The Internet Branch of Godfrey Memorial Library
A Library of Genealogy, History and Biography

Winter Hours
Start in January
The Library will be open
to patrons
Wednesday, 12pm to 8pm
Thursday, 11am to 4pm
Friday, 11am to 4pm
1st & 3rd Saturday,
9am to 1pm

Online Access is always 24/7!

Godfrey News


Book Sale Update
Godfrey Memorial Library continues its sale of duplicate books. A wide variety of material is being offered including family genealogies, vital records, town histories and more! The purchase price includes the cost of shipping & handling. All proceeds from the sale go to support the library.

View the list of available books below then email Nancy Thurrott at with your order. Be sure to include the full title of the book, your name, mailing address, and a daytime telephone number where you can be reached. Once your order has been received, Nancy will contact you to confirm availability of the book and to take your credit card payment information. If you would prefer to pay by check, please note that in your email.

Books will be reserved for you for 7 business days. If payment has not been received at that time, the book will return to our sale list.

Current list of books for sale.
Blank order form to mail, fax, or use as worksheet.

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Holiday Closings and Winter Hours

Godfrey Memorial Library will be closed Saturday, December 24, and will reopen to the public on Wednesday, January 4, 2012. While we are closed, we will continue to process new Godfrey Scholar subscriptions and renewals, but we won't be available for telephone assistance. The staff, Trustees, and volunteers wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Beginning on Monday, January 2, 2012, the Library will be on Winter Hours. We will be open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 8:00 PM, Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. We will be available by phone and email Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM to offer assistance, take new subscription and renewal orders, and take requests for AGBI searches and Full searches.

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The Godfrey Memorial Library on air!

Connecticut NBC Channel 30 featured the Godfrey Memorial Library for three days—July 18, 19 and 20. The morning crew—Bob Maxon, Yvonne Nava, and Brad Drazen—all had their genealogies done by Godfrey Memorial Library volunteers and reported on the experience.

They were enthusiastic and shared their personal stories with viewers. Each one learned something new about their family history. Check out each segment by copying and pasting the links below into your browser:

Bob Maxon's Family Tree

Yvonne Nava's Family Tree

Brad Drazen's Family Tree

The stories are also available on the Godfrey Memorial Library Facebook page.

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Channel 30 visits The Godfrey

Check out Connecticut NBC Channel 30 during the week of July 18, 2011. The morning crew—Bob Maxon, Yvonne Nava, and Brad Drazen—all had their genealogies done by Godfrey Memorial Library volunteers.

Each of the on-air personalities came to the library to meet with the volunteers and learn what they had found-including some surprises! See pictures on the Godfrey Facebook page (and Friend us if you haven't yet):!/pages/Godfrey-Memorial-Library/98016116476

Once the programs air, (currently they are set to air Mon - Wed, July 18-20 in the 5:30 and 6:30 half hours, probably around 5:45 am & 6:45 am) they will also be posted on the Channel 30 website:

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Upgrades to Godfrey Scholar Memberships

New service levels have been added to the Green and Gold Godfrey Scholar memberships. Both now feature more in-depth access at no increase in cost!

For information on resources and subscription rates, see:

Green level Godfrey Scholar subscriptions have been upgraded from the World Vital Records U.S. Collection to the World Collection. This is one of the largest online genealogical sites including tens of thousands of sources, many not available on any other Internet site, including genealogies, local histories, census records, newspapers, vital records, and other primary sources. The World Collection also now features Newspaper Archives, the largest historic newspaper source online, containing more than 3,200 titles from the United States and Canada from the 1700s to the 20th Century.

