Conducting historical or genealogical research in Old Lyme can be very rewarding, as there are many resources available. Lyme was originally part of the Saybrook Colony until the “Loving Parting” in 1665. East Lyme separated from Lyme in 1839, and in 1854-1855 Lyme and Old Lyme became separate towns. Because of this shared history, records are held by various institutions throughout “The Lymes”.
The Old Lyme Historical Society Archive is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm, or by appointment. Collections include artifacts, postcards and letters mostly dating from the 19th century to the present. Materials are still being accessioned and space is limited, so advance notice of your visit and research request would be appreciated.
The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library’s Old Lyme Room, houses a large collection of genealogical texts, family histories and other materials of historical interest. http://www.oldlyme.lioninc.org/local-history/old-lyme-room/
The Lyme Historical Society/ Florence Griswold Museum has significant holdings of original documents, letters, photographs, deeds, mercantile and business records, artists’ scrapbooks, and accounts of events that took place in Lyme and Old Lyme. https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/learn/our-history/research-archives/
The Lyme Public Hall Association/Lyme History Archives collects, preserves and makes materials accessible to the public about the history and heritage of Lyme from its earliest Colonial period in the 17th century to the present. http://www.lymepublichall.org/?page_id=651
The Old Saybrook Historical Society
The Stevenson Archives and Library contains books, maps, ledgers, diaries, documents, photographs, mid-20th century newsreels, genealogical material, cemetery records, family papers and histories, log books, architectural histories, Native American material and children’s books on history. http://www.saybrookhistory.org/web_page.php?id=4
The East Lyme Historical Society has a collection of materials related to East Lyme historic sites and family histories.
The Connecticut Historical Society: https://chs.org/research/
The Connecticut State Library: http://libguides.cstatelibrary.org/hg/home
The Old Lyme Cemetery Association keeps indexed maps of the current cemeteries in Old Lyme. To locate someone in an Old Lyme cemetery, or to report an issue, please contact the Association directly. PO Box 957, Old Lyme, CT 06371. Contact: Judith Tooker. (860) 434-1605 Ext. 216.
The Hale Collection is a list of headstone inscriptions for all cemeteries existing in Connecticut in 1934. The list was compiled under the auspices of the F.E.R.A. and the W.P.A., sponsored by the Connecticut State Library. The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library has copies of the Old Lyme, East Lyme, and Lyme editions. All are indexed by name on headstone and include lists of cemeteries and a map of their locations.
GRAVEYARDS IN OLD LYME
Duck River, Laysville, Peck, Black Hall Schoolhouse, Champion #1 and #2, Waite, Old Meeting House Hill, Griswold, Chadwick and Slate. Old Lyme’s oldest graveyard is located near the site of the town’s first two churches on Meetinghouse Hill behind the present-day Old Lyme Country Club.
GRAVEYARDS IN LYME
Sterling, Congregational Church, Bill Hill, Marvin, Brockway, Joshuatown, Selden, Cove, Luther, Daniels, Indian Grave, Beckitt Hill, Gillette, Grassy Hill, Colt, Beebe, Griffin, Sisson, Pleasant View, North Lyme Baptist (moved to Pleasant View), Ely, Lord, Hall (moved to Grassy Hill), Richards.
GRAVEYARDS IN EAST LYME
Old Stone Church, Union, Banty, Rogers, Pest Yard, Center (or Riverhead), Cavarly, Huntley, Crocker, Powers, Flanders Church, 3 Taber Stones, Leech, Fosdick, Barthrick (or Champion #3), Tinker, Old Fox Farm, Holmes, Tilleson, Beebe, Chadwick, Reeve, Indian Cemetery (now in Union Cemetery).
DUCK RIVER CEMETERY
Named for the small river which flows through it, the Duck River Cemetery was established in the seventeenth century and includes some of the oldest gravestones in Old Lyme. Prominent Old Lyme citizens buried here include Reverend Moses Noyes (1643-1729), Governor Matthew Griswold (1712-1797), Reverend Stephen Johnson (1724-1786), and John McCurdy (1724-1785). Also buried here are several artists who were members of the Lyme Art Colony, including Harry Hoffman, Will Howe Foote, Charles and Mary Ebert, William Chadwick, and Clark Voorhees.
Read Dr. John Pfeiffer’s papers:
HISTORIC BUILDING SIGNS
The Old Lyme Historic District Commission has a plaque program to acknowledge historic buildings in Old Lyme. The buildings must have been built in 1939 or before. The plaques contain the name of the original owner or the structure’s purpose (Grange Hall, etc.) and the approximate date of construction. Contact the Old Lyme Historic District Commission for more information.