Branford History and Genealogical Research
The Blackstone Library has an extensive Local History/Genealogy collection. If you are interested in conducting local history or genealogy research, we will be happy to assist you. Whether you are coming in from out of town or are local, we encourage you to contact us ahead of time to set up an appointment or to have materials gathered prior to your visit. “Drop-in” research assistance may not be available, especially on evenings and weekends.
While many items cannot be taken out of the library, copies or scans can be made. Short, factual requests and obituary requests (when an exact date is known) can be made using this form or by email (please include full name, email address and postal address). The library owns microfilm for the following newspapers and years:
- Branford News, 28 February 1878 – 9 August 1878
- Branford Gleaner, 28 February 1878 – 3 March 1880
- Branford Opinion, 4 January 1896 – 13 March 1913
- Branford Review, 13 April 1928 – 11 December 2008
In addition, the above newspapers, through 1980, are searchable at our Advantage Preservation website. Other resources for newspapers include the CT Digital Newspaper Project and Chronicling America (which includes the New Haven Journal-Courier, 1880-1908). All Connecticut residents have access to a selection of current and historical newspapers, including the Hartford Courant, 1764-1922, through researchITCT.
The library has a large collection of information on Branford town and family history including census records, city directories, Branford family genealogies, Branford High School Yearbooks (1925 – present, missing 1933 and 1934), church histories, early settlers who left Branford, information on older houses, including an architectural survey undertaken in 1986, land records, maps, military titles, municipal records, newsletters from local organizations, vital records indexes, photographs and slides. You can view quite a few of our photographs here. The Branford Historical Society Photographs can also be viewed at the library. You can view the index to these photographs online before visiting the library.
The library has a large collection of archives that include letters, diaries, articles, family papers, business papers, ledgers, information on clubs and organizations and much more. In addition to the library’s archives, the Historical Society’s archives are also at the library. There is a finding list available; if you are interested in additional information about this collection, please contact the Reference Department at 203-488-1441, ext. 318 or send an email to reference@blackstone library.org.
Ancestry Library, American Ancestors, and the Godfrey Library (click on Search Scholar Databases) can be searched from a library computer or from a personal laptop while inside the library. Heritage Hub can also be searched while in the library and Blackstone Library cardholders can access this database from home. In addition, the Blackstone Library is a Family Search affiliate library; certain items not available when accessing Family Search from home (if you see a lock symbol) can usually be viewed when at the library.
The library has a collection of general histories of other Connecticut towns and selected newspaper clippings from Branford newspapers (various years). You can search our Digital Scrapbooks with Branford-related newspaper clippings (1878 to 1980). Click here to search our catalog for specific titles or subjects, see our list of local history resources and view our guide to Researching Your Branford Ancestor.