Gold level Godfrey Scholar subscriptions also include the WVR World Collection and Newspaper Archives, as well as three new databases designed to assist members in their in-depth research. A description of each follows:

Dictionary of Irish Biography

Published in collaboration with the Royal Irish Academy, the Dictionary of Irish Biography is the most comprehensive and authoritative biographical reference work available both in print and online for Ireland. This nine-volume set is an invaluable tool for all who study Irish literature and history. This resource outlines the careers of prominent men and women born in Ireland and the noteworthy Irish careers of those born outside of Ireland. Distinctive features of the Dictionary:

  • Contains over 9,000 entries covering 9,700 lives, with each entry providing helpful cross-references to other subjects
  • Biographical subjects include artists, scientists, lawyers, actors, musicians, writers, politicians, criminals and saints
  • Includes biographies of outstanding women who have been previously overlooked.
Social Explorer

Social Explorer is an online research tool designed to provide access to modern and historical census data and demographic information.
Social Explorer's easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to help visually analyze and understand demography and social change throughout history. The site currently includes data from the entire US Census from 1790 to 2000, all annual updates from the American Community Survey to 2008, original Census tract-level estimates for 2006 and 2007, the Religious Congregations and Membership Study from 1980 to 2000. Reports can be created at all geographic levels including the state, county, census tract, block group, zip code, and census places.

Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines

Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines: Important and Rare Periodicals from Confederate, Union, Abolitionist, and British Presses—the definitive online Civil War media resource.

The database contains 65,000 pages drawn from 49 periodicals, including 15 campaign newspapers, most of them illustrated—3,720 issues published from 1860 to 1865. Originally printed in 16 different cities, many of the publications are now rare and hard to find, with an item sometimes extant only in a single archive. Carefully sought out and compiled from 17 different museum, library, and private collections, including those of the American Antiquarian Society and the Chicago Historical Society, these resources are now available to modern scholars in electronic form for the first time.

The 49 publications that comprise Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines present four viewpoints—Union, Confederate, Abolitionist, and British. Every page has been scanned at high resolution and the content re-keyed, making the issues fully searchable, either individually or in any combination. Search by year, group of years, or topic, or browse each publication from issue to issue through the years, as did readers of the time. The database also contains a sample selection of 600 letters from Alexander Street's The American Civil War Letters and Diaries—300 Union and 300 Confederate.

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Census of Old Buildings in Connecticut

In 1934, a small group of people began visiting every town in Connecticut to survey its "old buildings." A Work Projects Administration (WPA) project, the staff of the Census of Old Buildings in Connecticut completed forms with information about the buildings, and often also took photographs of the buildings. Most are houses, but some schools, churches, factories, and libraries are included. The survey forms and photographs were originally deposited in the State Archives. Names of owners are included on the forms.

The Connecticut State Library has transcribed the forms, digitized the photographs, and is presenting them online as part of the CSL Digital Collections. The WPA Architectural Survey Census of Old Buildings can be viewed at

As of June 2011, this information is online for Andover through Morris. This is a work in progress and the information for other towns is being added as time allows. Most of the buildings have no name, and locations are rarely addresses, for example, "East side, facing west on Conn. 93, at southeast corner of Green."ť Construction dates and the original owners are as written on the survey forms, even though more recent research may provide different information. Current owners are also listed, but those are the people current as of the 1930s.

The State Library encourages viewers to use the "Tell Us More"ť field in each building's descriptive metadata (information about an item) to email us with more information about each building, its history, its address, current status, and any other relevant data.

Any questions can be directed to Carol Ganz, Reference Librarian, Connecticut State Library,, 860-757-6587.

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Godfrey Board Member Wins Historic Preservation Award

The Society Daughters of Colonial Wars in Connecticut has presented Godfrey Board member Ed Laput with the Society's regional award for Historical Research and Preservation. Connecticut DCW President made the presentation at the library board meeting on June 14, 2011.

The award was based on the Connecticut chapter's nomination of Ed Laput for his work on preserving Connecticut cemetery information. Ed and other volunteers who assist him work to photograph each gravestone in a cemetery and record the information contained in each inscription. He then inputs that data into a database available through the Godfrey Memorial Library. There are currently over 300 state cemeteries in the database, which is growing every month.

