Author Archive

President McCoy Speaks In Scarborough

Photo of Carol McCoy & Don Taylor

Carol McCoy & Don Taylor

On February 27th, MGS President Carol P. McCoy spoke at the Scarborough Public Library Genealogy Group on “Drowning of Sam Pollack – Myth and Reality – Investigating Family Stories.” Her presentation revolved around her great-grandfather’s death when her grandmother was an infant and her research to separate myth from reality in telling his story. Her talk fascinated the 34 attendees and reminded them of important genealogical research strategies such as remaining flexible about names, dates, and religion as well as remaining creative in approaching research.The Scarborough Public Library Genealogy Group began last October and is led by MGS Member, and assistant MGS webmaster, Don Taylor. The group meets regularly at 1 PM on the fourth Monday of the month at the Scarborough Public Library. Their Facebook group page is (or search for “Scarborough Public Library Genealogy Group”).

Washington County Historical & Genealogical Society

The Washington County Historical and Genealogical Society is a group dedicated to historical preservation and genealogical research in Washington County, Maine. By working together historical societies, genealogists, and researchers can pool their limited resources, collaborate on larger scale projects, and promote each other’s work.
Members receive a quarterly newsletter Weirs & Woods, which features free queries, information and the exchange of genealogical material, in addition to news from the affiliating Washington County historical societies.  Membership in the WCHGS is open to anyone interested in learning more about their family genealogy and/or the history of Washington County and neighboring Charlotte County, New Brunswick.  Officers include President, Betsy Fitzgerald of Bucks Harbor; Vice President, Celeste Sherman of Machiasport; Secretary, Valdine Atwood of Machias, and Treasurer, Carole Sprague of Marshfield.

WCH&GS Contact Information –   Officers:

Annual dues, $10 per calendar year: Send to Treasurer Carole Sprague, 301 Ridge Rd., Marshfield, ME 04654 – Check payable to WCH&GS: Regular meetings of WCHGS will be on a quarterly basis. ‘Extra meetings’ could be held during the year at the approval of the membership. Historical societies can affiliate themselves with WCHGS by donating to the Society.

Newsletter – Weirs & Woods –

Send Changes of Address to: Celeste Sherman at submissions for what is going on, Queries, Reunions, and stories on Washington County History or Genealogy to Valdine Atwood at or by mail to 17 Colonial Way, Machias, ME 04654 


Membership in the Washington County His­torical & Genealogical Society is by the calendar year, January to December. For those joining later in the year, newsletters already published will be sent to you. The reason for this policy, we are a small organization so it is too difficult to keep track of mid-year renewals.

Maine Marriage Records

“Seeing the Light Through a Brick Wall” – Photo Credit: By counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster” at the MGS Genealogy Fair last July. What a great experience. They say, “In teaching others we teach ourselves.[i]” Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein the helper learns. One of my querists wanted to know, “How to find marriage records in Maine.”

As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and asked the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis; most didn’t even know they existed.

I prefer the Family Search wiki.  It seems always to provide the answer to my research questions.  For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page that explained the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922 and described where to find them.

The Ancestry Wiki: is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results I received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns,” which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist. 

MGS has a series of books on vital records. See the MGS Vital Records Page for more information. Books currently in print include:


  • ARROWSIC to 1939. Compiled by Deb Grana & Marlene A. Groves.
  • BRUNSWICK. Compiled by Joseph Crook Anderson II, CG, FASG.
  • CAMDEN/ROCKPORT. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves, CG.
  • CASTINE. Compiled by James H. Wick.
  • CUSHING to 1940. Compiled & ed. by Marlene A. Groves & Steven E. Sullivan.
  • DOVER-FOXCROFT. Compiled by John F. Battick, Ph.D. and Nancy Klimavicz Battick, M.A
  • DRESDEN. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • EDGECOMB. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • ETNA. by Arthur Gibbs Sylvester and Richard E. Spinney.
  • GOULDSBORO. Compiled by Wil Cote.
  • ISLESBORO. and ed. by Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves, CG
  • LISBON. by Marlene Alma Hinkley Groves.
  • MERCER. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • MINOT. Compiled by Joseph Crook Anderson II, CG, FASG.
  • MOUNT VERNON. by Sally Furber Nelson & Janet McCarthy Weymouth
  • NEWCASTLE. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • OLD TOWN. Ed. by Ruth Gray
  • ORLAND. Compiled by James H. Wick.
  • SMITHFIELD. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • SOUTH THOMASTON. Comp. and ed. by Marlene A. Groves, CG
  • THOMASTON 1837 TO 1846. by Steven Edward Sullivan.
  • THOMASTON. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves, CG.
  • WARREN. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves, CG.
  • WAYNE. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.
  • WOOLWICH. Compiled by Marlene A. Groves.

Besides being available from the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS), they and many other out-of-print books in the series are available at libraries and historical societies. Check Minerva or for libraries where they may be available.

[i] Proverb.