This blog brings you breaking news about the 15th New England Regional Genealogical Conference and the city of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Society Profile - The Godfrey Memorial Library

The Godfrey Memorial Library is one of the 22 participating societies in the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC).

The Godfrey Memorial Library

The purpose of the Godfrey Memorial Library is to promote the study of family history by:

- Inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history.

- Supporting educational activities that create enthusiasm for family research.

- Making genealogical and historical resources available to all on a national and international level by continuing the expansion, modernization, and distribution of the collection of print, electronic manuscript and other information media as technology develops.

The Godfrey Memorial Library, incorporated in 1947, first opened its doors in May 1951. It was founded by A. Fremont Rider, a well-known publisher, author, inventor, genealogist, and librarian. He served for many years as director of Wesleyan's Olin Library. While in that position, he developed the idea for a monumental index that would help genealogists all over the world in their research. That was the beginning of the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) and the Godfrey Memorial Library.

The AGBI is a 226 volume master index containing approximately 4 million names from over 800 genealogically related research books including many records from the Boston Transcript. AGBI is the largest and most important genealogical reference set ever published.

Presently, Godfrey Library has approximately 200,000 books and periodicals in its collection including: state and local histories, international resources, family histories, biographies, records by religious organizations, church records, funeral records, cemetery records, military records, maps, and other formats.

Godfrey has been online through its Scholar Program since 2002. At its inception there were only two databases for members to search. It has grown exponentially since that time, and now there are thousands. For information on available databases and how to subscribe, see:

The library does not receive funds from any local, state, or federal agency. Our operating funds primarily come from the sale of memberships to the online Godfrey Scholar Program and through patron donations. Although it is a privately owned library, it is free and open to the public six days a week.  The Board of Trustees is committed to keeping our doors open free of charge and encourage all who seek to find their ancestors to use the library and its resources.

The Godfrey publishes an Update twice a year.  For current and previous copies, please see:

A selection of resources available for free online searching are available at:

Genealogists often consult our Duplicate Book Sale for items of interest. For a complete listing of titles available for sale, please see:

Photo captions (from top)

Top: The Godfrey Mememorial Library building in Middletown, Connecticut

Middle: At the November 2010 Volunteer Appreciation Event, Board Chairman Bruce Tyler was given the Fremont Rider Award for his service.
Left to right; Board members Ned Browning, Bruce Tyler, Barbara Prymas, August DeFrance.

Bottom: Godfrey Board member Ed Laput is working on a project to photograph gravestones in Connecticut (and beyond) and record their vital information. He (and his army of volunteers) are nearing two hundred complete cemeteries.

The New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) is being held April 6-10, 2011 in Springfield, MA. More information is available from the conference website.

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