“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. 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.
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.
Thanks to Helen Shaw CG for all you’ve done as president of MGS for the past five years. You’ve worked tirelessly with the state legislature to ensure that we have access to vital records, and to ensure access to and preservation of cemeteries. Also, thank you to the Board of Directors for all your hard work. These excellent conferences could not occur without your dedication.
I’m excited about becoming MGS president. As a MGS Director and a past chapter president, I know how much work is involved. When I moved from NYC to Maine 26 years ago, I never dreamed I would be in this position. I love this state and I love genealogy. What a great opportunity for me.
I want to share with you five broad goals for MGS for the next couple of years.
(1) The Board would like to improve our communication with our chapters. I personally hope to visit each of our chapters to meet people, learn about your projects and goals, and find ways the Board and chapters can work together for everyone’s benefit.
(2) MGS intends to have atop-notch website. Thank you, Brian and Don, for all you’ve done to improve our website. Buying publications and registering for events online has been greatly simplified. Now let’s get genealogy and history resources throughout the state documented and publicized on the website.
(3) The Board wants to help build skills and confidence of MGS members so you feel more prepared to serve as an MGS officer, to write genealogy articles, and to transcribe vital records. Our Spring Conference on April 28th in Augusta will be on Writing Genealogy and will feature our own Publications Director, Joseph Crook Anderson II.
(4) MGS would like to strengthen our partnerships with other organizations such as the Maine Historical Society, Maine State Library, and Maine State Archives. We already work well together and we can find ways to do even more together.
(5) We’d like to encourage more member involvement. To that end, I’d like to form a guidance committee with MGS members from throughout the state and from other geographic areas to get your ideas on how MGS can serve everyone.
In June we added 2 new items to our Members Only content area.MGS Members in good standing can access the Members Only section of the website as one of the many benefits of joining our society. In June we created a new section of Town Reports and added the first 2 town reports of what we expect to be many to the collection:
Town reports are an often overlooked resource for genealogists. Many beginner (and some advanced) researchers don’t understand the value of these resources. Many town reports include vital statistics for the town, offering births, deaths and marriages for the given year. This can be particularly helpful for the all too often “All our records were destroyed in a fire years ago” story genealogists are faced with. Often charity and support for residents is also called out as is information pertaining to schools, including teachers’ salaries. Expenditures of the town sometimes include to whom payments were made. For example, in the Eustis Town report mentioned above includes a section of bills of the town. As part of this section we learn of $135 bill for “Insane Hospital for support of Susannah Moody, Geo. Ricker, R.B. Green and O. White”
What information is waiting to be found in the town reports where your ancestors lived?
MGS member, Katherine Adamo recently sent us the following information and related query:
I am specifically looking for any documentation that can support a connection between father or mother (Samuel Babcock III & Mehitable Pierce) to their son Calvin Babcock. I have a death record for Calvin which states his fathers name as Lemuel Babcock and mother as M. Pierce. I also have census records but no name for Calvin just ages in household that fit with place and time. After extensive and exhaustive research, I have been unable to locate any Lemuel Babcocks in the entire state of Maine. Only one Lemuel Babcock in MA but wife is totally different. I found sister, Susan Pierce death record which states father as Sam’l Babcock, and mother as M. Pierce (maiden name). Pertinent information:There are 3 Samuel Babcocks in Augusta Maine during this time period. Listed as Samuel Babcock Sr. or just Samuel Babcock, Samuel Babcock Jr or II, and Samuel Babcock III. After Samuel Babcock Sr died, Samuel Babcock III became known as Samuel Babcock Jr or II. All mentioned in Martha Ballard’s Diary. Martha died prior to the birth of Calvin.
