Tuesday, December 30, 2014

19th Century U.S. Newspapers had a New Look!

19th Century U.S. Newspaper, one of our most extensive and well used databases has updated their website!  As its name suggests, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers is a massive repository of newspapers from all areas of the United States from the 19th century.  All of these newspapers are completely searchable.  And the new website makes searching easier!

The main page contains a single search field.  There are options to search newspaper text or keywords associated with the articles and to limit your search by date of publication.  We recommend navigating to the Advanced Search page for more options.

On the Advanced Search page you can search for multiple terms at once by adding each new term into a search field.  As on the main page you can limit the search by date of publication.  You can also limit the search by article type (obituaries, news articles, business news, etc.), location, and publication title.  You can either type the publication title or location you wish to search into the search field or browse the available titles and locations in the 19th Century U.S. Newspapers database.  A new option is the ability to turn on Fuzzy Search, which searches the database for words with a similar spelling to your search terms, allowing you to see spelling variations or possible misspellings of the search term.

From the search results page you can narrow down your results by article type and date of publication.  You can also search for a new term within the results of the original.

We've updated our instructions on using 19th Century U.S. Newspapers to reflect the changes.  These instructions can be viewed under the Helpful Guides area of the Newspapers category on the Godfrey Scholar.

If you are interested in checking out 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, it is available in our digital library to Premium level Godfrey Scholars.  Sign up online or over the phone to become a Godfrey Scholar today!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Week on the Scholar

From author's to politicians, the subjects of this week's new biographies are four incredible men from the history of the United States!

The Genius and Character of Emerson was the first book published by the Concord School of Philosophy recording a collection of nearly all the lectures in their complete form from one of their semester long courses.  The course, like the book, was titled "The Genius and Character of Emerson", and focuses on precisely that.  Lecture topics range from Emerson's relation to various places and people to how different cultures view his work.  A fascinating read for anyone interested in learning more about the great author.  The collection was edited by F. B. Sanborn.

Speaking of F.B. Sanborn, we finally fixed the errors from the original scanning of the first volume of his autobiography and added it to to Scholar!  Franklin Benjamin Sanborn was an author and a member of the Transcendentalist movement.  His two volume autobiography gives insight not only into his history, but also the changing path of his life's philosophy and opinions.

Everyone knows Theodore Roosevelt the rough rider 26th president of the United States.  But did you know, before he was president he owned a successful cattle ranch? Roosevelt in the Bad Lands chronicles the years of Roosevelt's life he spent in the Bad Lands, first as a four eyed tenderfoot who was the butt of everyone's jokes then later as a respected ranch owner who worked just as hard as any cowboy in his employ.

Finally we have the biography of William Pinkney.  Pinkney, born in Maryland in 1764, had a long and illustrious career.  He held many positions of importance in his life, including Mayor of Annapolis, Attorney General of Maryland, a Major in the War of 1812, Congressman, Senator, and. U.S. Minister to Russia.  The book was written by his nephew, the Rev. William Pinkney, D.D.

The Genius and Character of Emerson*
The Life of William Pinkney*
Roosevelt in the Bad Lands*
Recollections of Seventy Years: F.B. Sanborn, Vol. 1*

Church Records 
Middletown Second Congregational Church: Historical Outline


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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

This Week on the Scholar

Thank you everyone for bearing with us while routine server maintenance delayed our regular uploads.  This week marks the last batch of books uploaded from our backlog!  In this final large batch of new books there is a nice variety of biographies, genealogies, church records, funeral records, and even a few military books.  Indexes for two new cemeteries and one volume of funeral home records were also added. 

We will continue to add new content to the Scholar, though not at quite the same volume as before.  Our goal is to focus on adding unique content from our collection that cannot be found anywhere else, such as the variety of handwritten records and portions of Fremont Rider's original collection.  If you know of something at the Godfrey you would like to see on the Scholar please let us know!

