Background Sources for Vermont

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This entry was originally written by Scott Andrew Bartley and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Vermont Family History Research series.
History of Vermont
Vermont Vital Records
Census Records for Vermont
Background Sources for Vermont
Maps for Vermont
Vermont Land Records
Vermont Probate Records
Vermont Court Records
Vermont Tax Records
Vermont Cemetery Records
Vermont Church Records
Vermont Military Records
Vermont Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Vermont Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Vermont Immigration
Vermont Naturalizations
Ethnic Groups in Vermont
Vermont County (Probate) Resources
Vermont Town Resources
Map of Vermont


  • Bassett, T. D. Seymour, ed. Vermont: A Bibliography of Its History. 1981. Reprint. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1983. This comprehensive bibliography includes numerous local, state, and town histories, and commemorative publications.
  • Bartley, Scott Andrew. Vermont Families in 1791. vol. 1. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1992; vol. 2. St. Albans, Vt.: Genealogical Society of Vermont, 1997. An ongoing series identifying those families enumerated in the first federal census taken for Vermont in 1791 is available through the Genealogical Society of Vermont (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies).
  • Duffy, John, et al. The Vermont Encyclopedia. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New Hampshire, 2003. Over 1000 entries, contributed by 140 contributors, give the researcher an updated and comprehensive view of life in the Green Mountain State in a range of articles from prehistory to today.
  • Eichholz, Alice. Collecting Vermont Ancestors. 1986. Reprint. Montpelier, Vt.: New Trails! 1993. A genealogical handbook focusing specifically on the availability of the extensive original records in Vermont. A listing of available lot maps for towns (see Maps) is included.
  • Hemenway, Abby Maria. Vermont Historical Gazetteer. 5 vols. Burlington, Vt., and others, 1867–91. Hemenway enlisted the assistance of at least one knowledgeable resident of each town to research and write the histories included in these volumes. Since those people tended to know the individuals about whom they wrote, the information is reasonably good oral history. An index covering all towns except those in Windsor County was published in 1923 by Tuttle Company, in Rutland, Vermont, as Vol. 6 and indicates town as well as volume and page number for person named. A searchable CD-ROM version has been published by New England Historic Genealogical Society (2003), but is being revised to improve its usefulness.
  • Jones, Matt Bushnell. Vermont in the Making. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1939. This is probably the most detailed and easy-to-read account of the Vermont land controversy and its role in the Revolution and formation of the United States.
  • Leppman, John. Bibliography for Vermont Genealogy. St. Albans, Vt.: Genealogical Society of Vermont, 2000. As a selective bibliography, it provides a solid reading and reference list for researching Vermont’s history and communities, as related to family history.
  • Melnyk, Marcia D. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. 4th ed. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999. An essential guide for planning a research trip in Vermont, but because of its date of publication, call ahead to confirm hours, location, and record availability.
  • O’Callaghan, E. B. Documentary History of the State of New York. 4 vols. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parson & Co., 1849–51. This work contains much history regarding the land controversy between New York and Vermont. Vol. 4 contains a large number of Vermont-related document transcriptions. Vermonters are included in Holbrook, 1771 Census (see Census Records).
  • Sherman, Michael, et al. Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont. Montpelier, Vt.: Vermont Historical Society, 2004. The authors provide a comprehensive view of Vermont with historical, social, economic, political, cultural and demographic perspectives, all in a national context.
  • Stilwell, Lewis Dayton. Migration from Vermont. Montpelier, Vt.: Vermont Historical Society, 1948. This is a superbly documented description, generally using secondary sources, of migration in and emigration from Vermont as it related to social and economic problems encountered by Vermonters through 1860.
  • Swift, Esther Munroe. Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History. 1977. Reprint. Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1996. Swift adeptly portrays the complicated history of Vermont’s changing jurisdictions during the land controversy and gives fine descriptive accounts of thousands of place-names in Vermont, including Native American sources and surnames.
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