Saturday, June 28, 2014

This Week in the Scholar

We are continuing to sort through our collection of Revolutionary War books and adding them to the Scholar!  Books, state regimental histories, muster rolls and other records, we have a little bit of everything!

We are also happy to announce that all books and records in our Military section, save a few files giving us some trouble, are now available in our Page Viewer!  All these files are fully searchable and easy to navigate.  Next week the pdfs in the State and Local Histories section get the same treatment!

The Doolittle Funeral Home in Middletown Connecticut has generously offered to let up scan and add volumes of their burial returns from post 1950!  The first of these new volumes is already up!  An index is in the works and you can expect this volume and the others we upload to be searchable in the near future.

Funeral Home Records
Doolittle Funeral Home Funeral Home Burial Returns Dec. 1950 to Oct. 1952 

Revolutionary War
State Papers of New Hampshire Vol. 14: Rolls of Soldiers in the Revolutionary War*
Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War*
Pennsylvania Archives 2nd Series, Vol. 10: War of the Revolution Battalions and Line*
Pennsylvania Archives 5th Series, Vol. 4: Pension Applications*
Pennsylvania Archives 6th Series, Vol. 2: Muster Rolls Relating to the Associators and Militia of the County of Washington*

Civil War

The 2nd Regiment of Rhode Island*
The 5th Regiment of Rhode Island*
History of the 9th and 10th Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers*

 Vermont in the Civil War*
Wisconsin in the War of Rebellion*
The Military History of Wisconsin*

Spanish American War
Roster Roll of the 8th Army Corps

The American Historical Register of the Patriotic-Hereditary Societies of the United States*
The Lucky Bag: 1922, The Annual of the Regiment of Midshipmen United States Naval Academy*
NH, The Loyalist Refugees of New Hampshire*
NY, Our Veterans Brave and Noble


Not a Scholar?  Visit our website to subscribe today or call the library at (860) 346-4375.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Volunteers Wanted!

Between scanning and photographing new books, indexing handwritten records, cataloging, and all the other miscellaneous tasks that need to be done on a daily basis there is never a dull moment at the Godfrey!  In fact, the Godfrey has so much going on that we're looking for some new volunteers to help us out!  If you are interested in genealogy, libraries, or just looking for something to do, why not give it a try?

We are especially looking for volunteers interested in indexing and scanning documents for eventual inclusion in the Scholar+ database.  Behind every indexed handwritten record is hours of work done by our dedicated volunteers.  They record the information into spreadsheets which are then used to create the digital index for each record.  We are experimenting with remote indexing so in some cases you may not need to come to the library at all to volunteer!  If you would like to index for us it is helpful if you know how to read cursive, as many of the older handwritten records are entirely in cursive.

Before indexing each book must be scanned.  The Godfrey uses a non-destructive scanning process that, while it takes a little more time, preserves the original work.  Our scanners are often some of the first people to read these documents in years!  They find all sorts of interesting information.  While scanning the Haddam Neck Area Vital Records Abstracts a volunteer found the tragic note regarding the half brothers John Ranney and Jerusha Flood.  Both brothers fought in the Seminole War, but only Jerusha survived.  According the abstract he brought his brother’s head home in a bag.  Scanning is easy to learn, so even if you are not familiar with computers you’ll pick it up quickly!

The Godfrey gets donations of books on a semi regular basis.  When possible we add these books to our existing collection, which necessitates cataloging them before they go out to the shelves.  We use LibraryWorld as our primary cataloging tool.  If you’re interested in pursuing a career in a library this would be a great experience to put on your résumé!  We recommend that anyone interested in cataloging be familiar with using a computer.

If anything here strikes your fancy why not come and volunteer?  If you want to volunteer and are interested in something else, don’t hesitate to ask!  These are just the three main project areas where volunteers are needed; there are plenty of other jobs volunteers can take care of too.  Whether you’re young or old, the Godfrey will welcome you!  People interested in volunteering can contact the library at (860) 346-4375.

