Annals of Winchester is back

Annals of Winchester is back
Annals of Winchester is back

Annals of Winchester, previously one of our best-selling CD-ROMs, had been unavailable since we discontinued our CD-ROM business to concentrate on low-cost, immediately available downloads.

However, we’ve had several requests for this classic, which, to anticipate a question we were asked many times about the CD, Annals of Winchester DOES include the history of Winsted.

If you are seeking historical information about the Town of Winchester, or Winsted, or the people who lived there and the businesses that made this an important manufacturing center, Annals of Winchester is pretty much the go-to source.  It is indexed — and we have added an additional index of place names that we compiled — and, since it is in PDF format, easy to use on any computer.

There’s lots more information available on our Annals of Winchester page, so please have a look.  If you considered buying the CD originally but were put off by the price tag, you will find that the download version is a small fraction of that amount — and has the advantage of being an immediate download, not something you have to wait a week or more for the Post Office to deliver.

So, CLICK HERE to go to our Annals of Winchester page.

And join us in celebrating that Annals of Winchester is back!

Lime Rock Walking Tour

More than a decade ago, Geoff Brown, the Principal Partner of Between the Lakes Group, was asked by the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area to conduct a Lime Rock Walking Tour.  He repeated the tour by request a few years later.

Trinity Church in Lime Rock graciously hosted the tour and provided hospitality as well as access to their archives.  Lime Rock Park provided a highly knowledgeable historian of the track to tell us a bit about that internationally known institution from an insider’s point of view.  Many others helped in ways too numerous to mention.

But there was one problem.  A number of people told us they would like to go on a Lime Rock Walking Tour, but they were not physically capable of walking the three miles that even a minimal tour would require.  What could we do?  The answer was soon in coming:  we would prepare a Powerpoint slide show of the walking tour, and while those up to the walk could experience it in real life, those who could not would be able to watch the slide show in Trinity’s Walker Hall in comfort.

As we prepared the slide show, it quickly became clear that we would be able to put far more information about Lime Rock in the slide show than actual participants in the Lime Rock Walking Tour would actually get to see.  We could include sights too distant to walk to.  We could include historic photos and maps of features of Lime Rock that were no longer there.  We could include concise summaries of things we would talk about on the walk.  We could include photos of sights that still remain that are not accessible because they are on private property.

Ultimately, the slide show accompanying the Lime Rock Walking Tour became considerably more comprehensive and satisfying than the tour itself!

Subsequently, we decided to make the slide show of the Lime Rock Walking Tour available as a CD-ROM.  We sold quite a number in that format, but when the time came to retire our CD business, the slide show became unavailable.

However, we recently resurrected the slide show and, realizing we could republish it as a PDF file, could include even more information and photos than the slideshow format permitted.  For example, we could provide the old maps in a way that people could study them as long as they wanted.  We were able to add considerable information that would have passed too quickly to be absorbed in a slide show.  We could even improve on the original slide show by incorporating information unearthed since the slide show was created.

Coincidentally, we had two “real” books in the works.  Research for our forthcoming “The Lakeville Crucifix” and “History of Trinity Lime Rock in Context” had turned up huge amounts of information that permitted an updating of the Lime Rock Walking Tour slide show that genuinely improved it.

This is all in the way of announcing that the new, enlarged and enhanced Lime Rock Walking Tour is now available as a download in PDF format.  Now 141 pages long, we feel that it is something that belongs in the collection of any student of Lime Rock or the Town of Salisbury or the historic iron industry of the Upper Housatonic Valley.

More information and an opportunity to download the document are on our Lime Rock page.   We encourage you to take a look!  CLICK HERE to find out more about it!

Here’s one of the items we particularly like that appears in the Lime Rock Walking Tour:

Lime Rock Walking Tour
A photo of the company band of the Barnum Richardson Company circa 1900


Middletown CT Downloads

We’ve got some Middletown CT downloads available for you!

Several years ago, we collected a quantity of Middletown, CT material and published it on a CD-ROM, called, somewhat predictably, the

Middletown, CT

When we decided that times and technology had provided better alternatives than CDs for distributing our material, we took this one out of the catalog along with the others.  Now, The Middletown Collection has made its way to the head of the queue as “Middletown CT Downloads” and we are pleased to bring you four new items.

Here’s what is now available:

–The Middletown Real Property List, tabulated by street, for 1931.  Want to see exactly where someone lived in 1931 and what their property was valued at?  Want to see who lived in a particular location in that year?  You can do it with this download.

–The 1947 Cauldron yearbook from Middletown, CT, High School, including the supplement that filled in the blanks representing the time between when the yearbook was published during the school year and graduation.  The supplement, by the way, is very hard to find today — not surprisingly — but it is included in the download.

The Connecticut Quarterly was an elegant magazine about all kinds of Connecticut topics that began in the closing years of the 19th century.  One of the earlier communities that received feature article treatment was Middletown!  Lovely photos and quite a bit of history here too.

Middletown Ephemera.  One thing we miss about the CD-ROMs was the ability to include random material that certainly didn’t justify a CD of its own, and was even a little weak to make a separate download.  However, when we collected the ephemera from this CD, it represented a nice package, and some may find material in it that is of use to them.  One item here is the relevant Middletown listings for one of the annual Connecticut Registers.  Another is a collection of postcards of Middletown and particularly of the fraternity houses at Wesleyan.  A Chamber of Commerce brochure is here, as is the program for the Middletown tercentenary.

Unlike the old days, when you had to buy a CD-ROM with everything on it even if you just wanted one of these items, now you can pick and choose — and probably save yourself a few dollars in the process.

Why not have a look?  Take a look at our overall catalog as well.  Who knows what might be there for you?

The Wesleyan Gymnasium, back in the day


New Milford downloads

We’re happy to announce two New Milford downloads!

A few months ago we announced that we had discontinued our “New Milford: 230 Years” CD-ROM.

A 1907 panorama map of New Milford

Now, we’re happy to say that we’ve followed through on our commitment to bring you the important material from that CD in the form of downloadable files.  You benefit because (1) it’s less expensive for us to deliver material to you by downloads than by making and shipping CDs — so we pass the savings along to you, and (2) you get the material you want immediately (or as fast as the file can download) without waiting for us to pack and ship the CD and the Post Office to deliver it to you.

Without further ado, here are the two books that are once again available as downloads:

Two Centuries of New Milford:  1707 – 1907

The New Milford High School yearbook for 1937

Both of these include indexes we prepared especially for them, and both are in PDF format — readable on your computer, whether a PC or Mac.

While the CD-ROM cost $20 plus postage, these downloads are available for $5 for the Two Centuries book, and $4 for the 1937 yearbook.

Take a look at the New Milford page of our website for more information!

The New Milford seal as it appeared on the front of the original book

Or, have a look at our catalog!

Suffield History and Genealogy

Suffield history and genealogy took a step forward this week, as we re-published some documents that should be genuinely helpful.

Suffield Quarter Millennial
We’ve re-published Suffield: Quarter Millennial

Here are the four:

  1. Suffield Quarter Millennial — this book encompasses the history of Suffield, CT from its founding until the time of the celebration, is also the program for the celebration, and has tons of additional Suffield information in it.
  2. An annual report from Suffield’s Congregational Church.  Town (and church) history, lists of pastors, lists of members and also “absent members”
  3. A Sagitta yearbook from Suffield High School
  4. A package of miscellany, including an article from the first volume of the Connecticut Quarterly, a short excerpt from the Connecticut Guide, and a lot of photos.

You can find all this Suffield history and genealogy on our Suffield page on our main website.  If Suffield, CT is of interest to you, have a look today!

History of the Town of Litchfield, CT

Alain White wrote this book around 1920 for the Litchfield Historical Society, and it’s the definitive history of the Litchfield Township from the point where the early town histories leave off until the point when White’s book went to press.

Litchfield map
Litchfield Map from White’s History of the Town of Litchfield

Several years ago, we scanned, indexed, and published the book as a CD-ROM — and it was a moderately good seller.

Then, two things happened:

  1.  Technology advanced.  CDs fell out of favor, replaced by downloads
  2.  Several not for profit organizations scanned lots of historical works and made them available for free.

Retiring the CD was not a difficult decision at that point.

But there were two downsides:

  1.  The free downloads did not have the index we painstakingly created of this book, and
  2.   While the free downloads are certainly legible, the quality of the reproduction of the images leaves a bit to be desired (compared with our high-resolution scans).

If you’ll go to the page on our main website about this book, you’ll see where you can get a free download of this book (minus the index, and at decent but not great resolution).

You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase and download our version, which DOES include the index and the high resolution scans.  (We also provide a free list of everything that showed up in the index so you can decide before purchasing whether our index is worth the money.)


The Tories of Connecticut

Here’s another new download from the Connecticut Quarterly, Volume IV (1898).

It did not take much to be considered a Tory during the times of the American Revolution — being committed to maintaining the status quo was really the only requirement to be categorized as such.  As a consequence, Connecticut had many, many people who fell in this category.

As the article points out, not all were subjected to criminal prosecution, but there were many ways in which Connecticut’s Tories paid for their loyalty to King and to the status quo.  The “Tory effect” was also lasting.  Descendents of Tories often found that it was prudent to move westward rather than stay in their Connecticut home towns with the stigma of being the child or even later descendant of a Tory.

This could result in whole communities forming in newly settled areas in which the occupants generally were guarded about where they came from and why they had elected to settle where they did.

You can access this article for download on the “Connecticut Miscellany” page of our main website.

