Connecticut is one of the best American states to do genealogy research in for two reasons. First, they have fairly lax privacy restrictions on their vital records and second, the history of the state goes back to the 1600s. Of course, it may not be that easy to find records that are from that time period, but they are definitely there.
Connecticut Vital Records
State collection of vital records (births, deaths and marriages) began in 1897 so official government offices will only be help you that far back. To get access to copies of these records, you have to send an application form to the Department of Public Health (Vital Records Section) in Hartford. Their website has the right forms for you to download, and a list of the current fees. When you send your forms in, you can expect at least a 6 week wait.
But not all Connecticut genealogy records are freely accessible to just anyone who asks. Death and marriage records are provided to anyone over 18, but there are a few restrictions on birth records. Birth records are kept classified for 100 years, except to members of the immediate family (including grandparents and grandchildren). If you are not an immediate relative, there is a one exception. By becoming a member of the local Connecticut genealogy society, you are then permitted to access any records at all.
And don’t forget the fees. Birth records will cost $30 for each search, but death and marriage records will only cost you $20 each. These fees are not returned to you if the records are not found.
When trying to access records older than 1897, you will need to search beyond the Vital Records office. One good place to start is the Barbour collection, which is a transcribed collection of vital records for the years between 1630 and 1850. This material can be searched online, as well as at the Connecticut State Library.
And speaking of the Connecticut State Library, this another excellent source for Connecticut genealogy material. Besides the above mentioned Barbour collection, they also have a number of personal family records, census records, church documents, archived newspapers, military records, deeds, maps and court documents too.
Check specifically with their History and Genealogy Unit to be directed to the areas that will be of the most interest to you. When looking for particularly old material, the personal records and church documents will be of the most use (aside from the Barbour collection itself).
The main society for the state is the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, which is something you should look into if you have extensive Connecticut genealogy to research. Not only do you get more access to state records, but the group has its own collection of resources that non-members do not see. There are databases you can search on their website, and the group releases regular publications with new genealogical material through the year.
There are annual fees to join, but they are minimal if you choose their basic membership.