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How to Research Old Roads

The old roads which lace through the back woods in Vermont are usually town roads, and most were created in the earliest decades of settlement.  The period 1790-1830 was a time of great population growth in rural Vermont, and it is that same time that many of our present roads were created. There are also state roads, turnpikes, and county roads.  Most, however, are Town roads. Here we describe the process for researching them.  This is an overview of how to look for road layouts in Town records.


What Am I Looking For?
You are looking for a "road layout", a written document by which the Town "lays out" a road through private property.  Typically this is a one or two page hand-written document with a description of the proposed road. Sometimes it is a vague description, sometimes it is precise. This is an official Town action, and the citizens must agree to it by vote, typically in a Town Meeting.
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Revised: 06/02/08
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