Janice W. Bell Research Room

Janice W. Bell Research Room

The Janice Wightman Bell historical research room, located at the Bill Library, is dedicated to the history of the land and people of Ledyard and Gales Ferry, Connecticut. The room, named for Janice W. Bell, who was the first Town Historian and Society Archivist, contains photos, diaries, letters, documents, maps, genealogies, and more, all pertaining to local people, places, and events.

To view the Digital Collections of the Bell Room, please visit the Online Exhibits page. 

Visiting the Bell Room

Visiting the Bell Room

We are open most Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and other days by appointment. We are closed on national holidays. Please make an appointment to secure a time slot for your visit and to ensure that our team of dedicated volunteers can provide the best research assistance possible. Email us at [email protected].

The Bell Room is located inside the Ledyard Public Library’s Bill branch at 718 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, Connecticut. (Please note that there is another library with a similar name – Bill Memorial Library – in nearby Groton, Connecticut.)

Submitting a Research Request

Submitting a Research Request

If you are unable to visit the Bell Room, inquiries may be submitted in one of the following ways:

  • Email your question to [email protected]
  • Mail a completed copy of the Research Inquiry Form [LINK to PDF] to: Bell Research Room, Bill Library, 718 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, CT 06339

Please provide specific questions or requests to help us assist you.


“I am looking for information connecting John Davis (1794-1853) to Andrew Stanton Davis (1818-1894) whom I believe is his son.”

“I was told by another historical society that you have some papers on the Geer Family. I am looking for items pertaining to Katherine Geer (1843-1891) whose parents were John Geer & Mary Lamb.” 

“When was the Juliet Long school opened in Gales Ferry? Can you tell me about the person it is named after?”



Archivist – Andrea Buka
[email protected]
(860) 464-9912 (Bill Library phone)



Local Historical Resources

Local Historical Resources

Search the Society’s cataloged collection here:

Items with a call number containing “HISTRM” are in the Bell Room. Some titles also have copies in the Ledyard Library’s collection.

Please note: Books, images, and other materials are constantly being added to the library’s catalog and the Society’s database. Search for keywords such as a family name, a place, or a local historical event. Successful searches may be conducted by searching by title or author, as well. For assistance please contact the archivist at [email protected]

Ledyard Public Library – Bill & Gales Ferry branches https://ledyardlibrary.org/

Ledyard Up Down Sawmill https://www.ledyardsawmill.org/

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center  https://www.pequotmuseum.org/  

Mohegan Tribe’s Tantaquidgeon Museum  https://www.mohegan.nsn.us/explore/museum

New London County Historical Society https://www.nlchs.org/

Quaker Town Online https://www.quakertownonline.net/

Groton Public Library’s Local History Room https://www.groton-ct.gov/departments/library/research.php

Preston Historical Society https://www.preston-ct.org/294/Historical-Society and the Preston Public Library which houses the Society’s archive https://prestonpubliclibrary.org/

Otis Library’s Edward & Mary Lord Local History and Genealogy Room in Norwich, CT https://www.otislibrarynorwich.org/genealogy

Old Mystic History Center https://oldmystichistory.org/

Mystic River Historical Society https://mystichistory.org/

Connecticut Museum of History and Culture (formerly the CT Historical Society)


Connecticut State Library – Genealogy https://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/home

Connecticut State Archives & CT State Museum, etc. https://ctstatelibrary.org/departments/ and https://ctstatelibrary.org/research/ for more specific collections

Connecticut Digital Archive https://ctdigitalarchive.org/

Other Historical Resources

Other Historical Resources

Discover the Native Peoples lands on which you live and work:   https://native-land.ca/ 

National Archives  https://www.archives.gov/research

Library of Congress – Historic American Newspapers  https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

Library of congress – Digital exhibits https://www.loc.gov/collections/

Smithsonian Museum Archives https://www.si.edu/siasc

New England Historic and Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors https://www.americanancestors.org/

Dead Fred – Historical photo search https://www.deadfred.com/index.php

Family Search https://www.familysearch.org/en/

Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/

Ancestry.com – Free access to the library edition is available at the Ledyard Library’s Bill and Gales Ferry branches, including on your own device while connected to the library’s Wi-Fi. (Many libraries have subscriptions, so check with your local library, too.)

Google books https://books.google.com/

Hathi Trust Digital Library https://www.hathitrust.org/the-collection/search-access/

Internet Archive https://archive.org/

Wayback Machine (Internet Archive) https://archive.org/web/