In the United States, generally speaking, each state has jurisdiction over the government records that are kept regarding their inhabitants' births, marriages, deaths, divorces, land transactions, probates, health, disease, education etc. They are not responsible for private record-keeping efforts such as those done by churches, cemeteries, community groups, companies, businesses etc. The federal government oversees the taking of the national census every decade, but not of state censuses. Certain cities have also participated in early record-keeping efforts even prior to their state's commencement of such things. And then there are numerous other entities involved with keeping records; these include shipping lines, publication companies (city and county directories, and phone books), orphanages, hospitals and military organizations.
If you are researching your genealogy in Connecticut, then this article is for you. Since all states have essentially the same basic types of federal records (census and vital or civil registration), we will devote this article to sources that are available for Connecticut genealogy. Much of the information I give in this article comes from FamilySearch.org, the web site devoted to sources available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is not a complete list of sources.
One of the great sources for genealogy research in Connecticut, or anywhere else world-wide, is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This Library is part of the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) but you do not need to belong to their church to use it. It is not necessary for you to travel there because they make most of their microfilmed collection available free of charge through over 4500 local family history centers around the world.
In this article I will walk you through the process of finding out which records are pertinent to your search for Connecticut genealogy using familysearch.org, the web site for family history and genealogy provided by the Family History Library. You can access this web site by going to www.familysearch.org, then click on Research Helps - Guidance. Next you select a place - in this case Connecticut. Choose the time period of the ancestor you are looking for (I selected Birth 1633-1775), then select the type of record you think will provide the information you need. In this case, I chose Minority Histories and Records.
If you are following along, you will see that (as of this writing, and they do add frequently), there are nine publications that cover various time periods and various minority groups to help with genealogy in Connecticut. If you select Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut, 1650-1900 by Barbara W Brown, you find that this is in book form and the call number and location within the library are given. Books are not loaned out so you can now look for this book at your local public library or do an inter-library loan through your local library. Had this been in film or fiche format, you could have taken the call number and other information to your nearest family history center, filled out their form, and requested the film/fiche version for only the cost of shipping. The number in parentheses behind the author's name is not apparently a film number.
You can also see that, besides the nine publications under Minorities, there is one publication under Minorities - Genealogy - Periodicals and another under Minorities - Periodicals.
Had we chosen Wills, Administrations and Inventories, instead of Minorities Histories and Records, you would have found steps to get the exact record you are looking for including determining the county where your ancestor lived, how to search for a county index, how to search the index, how to find the record and how to search the record for your Connecticut genealogy.
So, if you are doing Connecticut genealogy, or research in any other part of the world, this is a really good place to start!