The city of Middletown is declaring today as official (Aug. 29) Godfrey Memorial Library Day. The occasion will be marked by the issuance of a proclamation by Mayor Daniel T. Drew at 10 a.m. at the library at 134 Newfield St. Any and all citizens are invited to attend this historical event.
The Godfrey is being recognized for its vast collection of books and periodicals, including the unique American Genealogical Biographical Index and its branch of the Family History Center. It's mission is to connect inspired individuals with history and their personal geneology, by making available their collection of print and microfilm materials. In appreciation for the work and in acknowledgement of the unique resources available at the library, the proclamation urges the public to “take advantage of this wonderful resource.”
A Brief History... (taken from the Godfrey Memorial Library website)
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 at Wesleyan's Olin Library. Mr. Rider amassed a collection of over 800 books specific to biography, history and genealogy which comprised the initial holdings of the Godfrey, named in honor of Mr. Rider’s in-laws. One of Rider's greatest contributions to the field of genealogical research was compiling a massive 226 volume index of more than 4 million references appearing in his collection. This index, the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) is a key source for researchers all over the world to help locate references to their ancestors in out of print and hard to find books.
In the fall of 2002, curators created the Godfrey Scholar, an online research tool containing searchable databases and their own digitized content. In 2012, they upgraded this tool working with premier genealogy programmer Steve Morse.