Genealogy and Local History
Otis Library's Edward & Mary Lord Local History & Genealogy Room maintains a substantial collection of books, microforms, photographs, serials, and written and pictorial pamphlet file materials. The collection focuses most intensely on the history and families of Norwich and its surrounding towns. There is an emphasis on New London County locales; but we also hold significant resources relating to Windham County.
The genealogy and local history collection is open to the public during regular library hours, with Information Desk staff providing assistance in the use of materials and equipment.
The collection features a large section with genealogies of local families; city, town, and county histories; and books on locally-significant historical events.
Our collection includes a significant body of material on Norwich’s historic homes and architecture, its industrial history, and the diverse cultural heritage of its citizens.
We have an extensive collection of Norwich city directories. We also collect available historical information on various local organizations, institutions, and business enterprises.
Our collection is a dynamic one; we continually add and expand resources, as we are able to acquire new materials.
Through the generosity of the Friends of Otis Library, we have a subscription to Ancestry Library Edition. Within the library, researchers may access their many genealogy databases, book collections, and other online materials.
Otis Library is an affiliate library of FamilySearch.org. From computers and devices inside the library, or using the free Otis Wifi, patrons have access to most of the document-image collections (formerly circulated on microfilm to local family history centers) of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Images may be printed or downloaded.
Our collection is a dynamic one; we add and expand pertinent resources, as they become available to us.
Genealogy Questions may be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com
We regret that our staff is unable to perform extensive or complex searches for our patrons.
If you come to the library, we would be happy to assist you in identifying resources that would be useful to your research. A number of local authors have published books based on materials from the Otis Library collection, and we are honored to support such projects.
For those unable to visit the library in person, we will search for obituaries, newspaper articles, and the like. There is a fee of $10 for up to 2 items. (Additional items are $5 each.) Because there is available only limited indexing (ending at around 1930), it will be necessary to provide a closely-approximate date of death or date of publication for each request.
We can send the information in a digital file by email, at no additional charge. We will mail hard copies, if requested, at a charge of 15₵ per page, plus $1 postage and packaging.
For more extensive research needs, we would be happy to refer you to professional researchers in the area who do private work on commission, or to direct you to other institutions that may have the information you need.
Interlibrary Loan service is available, if you have located a genealogy or history item at an outside library or university, so long as that institution allows loans. Any borrowing charges assessed by the lending library must be paid, in advance, by the requesting researcher.
Our Collection Includes:
Genealogies of local families
Anthologies of regional family histories
New London County & town histories
Windham County resources
Histories of local ethnic communities
Local businesses, industries, churches, & organizations
Connecticut military histories, rosters, & service lists
Norwich vital records indexes to c. 1848; & indexes for some other locations.
Barbour Collection of Connecticut vital records
Hale cemetery & obituary abstracts (1934)
Genealogy journals & magazines
Local authors collection
American Genealogical Biographical Index
Norwich Free Academy senior yearbook collection
Norwich City Directories, 1846-1986
Norwich Newspapers, 1773-present [some gaps]
Norwich Bulletin microfilm, 1858-1951 [1870s-1880s incomplete]
Norwich Bulletin bound volumes [limited access], 1952-Sept 1982
Norwich Bulletin (modern) microfilm, Oct 1982-present
Norwich Bulletin Index, 1865-1930
New York Times microfilm, Sep 1851-2007
Census microfilm, 1790-1920 [images of 1790-1940 also available]
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Norwich, 1885-1935
Benedict Arnold Biography Collection
Boston Transcript [microfiche]
Architectural surveys of local neighborhoods
Most of the materials in our local history and genealogy collection are included in the online Library Catalog https://nw.catalog.lionlibraries.org/ All call numbers for items in this collection begin with the letter “G.”
Historical Photographs and Ephemera
We have a growing collection of historical photographs, postcards, and ephemera. As we have time, we are making them available to the public online.
If you recognize any of our images, please make a comment on the FLIKR page. Many items have been donated to us without specific identifying information, so we are appreciative of help from the public. If you wish to pass on additional related information, you may send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Otis Library does not have adequate staff to perform extensive or complex genealogical or historical searches. However, our staff will fill simple and specific requests for information (obituaries, newspaper stories, and the like). An approximate date is required.
We will perform up to 2 Obituary or article searches for $10.00. Additional searches are $5 each.
In most cases, we will send digital images and documents to your email address, at no additional charge. If you would prefer to have items mailed to you, the fee is $.15 per page, plus $1 for postage and packaging.
We can provide referrals to local researchers who may be hired to perform research, or to other institutions with pertinent collections.
Inter-library Loan services are available. NOTE: If a lending library assesses a fee for loans, patron is expected to prepay this amount before the order is placed.
Staff will assist patrons in using microfilm and other resources in the local history room. A genealogy librarian is available for assistance with formulating a research plan, identifying relevant resources, and using Ancestry Library Edition, FamilySearch, and other online databases.
Connecticut State Library
The state library collection includes a great deal of information related to history and genealogy in Connecticut. Please visit their web site for more specific details.
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Norwich City Clerk's Office
Vital, probate, tax, land and court records; military discharges; cemetery index
Norwich City Hall
Norwich, Connecticut 06360
Norwich Department of Public Works Office
50 Clinton Avenue
Norwich, Connecticut 06360
Public Works maintains various city properties, including the public cemeteries. You may find further information regarding the public cemeteries at this link: https://www.norwichct.org/Facilities.aspx?page=list&search=1&CID=7
City Cemetery Plot Listings
For burials in any of the cemeteries maintained by the City of Norwich, a searchable list of cemetery plots can be found here:
Norwich Heritage & Regional Visitors’ Center
Located on the historic Norwichtown Green, the Center provides information to residents and visitors regarding the history of Norwich, and the various cultural sites and related businesses in the area.
Norwich Heritage Map
Tourist Guide to Historic Norwich pamphlet
Norwich Historical Society, Inc.
The Norwich Historical Society produces programs, displays, walking tours, and other events to promote an appreciation of the rich heritage of the city of Norwich. They do not perform research for the public.
D.A.R. - Faith Trumbull Chapter
Rockwell House & Museum
42 Rockwell Street
Norwich, Connecticut 06360
Society of Founders of Norwich
The Society operates a museum out of the former Leffingwell Inn (est. c. 1675), and presents programs to promote public awareness of the history of Norwich and its founding families. The museum and its archive have a collection of historical artifacts, documents, and publications relating to Norwich in the 17th and 18th centuries. Through most of the year, they offer public activities relating to the settlement of Norwich and its place in early American history.
Leffingwell House Museum
348 Washington Street (Mailing address: P.O. Box 62, Norwich, CT 06360)
Norwich, Connecticut 06360
Call for hours and information
Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
In addition to its recreated seaport whaling village, Mystic Seaport maintains an excellent research library. The G.W.B. White Library has a large collection of artifacts and documents relating to the history of maritime activity in coastal CT.
G. W. Blunt White Library
Mystic, Connecticut 06355
New London County Historical Society
The NLCHS maintains an extensive collection of family history records, notebooks, diaries, indexes, and more.
11 Blinman Street, New London
Indian & Colonial Research Center
The mission of The Indian and Colonial Research Center is to preserve and make accessible to the public, the collected works of historian Eva Lutz Butler, and additional historical and genealogical materials of the people of Old Mystic Connecticut and surrounding areas.
39 Main Street (Mailing address: P.O. Box 525, Old Mystic, CT 06372)
French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut
The Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving and disseminating genealogical and historical information about their ancestors who settled in Quebec and Acadia and their descendants. Their research library in Tolland has a collection of more than 3,000 books in both French and English.
53 Tolland Green (Mailing address: P.O. Box 928, Tolland CT 06084)
Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut & the Northeast
The Society is dedicated to capturing the past of their Polish ancestors, and preserving Polish cultural heritage for the generations to come.
8 Lyle Road
New Britain, CT 06053
Connecticut Irish American Historical Society
The Society presents educational programs on Irish history, culture, and music; publishes a quarterly newsletter; and maintains archival collections and a research library at the Ethnic Heritage Center at SCSU in New Haven.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 185833, Hamden CT 06518