of Maine Genealogical Research!
|This page was written to help everyone (kids
as well as adults) who are new to researching the history of their family
who lived in the State of Maine. This page was constructed through
the collaboration of the volunteers of the MEGenWeb Project. We have
included some basic information to help you on your way to finding out
about your Maine ancestors.
A brief Introduction to Genealogy on the Internet
The internet can be a puzzling place. Trying to research your family's history can also be puzzling, not to mention frustrating. Trying to learn how to do genealogy on the internet can be over-whelming!
If using e-mail, doing genealogy, or both, are new to you, this page was written with you in mind! While not all of your questions will be answered here, this page is meant to help clarify how to succeed in your attempt at genealogy on the internet and possibly make the road less frustrating.
We'll start with e-mail . . .
Why not type in ALL
Genealogy on the internet
can be fun, *but* there are a few things you need to learn first.
Some Common E-mail terms that may be puzzling (Acronymns):
LOL = Laughing Out
Some examples of "e-mail smiles":
smile with nose :-)
left-handed smile (-:
Oh, no! :-O
Remember that underlined text on a webpage may be hyper-linked; click on the link to go to the new page.
Where should I look for help?
The Maine GenWeb Project provides many resources you can use to help in your genealogical search. The MaineGenWeb Project has a site for each county in Maine as well as several town sites. One of the best ways to find information is to ask others who are researching in the same area of Maine for help. The mailing lists for the various counties in Maine are an excellent way of meeting others researching the county your ancestors lived in. Each county site also provides a place where you can post queries. The county sites as well as the MaineGenWeb sites are the first places you should visit in your internet search. One particular mailing list is the GEN-NEWBIE discussion for people who are new to computers and genealogy. Finally, all mailing lists have an "archive" where you can read "back issues". Don't pass up on this valuable resource.
Where can old documents be found?
There are many places where you can find old books and other records telling about your Maine ancestors. Many out-of-print rare books have been filmed and are available on microfilm or microfiche so, even if you don't live anywhere near Maine, you still have access to the records. The census records have been microfilmed and are widely available.
There are genealogy libraries scattered throughout the world. Here is a list of a few in the U. S. (this is not a complete list):
Within the State of Maine, there are many libraries that have books and other sources of information on our ancestors who lived in Maine. Even the little libraries in Maine contain holdings which are valuable to the genealogical researcher. The larger holdings are found at the following places in Maine:
State Library (in same building as the Maine State Archives)
Bangor Public Library
Belfast Free Library
Madawaska Historical Society Library
The Raymond H. Fogler Library
Maine Historical Society Library
Portland Public Library
Stephen Phillips Memorial Library
Springvale Public Library
Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit
UMF library in Farmington
Wilton Public Library
Some of these libraries are on-line; for information on the libraries in Maine that are on-line, see the Maine Libraries on the World Wide Web.
LDS Family History Centers in Maine
In addition to referring to primary records, consulting history books to learn about the time and place your ancestors lived in can also be very revealing and rewarding and can bring the names and dates you've collected "to life". Some suggested book for reading about Maine are:
THE MAINE BOOK
HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS IN MAINE
OLD COLONIAL HOUSES IN MAINE
Other Sources of information on Maine
Maine Genealogical Society series "Maine Families in 1790" (6 volumes)
MODERN MAINE (1951, Lewiston Hist. Press)
New England Historic and Genealogical Society -- they put out a good breakdown of records, counties, and towns of New England.
"Length & Breadth of Maine" by Stanley Bearce Atwood -- it gives old town names, which is a tremendous help. It also gives the towns in the counties, with maps of their locations. It gives the breakdown on the counties and their establishment dates; this particular bit of information is a tremendous help for searching census records.
1790 Census index
Local histories for various towns
Vital Records for various towns
Some questions you should ask yourself before asking someone else for information, posting a query, or posting a message to a mailing list are:
When was he born and
where did he live?
These questions may lead you to realize you have more information than you thought! Now, how can you go about finding more information on your grandfather and his family?
Have you checked with other relatives to see if someone in the family has an old Bible with family information written in it? Bibles can be wonderful sources of genealogical information.
If you know when and where your grandfather (or whatever ancestor you are looking for) died, you may be able to find an obituary and/or death certificate on him. What will this tell you? The information varies and one never knows until they look! Don't expect to find everything about him in one source and you need to realize that there are often errors in any source (even those "written in stone" such as a grave marker!) Which brings us to cemetery records -- what can they tell us about our ancestors? Again, the information varies, but you may find a date of birth for him and you may find graves of other family members who were buried nearby.
Other sources of information
on your ancestors may be:
Census records, deeds, wills, probate records and military records are all other souces you should look for in your search. Many of the census records have been indexed by state and you should begin looking in these indices for your ancestors, starting with the most recent census that is available to the public (this is the 1920 census). Work your way backwards to the 1910, then 1900, 1880 (the 1890 census was mostly destroyed), 1870, 1860 and 1850 censuses. These census records contain the name of every person who was living in the household at the time the census was taken. For earlier census records (1840 on back to 1790 (the first census taken in the U. S.)), there is only the name of the head of household listed but everyone else who was living in the household is represented by a tally according to their age and sex. You may want to check to see what census records have been transcribed and are already on-line by going to the Maine GenWeb Census Project. The Maine Archives Project is another place you should search for records that are already on-line.
Keep in mind that when the records were written, they were NOT necessarily written with the thought that someone who comes along years later will be using them to search for their family history! Even books written on your family can contain errors and the best way to be sure you're not "climbing up the wrong tree" is to verify the information by comparing it to a copy (or microfilm) of the original document.
Links to Other Helpful Sites
Ancestry's Database - New databases added at this site are FREE TO BROWSE for 10 DAYS!
Citing Electronic Information in History Papers (a collegiate-type site)
Savage's New England Settlers -- half way down the page you will see this below
Cyndi Howell's "Mother of All Genealogy
Links List" - Maine resources
Historical Records Repositories in Maine (Collections by Period, Subject, and Types of Records)
URSUS On-line catalog of holdings at University of Maine
Directory of the Names of Underground Railroad Operators (The names of African American operators are marked with an asterisk *)
http://www.state.me.us/sos/kids/ (fun for grown-ups, too!)
Written by Abby Balderama, Dana Edgecomb,
Tina Vickery, David C. Young, Marilyn Maxwell Strout, Barbara Gunvaldsen,
Nancy J. Porter, Linda Allen, Marilyn Gondek.
Copyright © 2000 by Abby Balderama
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED