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Genealogy and Local History Resources

Our Librarians are available to assist with your research. You may also find what you're looking for on one of the many websites listed below.


  Reference Assistance
  Silas Bronson Library
  267 Grand Street
  Waterbury, CT 06702
  (203) 574-8225

Be sure to visit our Programs page for upcoming genealogy and local history programs.

Silas Bronson Library Genealogy Tips on YouTube:


Naugatuck Valley Genealogy Club


Silas Bronson Library Collections

 The Silas Bronson Library has an extensive collection of local genealogy and history resources in print and on microfilm. Some resources are also available online.

The library has two digital microfilm readers which allow you to save images as computer files to a thumb drive. You can also email the image files from the computer station.



Newspapers on Microfilm

 Waterbury American, December 14, 1844 - March 30, 1990

Waterbury Republican, January 2, 1884 - March 31, 1990

Waterbury Democrat, December 5, 1887 - December 28, 1946

Waterbury Republican-American, April 1, 1990 - December 31, 2019

La Verita (Italian language), February 26, 1926 - December 27, 1946

The Waterbury Observer, October 29, 1993 - October 22, 1997


Waterbury Newspapers Online

Sunday Herald, February 24, 1889 - February 16, 1890

La Verita, February 27, 1926 - July 7, 1939

Waterbury American, December 14, 1844 - December 29,1865  (note: log in with your library card number, then navigate to A-Z Source List)

Waterbury American, May 22, 1866 - June 13, 1877 (note: log in with your library card number)

Waterbury Democrat, December 5, 1887 -  August 31, 1895

Waterbury Democrat, September 2, 1895 - November 6, 1897

Waterbury Evening Democrat, November 8, 1897 - October 19, 1900

Waterbury Democrat, October 20, 1900 - February 28, 1903

Waterbury Evening Democrat, March 2, 1903 - December 31, 1908

The Waterbury Democrat, January 1, 1931 - December 28, 1946

Republican-American, June 11, 2004 - present (articles only)


Topical Guides to the Collection

Civil War
Collection Highlights
Flood of 1955
Genealogy Periodicals
Historic Newspapers
Industrial History
Parks Department
Probate Court Records
Waterbury Biographies Finding Aid
Waterbury Biographies Code Index
World War II


Waterbury City Directories

The library has a nearly complete collection of Waterbury City Directories from 1868 to 1990. Some directories are available online. Learn more at our City Directories page.


Waterbury Digital Photo Archive

The Silas Bronson Library has an extensive collection of old photographs from the Park Department, the library's scrapbooks, and other sources. We are currently working on making those collections accessible. A selection of images can be viewed in our online archive.


Vital Statistics
Doing research on family history? The City of Waterbury Vital Statistics department provides copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates going back to 1886. Forms for requesting records can be downloaded from their website.  

The Connecticut Department of Public Health, State Office of Vital Records also maintains birth, death, and marriage records. Coverage is from 1897 to the present.

The Barbour Index for Waterbury covers 1686-1853. We have a copy of it here in the Silas Bronson Library, but the actual records are housed at the Connecticut State Library. 

This leaves a 31 year gap, from 1854 through 1885. Is there any way to get around the problem? The State Library History & Genealogy Unit has several indexes that are similar to Barbour, including the Hale Index and the collection of Church records. They created a form which members of the public may download in order to submit a request to have a search done of these indexes. While this offers hope, there is no guarantee that the search will turn up the desired record.


Obituary Look-Up
Send the deceased's name, date of death, and town of residence at time of death to our Reference Librarians at sbl-refdesk@waterburyct.org.

If you do not know the person's date of death, here are a few resources to try:
  Social Security Death Index (for deaths occurring after 1962)
  Obits Archive (newspaper obituary search)
  State Vital Records Office


Online Resources

Waterbury research tip: although the City of Waterbury was incorporated in 1852, the Town of Waterbury continued as a separate governing body until the early 1900s. 


Available for use on the library's


Search or browse the Waterbury American from 1844 to 1865, one of more than 100 historical newspapers available in this NewsBank database.


Search thousands of newspapers from 1704 to the present day or browse thematic topics in this NewsBank database. Includes the Waterbury American from 1866 to 1877.

Use your library card barcode number to search census records, the Hartford Courant, city directories, military records, immigration records, and more.


Create a free account to search historical records for your ancestors. A service of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). 





Find published histories of Waterbury, biographies, scientific studies, and historical documents.



Search the Waterbury Democrat newspaper, starting with its first issue on December 5, 1887 through December 31,1908 and issues from January 1, 1931 through August 31, 1937. Other Connecticut newspapers are also available.


Local History

Ancient Burying-Grounds of the Town of Waterbury, Connecticut, 1917
Searchable compilation of gravestone inscriptions through 1875.

Anderson's History of Waterbury, Volume I, 1896
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Anderson's History of Waterbury, Volume II, 1896
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Anderson's History of Waterbury, Volume III, 1896
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Bronson's History of Waterbury, 1858
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

City Directory, 1868-69
Downloadable PDF of the 1868-69 Waterbury Directory.

City Directory, 1869
Downloadable PDF of the 1869 Waterbury Directory.