Mary Austen's Scrapbook*
Sketch of the Life and Work of Charles Barnard*
Memories of a Rear Admiral: S.R. Franklin*
Random Memories: Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow*

Old Harwinton Cemetery, Harwinton, CT*
Indian River Cemetery, Clinton, CT*

Church Records from the Cromwell First Congregational Church, CT
Records of the Second Ecclesiastical Society 1821-1902
First Congregational Church Inc. Meetings 1929-1947
Miscellaneous History from the State Library
Mr. Redfield's Letter
North Society of Middletown Ledger
North Society of Middletown Records
Pastoral Relations from 1830
Sermon of Rev. Huntington
Sabath School Records 1829-54
Subscription Lists
Sunday School Records 1905-10
Untitled Record Book

Funeral Records
Index to the Coughlin-Lastrina Funeral Home Records December 1914 to October 1918*
Roberts Funeral Home Burial Records from 1956 to 1959

Genealogy of Benjamin Cleveland*
The Johnson Family Genealogy*
Genealogy of the Libby Family in America*

Revolutionary War
Collections of the CT Historical Society Vol. 12: Lists and Returns of CT Men in the Revolution*

Civil War 
Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan, Vol. 2*
Sketches of the War, Vol. 3*


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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Book Sale!

The Godfrey has the perfect holiday gifts for the genealogists and historians in your life: books!  More than 300 used Genealogy and History books are available for purchase.  

Topics include from Family Genealogies, Vital Records from across the United States, State and Local Histories, accounts of Military Histories, and much more!  Many of these books are out of print and incredibly difficult to find, even through online markets.  Don't miss this opportunity to give the genealogists and historians in your life a gift they won't forget, or pick something up for yourself!

Click on the links below for descriptions of books in each category.

For convenient online buying we've listed many of our books on ebay.  Click the link in the book list and make your purchase.  Or call us at 860-346-4375.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Volunteer Highlight: Ruth Ann Downer and the Bible Project

The family Bible is a mainstay of genealogical research.  For some families, the Bible is where essential information about births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths are recorded for current and future generations.  Family photos, Mass cards, and other keepsakes are also sometimes inserted between the pages.  For the amateur or professional genealogist, getting hold of a family Bible can be a mother lode of family facts.

Over the years, the Godfrey Library accumulated a significant number of Bibles in its collection.  Most were purchased on eBay, the online auction service.  These Bibles may have gotten separated from their original owners for a variety of reasons:  some were lost, some were sold when elderly relatives died, or some simply were given up by a branch of the family that had no interest in keeping them.

In 2008, our librarian, Sharon Dahlmeyer-Giovannitti, came up with the idea of trying to reunite these Bibles with their families.  Ruth Ann Downer, who started volunteering at the Godfrey in 2009, was enlisted to work on the project.  We spoke to Ruth Ann about her experiences with the project.

To find a Bible's “lost” family, Ruth Ann does the reverse of what most genealogists do:  rather than searching the past for ancestors, she looks toward the present for descendants.  This involves selecting the name of a family member noted in the Bible and tracing that person’s descendants until (hopefully) she can find someone living today.  It is a painstaking process.  Ancestry.com is a helpful tool in her research, not only for tracing the Bible owner's descendants, but also for determining which, if any, of these family members are interested in genealogy.

Ruth Ann does extensive research to confirm that these people are, in fact, related to the family that owned the Bible.  She then weighs several important factors:  Which descendants are interested in genealogy?  Where are they currently located?  How closely related are they to the Bible owner in question?

After careful consideration, Ruth Ann writes the best candidate a letter, stating that the Godfrey has information regarding their family history and asking the candidate to contact us if they are interested.  She deliberately does not mention the Bible at first.  The goal is to reunite the Bible with a descendant who wishes to use it for genealogical research or simply have it as a family keepsake.  It would be pointless to give the Bible to someone who wishes to resell it for profit.  Ruth Ann gives the person a year to respond to her letter.  If the person does not respond, Ruth Ann returns to her research and tries to identify another good candidate.

To date, the Godfrey has reunited about 30 Bibles with their families.  Most people are excited to find out that we have their family's Bible and often make a small donation to the library as thanks.  Some people just want the information in the Bible, not the book itself.  In such cases, we send them scans of the relevant pages.  Other people are thrilled to be reunited with a Bible that had been lost, as was the case of John Leonard.  The Bible was owned by an elderly relative, who had no children, and he did not pass it on to another family member before his death.

We have had people travel from as far away as England after learning we had their family's Bible!  For those who cannot travel, we ship the Bible to them instead.  Just this year we shipped a Bible to a woman who was unable to make the trip.  The Bible in question last belonged to her mother, who died as the result of an awful tragedy many years prior.

Guiding a Bible home is a rewarding experience for all involved.  We at the Godfrey take pride in our efforts to reunite families with a piece of their lost history.  For the families, these Bibles not only contain valuable genealogical information, some of which cannot be found anywhere else, but also hold incalculable sentimental value.

If you don't know where your family Bible is, the Godfrey Library might just come knocking on your door someday!