Records of the Town and Churches in Coventry, Connecticut, 1711–1844 and Geer’s Hartford City Directories

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This week’s major collection comes from Godfrey Memorial Library and includes births, marriages, baptisms and deaths from the Records of the Town and Churches in Coventry, Connecticut, 1711–1844 and Geer’s Hartford City Directories.

Godfrey Memorial Library has scanned the original residential and business directories for Hartford, Connecticut from 1850, 1852–1853, 1853–1854, 1854–1855, 1856–1857, 1858–1859, 1860–1861, 1862–1863, and 1906. These records are now available at WorldVitalRecords.com. This publication was originally compiled by Elihu Geer and published by the Hartford Steam Printing Co.

The databases below contain “every kind of information valuable for reference to strangers and citizens with an engraved copperplate map of the city from May 1850- to May 1851. Also contains engravings of the new railroad station in Hartford, and all the railroad routes in Connecticut which have been drawn and engraved expressly for this directory.” – Taken from the front page of Geer’s Hartford City Directory for 1850.

Click on the links below to access each database. Note: This week there is one free database that is free to acess for ten days.

Geer’s Hartford City Directory for 1850 (online March 22, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory1852–1853 (online March 23, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1853–1854 (online March 24, 2009) Free for 10 Days!

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1854–1855 (online March 18, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1856–1857 (online March 19, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1858–1859 (online March 22, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1860–1861 (online March 23, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1862–1863 (online March 24, 2009)

Geer’s Hartford City Directory, July 1906 (online March 19, 2009)

Births, Marriages, Baptisms and Deaths from the Records of the Town and Churches in Coventry, Connecticut, 1711–1844 (online March 18, 2009)

“Prior to 1675, the Indians used the land of what is now the Town of Coventry, as a hunting ground. It was annually burned over to give fresh feeding place for wild animals, thus furnishing food for the Mohegans. The land in this way was denuded of timber, so that, it is said, when the town was first settled, an ox-cart could be driven over most of the young timber lands, which had sprung up since the yearly fires of the Indians had ceased. In the early part of the year 1676 — Joshua, third son of Uncas, chief of the Mohegans, made a will in which he bequeathed to Captain Joseph Fitch, of Windsor, and to fifteen others, all the tract of land which includes the present towns of South Windsor, Bolton, Vernon, Andover, Hebron, Coventry, Mansfield, Hampton, and Chaplin. This donation was approved by the General Assembly. The legatees conveyed their rights, so far as the town of Coventry was concerned, to William Pitkin, Joseph Talcott, William Whiting, and Richard Lord, to be a committee to lay out the township and settle on the lands. This committee was appointed by the General Assembly on May 9, 1706. On October 11, 1711, this committee was reappointed, and Nathaniel Rust, who had already settled on the lands, was added to the committee, to carry into execution the designs of the former appointment. At the same session of the General Assembly the township was named Coventry.

Nathaniel Rust and some others settled in the town about the year 1700. In the spring of 1709 there came a number of good householders from Northampton, Essex County, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Reading and Lancaster, Mass., Stonington, Killingworth, Windham, Conn., and some other towns. The region was then a pasture ground for the horses of Hartford. These horses were branded and turned loose into the wilderness to the east. The town was laid off 6 miles square, October 11, 1705. The first survey of land was made April 8, 1708, by Mr. Caleb Stanley, Colony Surveyor. The town was laid off into 78 allotments by the committee above named. The first proprietors, 15 in number, each received 5 allotments, and 3 allotments were reserved for the support of religion and schools. The town was incorporated at the May session of the General Assembly, in 1712.

The settlement of the town is usually dated from 1709, when, as before said, there arrived quite a number of families from the towns above named. At that time there were but two towns in what is now the County of Tolland, viz., Mansfield, settled in 1703, and Hebron, settled in 1704. The first house in the town seems to have been built by Samuel Birchard, on the south side of Wangaumbaug Lake — near the house now owned by Henry F. Dimock, formerly occupied by his father, the late Dr. Timothy Dimock. In the valley of the Hop River, near the house known as the Cyril Parker place, there was a village of savages. The religious community was for about 30 years embraced in what is known as “The first Church and Society in Coventry.” This is in what is known as South Coventry. Rev. Joseph Meacham, of Enfield, commenced preaching here as early as 1713. The church was formed and he was ordained its pastor October 8, 1714. The first settler in the Parish of North Coventry was John Bissell, who came from Lebanon, Conn., in 1716. A church was organized in the North Parish October 8, 1745, and the following day the first pastor, Nathan Strong, was ordained. The records of the first church, prior to the year 1766, have either been lost or destroyed. No records of the Second (North Parish) Church seem to have been kept until about 1800.”

This database contains 4,063 births, 816 baptisms, 2,648 marriages, and 2,084 deaths.” – Taken from the description in the original book for this database.

About 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.

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, etc.

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