An old proverb states that "the eyes are the windows into the soul." A genealogy corollary is that "a photo is a window into the lives of your ancestors."
I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors' lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through.
So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.
For the state of Connecticut, what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not be constantly checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated October, 2019; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Bridgeport Photo Collection
- Bridgeport Postcard Collection
- Central Connecticut State University Digital Collections
- Connecticut Ancient Faces
- Connecticut Collections - Still Images
- Connecticut Dead Fred
- Connecticut Digital Archive - Photos
- Connecticut History Illustrated
- Connecticut Images Collection
- Connecticut Old Family Photos
- Connecticut River Museum Archival Photographs
- Connecticut State Library Digital Collections - a number of photo collections
- Connecticut State Library Flickr Albums
- Cornwall Historical Society Photos
- Eastern Connecticut State University Digital Collections
- Easton Historical Society Photo Archive
- Fairfield County Photos
- Fairfield Museum Photograph Collection
- Florence Griswold Museum Photograph Exhibits
- Greenwich Historical Photographs and Postcards
- Greenwich Photographs
- Groton Postcard Collection
- Gunn Historical Museum - Washington
- Hartford County and Connecticut Miscellaneous Photos
- Historic Photos of Georgetown
- Historical New Haven Photo Collection
- Historical Society of Glastonbury - Glastonbury
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- Manchester Historical Society Image Collections
- Mystic River Historical Society Online Photo Exhibits
- Mystic Seaport Museum Photographs
- National Archives - Digital Photograph Collections
- New Haven Historical Image Collection
- New Haven Museum Photograph Collections
- New London County Album
- New London Postcards
- Noank Historical Society - Virtual Exhibits Online
- Norwalk Public Library - Norwalk
- Norwich - Otis Library Photo Collections
- Old Images of Connecticut
- Otis Library Photo Albums
- Photo Treasures of Connecticut
- Photographs of Hartford
- Pictures of Redding
- Ridgefield Historical Society - Ridgefield
- Sharon Photos and Postcards
- Smithsonian Images
- Stamford Historical Photos
- Treasures of Connecticut Libraries
- University of Connecticut Archives & Special Collections
- Vintage Milford and Woodmont Photos
- Waterbury Time Machine
- Western Connecticut State University Photographs
- Wood Memorial Library - South Windsor
- Yale University Digital Collections
- Yale University Digital Images Database
For historic photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!