Before obituaries came into vogue in the 19th century, death notices were published in newspapers to inform the reader of local deaths. Typically these were small, 1 or 2 line missives that gave some basic general information about the decedent. In other cases, more information was added if the individual was held in high esteem or there were interesting facts surrounding the death.
Approximately 1,840 deaths are noted in this index, which contains a large cross-section of death notices. Not every notice of death that appeared in the Courant is included. The author omitted most deaths from Europe as those were typically royalty or other well-known persons with no personal connection to the colonies or North America. Some articles were illegible, which eliminated them due to lack of information. The majority of deaths listed here are from Connecticut and other New England colonies and/or states, but many others are noted from other colonies and/or states as well. Occupations noted for many of these deaths include: clergymen, military figures, merchants, sea captains, and other “everyday” people. There are numerous other people noted as well, specifically women and children. Unfortunately, many of the women and children are unnamed and simply noted as “the wife of John Smith” or “a child on Stephen Jones.” The manner of death in numerous cases is not noted, but there are many unusual types of deaths listed, for instance: disease, accidents, drownings, lightning strikes, executions, and even a few drug overdoses. A surprisingly large number of centenarians are noted. The spelling, capitalization, and punctuation from the original notices has been maintained in order to maintain the “spirit” and context of the original notices. Where appropriate, the author has added footnotes for clarity to address conflicting information, or to expand on material. A glossary and a full-name index add to the value of this work.
Erik S. Hinckley
2023, 8½x11, paper, index, 208 pp.