City Directory, 1871
Downloadable PDF of the 1871 Waterbury City Directory and Business Advertiser.

City Directory, 1872
Downloadable PDF of the 1872 Waterbury City Directory and Business Advertiser.

City Directory, 1874
Downloadable PDF of the 1874 Waterbury City Directory and Business Advertiser.

City Directory, 1875-76
Downloadable PDF of the 1875-76 Waterbury Directory.

City Directory, 1876
Downloadable PDF of the 1876 Waterbury Directory.

City Directory, 1877
Downloadable PDF of the 1869 Waterbury Directory; includes map of the City.

City Directory, 1881
Downloadable PDF of the 1881 Price & Lee Waterbury Directory.

Fortune's Story
Articles, biographies, and timelines related to the history of slavery in Waterbury. A project of the Mattatuck Museum.

Library of Congress
Search for Waterbury to find digitized photographs, maps, and other online resources.

Mattatuck Museum
Museum run by the Mattatuck Historical Society, the historical society for Waterbury.

Nosahogan Lodge No. 21 -- Historical, Chronological and Necrological Notes, 1898
Searchable ebook.

Pape's History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Volume I, 1918
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Pape's History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Volume II, 1918
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Pape's History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Volume III, 1918
Searchable and downloadable ebook.

Proprietors' Records of the Town of Waterbury, 1677-1761
Searchable ebook.

Scovill Bulletins
Downloadable PDFs of the Scovill Bulletin from the 1930s to the 1970s, as well as other Waterbury history resources.

Sunday Herald
Scans of the newspaper published in Waterbury, from 1889 to 1890.

Waterbury Democrat
Scans of the newspaper beginning with the first issue in 1887 (not all years are scanned).

The Waterbury Fact Book
Created by Michael DeLeo and the Silas Bronson Library in 1999.

Watertown Historical Society
Includes searchable digitized newspapers, and articles about local history.

Wolcott Historical Society
Includes articles about local history and historical figures.

Waterbury Registrars of Voters Archive

1898 Woman's List


Connecticut History

Acts and Laws of the State of Connecticut, 1784
Searchable and downloadable Google eBook.

Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH)
Scholarly organization which publishes the Connecticut History Review academic journal.

Connecticut Colonial Records
Public records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776. Great source for tracing early Connecticut ancestors. 

Connecticut Historical Society
Museum and archives.

Connecticut History
Articles about Connecticut towns, topics, historic events and people. A project of Connecticut Humanities.

Connecticut History Illustrated
Search for digitized images from libraries, museums, archives, and galleries. A project of the Connecticut Digital Archive.

Connecticut State Library and Archives
Numerous resources for research, including digitized newspapers, aerial photographs, and vital records. Databases are accessible using your Silas Bronson Library card barcode number.

Museum of Connecticut History
Online resources from the Connecticut State Library and Museum.


Historic Maps Online

City of Waterbury G.I.S.
1852, 1899, and 1917 maps of Waterbury, as well as links to current topical maps.

Historic Map Works
1868 and 1893 city maps, as well as historic county maps. Commercial site, but images can be viewed at no charge.

Library of Congress
High-res downloadable scan of the 1899 map and 1917 aeroview map of Waterbury. Numerous other Waterbury history resources.

MAGIC Historical Maps
1874, 1899 and 1917 aerial maps from the UConn digitized map collection.

Patton Map of Waterbury, 1909
Shows streets, buildings, and tracts. A framed copy is on view at the Town Clerk's Office at City Hall.

Sanborn Insurance Maps
Maps of Waterbury from 1884, 1890, 1895, 1901, 1918, 1921, and 1922 from the Yale University Library.

1892 and 1904 maps from UNH Dimond Library.


Genealogy Resources

1880 Census
Free access to the 1880 census. 

1900 Census 
Free access to the 1900 census. 

Association of Professional Genealogists 
An international organization of professionals dedicated to sharing their research experience with others. All members abide by a code of ethics and their membership is renewed annually. 

Castle Garden
Search for immigrants who arrived at Castle Garden, NY between 1820 and 1892.

Connecticut State Library
The History and Genealogy Unit, based in Hartford, has a wealth of information to offer researchers. Learn about their collections here. 

Cyndi's List 
A genealogy portal to the internet; categorized and cross-referenced index to genealogy resources.

Ellis Island Foundation
Search for immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island starting in 1892.

Family Search
Free genealogy site run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Search cemeteries for gravestones.

Genealogy Worldwide
Information on genealogy.

Search city directories, census records, and more.
Free access is available through the State Library's researchIT website using your Silas Bronson Library card barcode number.

National Archives
Search military, immigration & naturalization, and other federal government records.

New York Arrivals
Includes immigrant arrival records covering New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, and other lesser-known ports. 

Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast
Learn how to trace your Polish-American roots. 

Social Security Death Index 
Ancestry.com's Society Security Death Index contains records (death & birth) of deceased persons who possessed Society Security numbers and whose death was reported to SSA. Database is available free for Ancestry.com subscribers and guests who register. 

Where to Write for Vital Records 
Marriage, divorce, birth, death certificates.