Author Archive

MGS Fall Conference Saturday Sept 22nd

The Maine Genealogical Society has a full day of educational lectures planned for this year’s annual genealogical conference, including a variety of topics for a variety of interests and experience levels. We start the day with an interesting keynote address by Ted Steele discussing family stories and “Did it Really Happen That Way?” The rest of the day’s lectures consist of three sets of breakout sessions, all interesting and sometimes difficult to choose between. There will be vendors and exhibitors on hand, all of whom we encourage you to visit and support. A Query Board will be available for anyone interested in posting a query. This has been a popular spot in past conferences! Bring your query and you may find a connection! New at this year’s conference will be “topic tables” at lunch time with several topics planned. You can also take a table without a topic and start your own conversation with other attendees. As always you will be able to purchase MGS Special Publications at the conference which is a GREAT way to save on shipping costs. And don’t forget, in addition to saving on shipping, if you are an MGS member, you already receive an additional discount off the retail price of the publication, so if you’re not a member, consider joining with your conference registration to take advantage of all the benefits of being a member of the Maine Genealogical Society. Our Main Speaker – Ted Steele. Day At A Glance 8:00-9:00 Registration, Vendors and Exhibitors are open 9:00-10:30Welcome Address by Jack Battick Awards Presentation Keynote Address by Ted Steele Family Stories: Did It Really Happen That Way? Several actual examples will be used to illustrate issues such as conflicting evidence, secondary sources and mis-identifications. With each story we will learn what the document(s) said and what was wrong, concluding with “lessons learned.” 10:45-11:45 Breakout Session 1 a. Using A Library Effectively — Ted Steele This talk points our some of the resources researchers might pass up when using a library b. Using Tax Records In Genealogy – How Taxes Can Be A Good Thing – Dr. Carol McCoy In early America people were taxed for a number of reasons. Learn aboout the types of tax records available, where to find them, and how they can help solve genealogy problems. 12:00-1:30 Luncheon, Vendor Time and Topic Tables 1:30-2:15 MGS Annual Meeting or Vendor Time 2:15-3:15 Breakout Session 2 a. Genealogy and the Law – Helen Shaw, CG The law affected the lives of our ancestors in many ways and varies widely from state to state and over time. Learn how to find those laws and how they can help you in your research. b. Genealogical Holdings of the Maine State Library – Emily Schroeder, MLS This talk will outline the genealogical collections, services, and databases offered by the Maine State Library, mainly through a Powerpoint presentation. It will also illustrate their website and its features. 3:30-4:30 Breakout Session 3 a. Using Gazateers and Maps in Your Genealogical Research – Ted Steele This is a survey talk, using some published gazateers and information in them, illustrated with the addition of a variety of maps to add geographic detail to your research b. Maine Horse Soldiers in the Civil War – Steve Bunker Maine’s cavalry regiments in the Civil War were exceptional. This presentation will be about their organization and some of the notable people who served in the Maine cavalry regiments 4:45-5:00 Closing remarks & Drawing of Door Prizes

Nathaniel Simmons

SIMMONS Seeking proof for Mayflower Society on birth of Nathaniel SIMMONS (b. 3 Oct 1820 East Bangor, ME, d. 21 June 1897 York, NE) He was the fourth child of Luther SIMMONS and Berthia TOOTHAKER, m. 23 Mar 1807 at Isleboro, ME. Also seeking any information as to the demise/death/burial of Luther SIMMONS, sometime 1820-1826, his widow remarries in the summer of 1826. He was born 17 April 1779 at Hungry Island, ME and appears in the 1800 and 1810 Federal census at Waldoborough, and in the 1820 census at Hancock, and appears in the tax rolls at Searsmont in 1815. Joel Simmons 12745 SW Camelia St, Beaverton, OR 97005 Joel Simmons, MGS #4608

