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. http://familysearch.org/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: http://ancestry.com/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 http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp 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:
VITAL RECORDS OF ________, MAINE
- 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.