Friday, June 13, 2014

This Week in the Scholar

In addition to creating the American Genealogical-Biographical Index Godfrey Library founder Fremont Rider published a three volume set of the genealogy of the Rider (Ryder) families.  This set, titled, Preliminary Materials for a genealogy of the Rider (Ryder) Families in the United States*, is now a part of the Godfrey Scholar+ Online Library!

Don't let the "Preliminary Materials" portion of the title deter you: in these three volumes Fremont Rider compiled information regarding members from forty independent Rider/Ryder families by searching through over twenty thousand books, over two thousand probate manuscripts and vital records, and engaging in detailed correspondence with nearly four hundred members of the Rider/Ryder families.  In his own words Rider states that this work, "is intended to furnish a foundation upon which, perhaps, later "Rider" genealogists may usefully build.  In the meantime it will provide those seeking the genealogical background of this wide-spread plexus of families with a great deal of basic data."

Like the AGBI the Rider (Ryder) Genealogy is arranged according to the "Rider Trace" System of Presentation.  Persons are listed alphabetically by last name.  Under each person's name is a small selection of relevant information which may include the date and place of birth, spouse, children, and other important dates.  Notations as to where the information was originally found are also listed under the names.  The key to decipher the abbreviations abbreviated notations is located in the colored pages of Volume 1.

A Rider (Ryder) Genealogy finding aid will be available soon.  In the finding aid we will provide a key for notation abbreviations and links to the sources referenced (when possible).

Other Additions

Histories of the Thirty-Third, Thirty-Seventh, Thirty-Eighth, Forty-Second, and Forty-Fourth Regiments from Massachusetts in the Civil War*
Histories of the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Regiments from New Hampshire in the Civil War*

State and Local Histories
The History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts*


Not a Scholar?  Visit our website to subscribe today or call the library at (860) 346-4375.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Ed Laput Cemetery Reaches a Major Milestone!

The Ed Laput Cemetery Project has eclipsed the 900 mark! Ed and his merry volunteer band of brothers and sisters have finished photographing and indexing 35 cemeteries in just the last two months. Recent additions include the first cemeteries we’ve cataloged in Willington, Stafford, Tolland, and Ellington.

“I started this project with the idea that this was going to be a local thing for where I live in Colchester and the surrounding towns,” says Ed Laput. “It has certainly turned out to be more than that, and now it is something that I am passionate about.”

The database now includes over 260,000 photos and 325,000 names. What’s even more exciting is the recent addition of over 100 headstones that were not recorded in the Charles Hale Index in the 1930s.

We have also just finished the cemeteries in Old Saybrook, adding Junction and Riverside. Godfrey Board member Charlie Beebe is currently photographing Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme, one of just two cemeteries left in that town. Board member Bruce Tyler is photographing Rose Hill, the final cemetery to be completed in Rocky Hill.

Coming soon will be several large cemeteries with thousands of new names, including Pine Grove Cemetery in Middletown, Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, New Wapping Cemetery in South Windsor, and St. Michael’s Cemetery in Stonington. Photographs of all four have been completed and volunteers are currently working on the database for each one.

“The larger cemeteries take months of work after the pictures are taken,” says Gene Gumbs, one of the project’s volunteers. “We use the Hale Collection as our starting point and then add all the headstones installed since the 1930s. In addition, Ed and I like to go the extra mile and do the research to try and find the exact birth and death dates for anyone who died after 1949, using the Connecticut and Social Security Death Indexes. This takes extra time, but it is something that sets our collection apart and will be useful for many years to come for anyone tracing their family history.”

The Godfrey Scholar gives anyone complete access to the collection, as well as dozens of other genealogical databases, and it is growing daily. It is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to trace their family roots.

If you’d like to get involved with the project we need people who can type information into spreadsheets, rename digital photos, and help us find the abandoned and remote burial grounds throughout the state. If you know of an old cemetery that we have not photographed yet and want to help us out with the location, please give the library a call. If you love history and mystery this is the volunteer project for you!

-Gene Gumbs

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

This Week in the Scholar

These past six months Godfrey staff and volunteers have been busy bringing all sorts of new content to the Godfrey Scholar.  Updates have gotten so frequent that we've decided the best way to let people know is through weekly posts on Genealogy from the Godfrey and the Godfrey Facebook page!

