lost some comments as a result. I was trying to edit a post and it wouldn’t accept the changes.  Grrrr…..!!!