His sister was Sarah Babcock DOB c 1814 Augusta ME, and no sadly I do not have the documentation to support the connection, who first married John Wright, then later a Pierce. The death record is Sarah Pierce. It was on her daughter Dolly’s death record that she mentions her mother’s maiden name Babcock, and supported by Sarah Pierce’s DR with parents. I did place Sarah in the household as well with her mother Mehitable, and two brothers Alexander and Stephen, both of whom are named in land deeds. By this time Calvin was already out of the home, married and living in either Orono ME or Newburg. Interesting though is that an Asa W Babcock, whom I believe is the son of Calvin’s grandfather’s brother Jeremiah Babcock. They were both in Orono ME and living very close to each other, and interestingly enough he was again in the census in Bangor ME where Calvin lived. So this would have been a 2nd cousin of his, but Asa W. Babcock was also born in Augusta ME but at an earlier time, and became a very wealthy businessman. However, after searching through so many records, I again could not find any connection to Calvin. I have taken the time to contact the United Methodist church in Orono ME, that has been established since early 1820 for any further information on marriage records and any family connection, however they have not replied to my multiple attempts. The Babcock families are listed in the Maine Families of 1790, Vol 4, 6 and 8, which actually inspired me to purchase the entire set of volumes for my library. This family is also mentioned in Martha Ballard’s Diary, as I mentioned, however Martha passed away prior to Calvin’s birth. I will keep on looking, but at this point I think I’ve done all I can do from Florida and online searching. What is needed now is feet on the ground digging and any assistance, or direction to point to whom might help would be so very very welcome. Thank you again for your reply and if I do solve this problem I will most certainly consider publishing the article.
Samuel Babcock III, born about 1775 Augusta ME; death October 1898 Augusta, Kennebec Co ME Mehitable born abt. 1776; death after 1850 Augusta Kennebec Co Me. Calvin born about 1817 Augusta, Kennebec Co Me; Married Sarah Miller abt 1840 in Orono Penobscot ME; death 1893 Bangor Penobscot Co Maine
From tracing the census records, Calvin Babcock left the family home around the age of 23 to go to Orono ME. I found a land deed record for Mehitable Babcock, naming two older sons, Alexander Babcock, and Stephen Babcock. According to the Geni, they are not accepting the fact that LEmuel, is SAmuel (note 2 letter difference), with only an initial for mother Mehitable Pierce and are requesting another connection to the generation.
I have been researching land deed records, but so far have been unable to make any connections.
If you can help Katherine find additional information about her she can be reached via email at email@example.com
If you are an active MGS member, you can access exclusive, members only content on the website. First, you need to log in, which you can do from the home page, using the login form above the main menu links in the upper right corner of the page.
Once logged in, the login form should be replaced with a Welcome message and you can then click the MEMBERS link in the main menu which will bring you to our members only content area, including scanned images of land deeds, autograph books, and other primary documents as well as back issues of our quarterly journal, The Maine Genealogist and other MGS special publications you can’t find anywhere but through MGS.
If you’re already a member take a few minutes to look around the Members Only area. If you’re not a member, Join Today!
If you’ve been having trouble resetting your maineroots.org password after the site move, you are not alone. The instructions originally sent out were vague and the process was a bt confusing for many people. Additionally, we uncovered a bug with the program that was asking people to do one thing, but really want something just a little bit different… So, for everyone’s sanity and help in getting members the access they deserve, I’m posting these more detailed instructions on how to reset your password for accounts that were just migrated from the old site.
Open up the home page at www.maineroots.org and hover over the MEMBERS menu item to expand the menu and expose the link to the LOST-PASSWORD page. Click the LOST-PASSWORD link.
Fill out the Lost Password form by entering the email we have on file for you. This is the email where you get MGS announcements, newsletters, and/or notifications to renew your membership. Then click the Reset Password button. NOTE:The gray form field is not readily visible until AFTER you click in this area to enter your email address.
You will receive an email at the address you entered in the form. Click where it says “Click here to reset your password” to be brought back to the website to enter your new password.
Enter your new password. Then re-enter it again to validate it. Then click Save.