Welcome to the first installment of "This Week in the Scholar"!  This week will cover notable content added to the Scholar from the past six months.

The Ed Laput Cemetery Project has reached their goal of completing 900 cemeteries!*
Church Records
Records from the First Congregational Church of Cromwell, CT (1715-1875)*
Records from the Second Congregational Church of Groton, CT (1727-1839)
Records from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown, CT, Six Volumes (1750-1868)*
Records from the First Congregational Church of North Stonington (1727-1832)*
Records from the Presbyterian Church of East Palmira, NY (1817-1897)

Funeral Home Records
Burial Returns from the Doolittle Funeral Home in Middletown, CT, Fifty-two Volumes, (1882-1950)*
Burial Records from the Hallahan Funeral Home in Southington, CT*

A Significant Emigration From the Balingen Area of Der Aollernalbkreis, Germany to Franklin County, MA, Eleven Volumes*

The Atwater History and Genealogy*
The Boardman Genealogy (1525-1895)*
The Barlow Family Records*
The Ouellette Genealogy and Photo Album*
A Sutherland-Stephenson Family History*
A Genealogical and Family History of the State of CT*
And many more!

Many of books regarding the Revolutionary War, including records and histories of regiments from:
New York*
Rhode Island*
and Vermont*

Newspaper abstracts from the New Jersey Archives, Thirteen Volumes (1704-1782)*

Vital Records 
Abstracts from Haddam Neck, CT area vital records
Freedom by Deed, Manumission, Freedom and emancipation Abstracts from VA (1752-1862)*
Death Records from Wallingford, CT (1827-1900)*
Vital Records from Wolcott, CT (1783-1849)*

*Searchable record

Not a Scholar?  Visit our website to subscribe today or call the library at (860) 346-4375.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Research Library in the Modern Era

In 1944 Godfrey founder Fremont Rider addressed what he perceived as a growing problem in research libraries in his book The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library: A Problem and its Solution.  The problem then, as it is now to an extent, was that the number of books available was growing at such a rate that research libraries would soon no longer have the space or staff to maintain a complete, yet modern, collection.  He proposed a more streamlined system of interlibrary loans as well as his invention, microform cards, small cards containing miniaturized pages of books, as parts of the solution. 
The advance of digital storage techniques curtailed much of Rider’s worry over a library’s limited physical storage space.  But at the same time technological innovations, particularly the rise of the internet, created a host of new problems for libraries. 

Scholars like Rider could not possibly imagine the incredible amount of information now available to the public at the touch of a button.  Websites like and GoogleBooks allow people to read complete texts without leaving the comfort of their home or paying a cent.  JSTOR and other digital repositories grant access to innumerable articles regarding every subject imaginable.  And we cannot forget or, where novice and expert researchers can single out individual names in documents from all over the world right from their computer.   With such resources as these, never mind the rise in digital reader devices, one might wonder if libraries and books will find themselves going the way of the cassette tape and typewriter. 

To survive research libraries are becoming more like their online only competitors.  Whereas most research libraries, the Godfrey included, used to focus solely on their print collections, by necessity the growth and maintenance of their digital collections is now just as important, if not more so.  The Godfrey spent years researching, experimenting with, and improving our digital library.  As you read this the Scholar is undergoing another set of changes.  We are discarding unwieldy PDFs in favor of the Page Viewer, not only eliminating loading time but also allowing all of our typed documents to be searchable! 

As of right now the Godfrey Scholar contains five hundred and thirty-five books, with more added weekly!  Certainly this is just a drop in the bucket compared to our print collection, but in time we hope to bring more and more of our unique print content to the Scholar.  In particular the Godfrey is in possession of many family histories and handwritten records that are unavailable anywhere else! 

Libraries face more obstacles than ever if they wish to survive in present times: obstacles that many are already surmounting and emerging stronger than before.  In the end computers, digital storage, and online collections only make is easier to perform a library’s primary function to preserve and share information with the public.  The research library in the modern era, while vastly different than the model proposed by Fremont Rider, will certainly be around for years to come.