Wagon Trains and The Dash

For quite a few years now I have been more concerned with the “Dash” in my ancestor’s lives than the dates. After all it can be as easy finding their birth and death dates by looking at their gravestones if you know where it is. Researching in places they lived will also get you dates, but will it get you the dash. The dash is how they lived and what they did, etc. What brought all this along now? It all started with one book about a family traveling on a wagon train, and now I am reading the fifth (not a series, all separate). I don’t know about you but when I read these stories all kinds of questions pop into my mind. Like what size wagon would they have. Would you believe they were only four feet deep, four feet across and about 12 feet long (not counting the hitch for the oxen. To me that wasn’t much room and then my next question was what kind of supplies did they need and how long did it take them. Well most wagon trains usually left from St. Joe, Missouri and it took them 5-6 months whether they headed to California or Oregon. Did you know why they went to Oregon? We all know why California – the gold rush. But Oregon was kind of a contest between England, Russia and the United States. Whoever got the most immigrants settled there would claim ownership to the Oregon Territory. The Oregon Territory was comprised of what we know as Oregon, Washington, Idaho as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. Now getting back to the supplies they had to take. For each adult 100 pounds each of flour and yeast; 70 pounds each of bacon, crackers, salt and salt pork; 30 pounds each of pilot bread (hardtack), cornmeal, sugar and coffee. Other items were eggs which were stored in the flour barrel, cured hams, dried meat, fruit, baking soda and vinegar. Plus potatoes, rice, beans, molasses, lard and a big barrel of water. If they could they also included a keg of pickles to ward off malnutrition. Two oxen for pulling the wagon, with at least four spare and cows for milk and meat. On the women’s list were cloth to sew with, needles, thread, pins and scissors; leather for fixing worn out shoes. Soap, wax for making candles, medicines, lanterns and washbowls. In a special box at the back of the wagon were plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, pots and pans. Pen and paper to write letters home, slates with chalk and school books for the children were also included. As well as a wooden washtub and big brass kettle. Bedding was made up of quilts, blankets, sometimes a mattress (feather bed), the family bible and pillows. On the men’s list were saws, hammers, axes, shovel, nails, string, knives and matches. Poles, ropes, canvas, ground cloths and stakes for the tents they would make for sleeping in. A tar bucket for greasing the wagon wheels. A milk can which when hung from the wagon hoops, the bumpy ride helped to make butter. The men usually had a shotgun for hunting and for when he was posted on guard duty, but if they could afford it they also had a single shot pistol with them as well. They also carried halters, hobbles, ropes, chains to use on the oxen and cows to make sure they didn’t run off during the night. Sometimes the man had a horse to ride and hunt with; but often times they walked with their whip beside the oxen to make sure they stayed within the train. As organized a person as I am I can’t imagine what it must of been like to pack this wagon for this long journey. And pack it in such a way that what they needed when they stopped at night they could get at. Clothing they brought with them and were in trunks in the wagon along with maybe their dishes, linen or some of the items they wanted in their new home were also packed into this wagon. If there is a book out there that shows this I want to find it!

Registration is now open for the MGS Annual Family History Conference! Event is Saturday, Sept 22 from 8am – 5pm at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer with featured speaker Ted Steele. Features include multiple workshops, keynote address, annual meeting, vendors, exhibitors, query board, MGS special publications table, luncheon with topic tables, door prizes and more. FMI:

Maureen Taylor Workshop Canceled

The upcoming Maine Genealogical Society Spring Workshop at the Augusta Civic Center scheduled for April 21 has had to be CANCELED due to a conflict with the date which had not been noticed before. MGS searched for another alternative location in the Augusta area and everything that could accommodate the size of the workshop is already booked. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and short notice but hope that we can see the MGS members in September at the Annual Fall Conference Meeting. Refunds will be issued by mail by our Treasurer as soon as we can process them. For those who signed up for consultations with Maureen Taylor, you will be hearing from her directly in that regard. Thanks for your understanding in this matter.

Civil War Stories: HIGGINS Family of Eden, ME

The date of the Pejepscot Chapter’s April meeting has changed due to Easter falling on the second Sunday of the month. The April program will be held on Sunday, April 15th at 2pm in the Morell Meeting Room at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. In commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War PGS President, Brian Bouchard, will share one of his family’s Civil War stories. His HIGGINS family of Mount Desert Island sent 3 of their boys to war during the conflict. Learn about their lives leading up to, during and after the Civil War and get a glimpse into what one Maine family was going through during this turbulent time in America’s history. Following President Bouchard’s talk, other members will be invited to share information about their ancestor’s service stories with the group. Join us for a fun afternoon of sharing and genealogy talk (and snacks too!) Sunday, April 15th at 2pm in the Morrell Meeting Room in Brunswick’s Curtis Memorial Library.

Update on MGS Spring Workshop with Maureen Taylor

The 2012 MGS Spring Workshop on Saturday April 21st had the wrong URL (web site location) for setting up an individual appointment with Maureen Taylor, the featured speaker. If you are interested in this one-on-one session which lasts 15 minutes and you can bring up to three (3) pictures with you is located at this address: The cost for the individual session is $30 and the appointment times are listed for both Friday April 20th (from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturday April 21st (from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Our apologies to Maureen Taylor for this misinformation, and notices are being sent out through all of MGS connections notifying as many as possible about this.

I would like to find the parents of Elizabeth Danforth. She lived in Eaton NH when she got married in 1831. She married Parker Spaulding and shortly after that they relocated to Belgrade, Maine. I have pictures of her parents but they only have the Danforth surname on them.Parker died in 1862 and Elizabeth died in 1882. Thank you, Mary Ellen Aube