Click here to view photo: Connecticut Society Daughters of Colonial Wars President Stephanie Lantiere presents Ed Laput with the Society's award for historic preservation.

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Bible Project Reunites Family & Long-lost Bible

The Godfrey Memorial Library collects family bibles in order to record the family names included with them. After cataloging and scanning, we try to locate the family to see if they would like the bible returned to them. Family bibles can be lost over time for a variety of reasons, and quite often descendants are quite pleased to have them returned to the family.

The Leonard family bible is one such story with a happy ending. It was donated to the Library in 2010 and after cataloging and scanning the family data, a message was posted on seeking any family members who might want it back. The bible recorded the marriage of John P. Leonard and Mary A. Renz in San Franscisco, November 1894. It went on to record family births and deaths through 1911, when John P. Leonard died.

The Library was recently contacted by John Leonard, who recognized the names as belonging to his grandfather and grandmother. His nephew, Richard Leonard, happened to be traveling in Connecticut and visited the Godfrey Memorial Library to pick up the bible and reunite it with the Leonard family.

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Researching Civil War Ancestors at The Godfrey

The Friends of the Godfrey Library will present a program on researching Civil War soldiers, Saturday, June 11 at 1:30 pm at the Godfrey Memorial Library, Middletown.

Almost three million men took part in the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. Was your ancestor one of them? Plan to attend if you wish to learn about your ancestor's military service and the special Civil War resources, including regimental histories, held by Godfrey Memorial.

Godfrey Library staff member Sharon Dahlmeyer-Giovannitti will conduct the presentation, which will begin after a brief business meeting. June 11th is the annual meeting of the Friends of the Godfrey Library.

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Godfrey Library and the Civil War Sesquicentennial

Godfrey Library and the Civil War Sesquicentennial April 12, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War in which some 620,000 Americans lost their lives. When the war began Connecticut regiments were called to arms by decrees from both President Abraham Lincoln and Connecticut’s Governor William Buckingham. Connecticut sent 55,000 men, or 47% of its male population between the ages of 15-50, in the most massive war mobilization in state's history.

The Godfrey Memorial Library, a private, non-profit library open to the public, has in-depth resources for those wishing to research Civil War history and biography in general, and family histories of those who served or were affected by the Civil War. Among the specialized resources held by The Godfrey is the American Civil War Research Database, with information on more than four million soldiers and thousands of battles, along with more than 16,000 photographic images. The Civil War Letters and Diaries Database contains diaries, letters, and memoirs by more than 2,000 authors who lived during those climactic events. Additionally, the library has databases containing many 19th century newspapers with first-hand accounts of politics and battles. These newspaper resources include seven African-American newspapers 1827to 1902, offering a seldom-seen perspective on the conflict.

The Godfrey Library is a unique resource for genealogists and historians. “The Godfrey is one of the best kept secrets in Connecticut,” said library director James Benn. “It is a premier research site for family history research, and perfect for anyone wanting to work on Civil War research during the 150th anniversary.”

The Godfrey maintains an extensive collection of essential resources to help in genealogical and historical research. Library staff is available to help users locate relatives through city and business directories, vital records, printed census records, state, county, and local histories as well as numerous family histories, family bible records, and service and pension records. The library is free and open to the public. Subscriptions to database resources can be purchased to allow for off-site research.

As part of the Sesquicentennial, The Godfrey is offering a Civil War publication at a significant discount. “A Noble and Glorious Cause: The Life, Times and Civil War Service of Captain Elijah W. Gibbons”, originally published by The Godfrey Memorial Library in 2005 and priced at $35.00 is now available for $15.00 at the library. Follow the war experiences of Captain Gibbons of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry and his men from Middletown as they respond to the call to arms and until the battle of Fredericksburg. Please call the library to order or stop by to pick up your copy now though April 30th.

For information about Connecticut’s upcoming observance of the Civil War anniversary events, see:

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134 Newfield St, Middletown, CT 06457 | Tel: 860-346-4375 | Fax: 860-347-9874
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