Rockville HS 25th Reunion

A few years ago we republished the high school yearbook of the class of 1932 from Rockville High School in Connecticut.

Now we are happy to offer a rare chance to be able to look back on these students a quarter century (and one great depression and two wars) later with their 25th reunion program.

Rockville HS reunion
Rockville High School Class of 1932 25th Reunion

More information about this program, now available as a download, is on the Tolland County page of our main website.


Owl Annual – 1917 – Hartford High School

This is one of the oldest high school yearbooks we’ve republished, and also one of the best.  High school yearbooks were different animals, back before the roaring 20s — indeed, high schools were!  Not everyone went to high school, just for openers.

Hartford, Connecticut, was also a different city.  Hartford was prosperous then.   This was a time when the city (and probably the state) were governed by the “Seven Bishops” — the Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut, and the CEOs of the six major insurance companies headquartered there that made Hartford the Insurance Capital of America.   
Hartford High School

This is a remarkable social document, and it is available now as a download now, for $5.00.

See it on our main website HERE.

Hodgkin – Hotchkin – Hotchkiss Family History

Hodgkin.  Hotchkin.  Hotchkiss.  Three names for a single family?

In a word, yes.  A fellow names John Hodgkin (sometimes also spelled Hodke) immigrated circa 1648 from England, settling in Guilford, Connecticut.  He married and raised a family.  And his descendents commonly used the  three variants in this post’s title for their surnames, but, just to keep things interesting, also pluralized the first two of these on occasion, so one occasionally finds Hodgkins and Hotchkins as individual surnames.  Compounding the problems, from a genealogical perspective, is the fact that a man named Samuel Hotchkiss arrived in New Haven proper around the same time.  Samuel also produced a large family, but they at least stuck to Hotchkiss as a surname pretty generally.

If your reaction so far is a big “so what?” it’s not entirely a surprise.  Back in the day spelling of surnames (and pretty much everything else) was an opportunity to exercise one’s creativity, so deviant spellings of surnames are a dime a dozen, really.

However, there were a few aspects of this family that are a bit more interesting than that.

First of all, how’s your British (and American colonial) history?  John Hodgkin came here as part of a migration of Puritans from England — the fact that he settled in Connecticut rather than Massachusetts Bay Colony suggests that he was probably a very strict Puritan as well.  He appears in the records as “Governor Leete’s man” so we find no reason that he would not have fit this pattern.  Fast forward a few years, until the Puritan takeover (think Oliver Cromwell) in England, when the victors decided to execute the King they had deposed.  The judges on that court became known, after the monarchy was restored, as the Regicides (and king-killing is not favorably viewed by monarchists in general).

So, unsurprisingly, the hunt for the Regicides began.  Two, named Whalley and Goffe, had fled to New England (they were fortunate to get out of England alive) (for a list of all the Regicides and what happened to them, try Wikipedia).  Since New England was still a British colony, they had not outrun the law, however, and the King’s agents searched for them here.  They were spirited from house to house, from community to community, even from colony to colony — and one of their stopovers was with John Hodgkin and his family.

The Hodgkin/Hotchkin/etc. family tended, in subsequent generations, to produce clergymen, a few of whom developed well-deserved reputations as writers, and others of whom developed reputations for other things.

The writers included the Rev. James Hervey Hotchkin, who wrote an early history about the settlement of Western New York State (which we have re-published on CD-ROM — find more information HERE); and the Rev. S. F. Hotchkin (he defied family tradition and became an Episcopal priest) who wrote a series of local history books about Philadelphia and the surrounding area — we plan to republish one of these soon.

Less savory were Hotchkin clergymen who sided against a Connecticut girl marrying a Hawaiian native to the extent that he led a schism in the local Congregational church, and another who had a missionary interest in Native American and black women in the South around the time of the Civil War.  He is notable not because he saved many souls, but because his ministrations to these unfortunate women produced a branch of the family referred to today as the Black Hotchkins.

John Hodgkin (Hotchkin) of Guilford, CT and his Descendents
John Hodgkin (Hotchkin) of Guilford, CT and his Descendents

All of this is prelude to the fact that the principal partner of Between the Lakes Group, along with a number of hard working and intelligent family members, back in the 1980s, produced a book entitled “John Hodgkin (Hotchkin) of Guilford, CT and his descendents”.  The book sold out two printings in hard cover almost immediately — there are indeed many descendents of John Hotchkin, or at least many people who want to know about his and the family he produced —  and now we have re-published it in digital form as a download.  If you go HERE to our New Haven, CT page, you can learn more about this download — and perhaps enjoy a copy of your own.

(We should add that unlike some in the genealogy biz, we believe that all lines, male and female, legitimatized by matrimony or not, deserve to be followed.  In preparing this book we followed this practice, and we hope that you appreciate this and understand that as a result there are some surnames appearing in the index nearly as frequently as Hotchkin does — Beers is an example.)