You will be presented with a message like the following indicating your password has been successfully reset. At this point, you should be able to login using the form to the right of the page and entering your email and newly created password. Once logged in you will be brought to your account page and can navigate to other areas of the site from there.
I hope this simplified process helps people who have been having issues resetting their password after the site migration. If you’re still having problems, use the Contact page on the site (found under About in the main menu.
At the annual conference in September 2016, MGS Program Chair, Paul Doucette, presented our latest Excellence in Genealogical Service Award to former MGS Membership Secretary, Celeste Hyer. Celeste’s plaque contains the following inscription:
Award of Excellence in Genealogical Service Presented to CELESTE HYER In recognition of her eight years as Membership Secretary of the Maine Genealogical Society, as well as her tireless behind-the-scenes efforts to assist with conferences, always adding her cheerful sense of humor to make every job more enjoyable. September 2016
I am trying to find information on my great(x4) grandfather, Peter Parks. I can prove back to his son Peter Parks Jr who died a POW at Salisbury NC. What I “know” from his death record (8 July 1867, Saugus, Massachusetts) is that he was born in 1799 (approx.) in Scotland.
What I can’t find is record of his arrival in the US prior to 1829 when he married Mrs. Susan Wood Hooker in Saugus, Massachusetts.
Suggestions for how I would proceed. I have exhausted all the common online resources at this point. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with this query.
The 3rd Annual Southern Maine Genealogical Conference, sponsored by the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society, is scheduled for May 21, 2016 in Portland,Maine. In addition to vendors, exhibitors and a number of speakers related to Maine’s rich heritage, the featured guest will be D. Joshua Taylor, a nationally recognized researcher, author and speaker who has also been featured on shows such as Who Do You Think You Are? and Genealogy Roadshow. Taylor will discuss topics ranging from new tools and technology in genealogy to how to find and locate records in one of the myriad of of historical and genealogical societies across the country.
In addition to the keynote speaker, representatives from the Maine State Archives and Penobscot Marine Museum will present on their respective organizations, and you will have an opportunity to get hands on while learning how to develop and efficient and effective research strategy to make your research easier.
Please join the members of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society and all their guests for a day full of lectures, camaraderie, exhibits and lunch on May 21, 2016 at Keeley’s Banquet Center in Portland. For more info or to register, visit the group’s conference web page:
The Maine Genealogical Society’s 2016 Spring Workshop is set for April 23, 2016 in Augusta, Maine with special guest, Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D. Dr. Bettinger is an intellectual property attorney by day and a genetic genealogist by night. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist (http://thegeneticgenealogist.com), and frequently gives presentations and webinars to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry. We are very excited to be able to invite Dr. Bettinger to Maine to discuss this fascinating and increasingly popular aspect of family history research.
Join members of The Maine Genealogical Society and other guests as we work through a series of lectures beginning with an introduction to DNA, using Y-DNA and mtDNA for genealogical research, including how to break through some of those pesky brick walls in your research. We’ll end the day discussing third party tools you can use to help analyze your DNA results more efficiently and have saved a block of time at the end for a Q&A session.
You’ve got DNA questions. We’ve got answers. Make the most of your DNA test results after spending a day with a national recognized speaker, who specializes on this very subject. Lunch is included in the registration fee, and we’ll have a number of our Special Publications available for purchase, including the recently released Maine Families in 1790, Volume 11 and Vital Records of Mount Vernon.
For more information about the day’s events, or to register, visit our workshop website at http://conference.maineroots.org We’re looking forward to seeing you in Augusta on April 23!
Hot on the heels of our highly anticipated Maine Families in 1790, Volume 11 release comes the latest publication from the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). Vital Records of Mount Vernon, Maine continues the long tradition of publishing established by MGS 30 years ago. Special publication #74 of the Society is now available to both non members and members, exclusively through the MGS website at http://www.maineroots.org
Mount Vernon, Maine, is a small community located northwest of Augusta. Originally settled in 1774 as Washington Plantation, the town was incorporated June 28, 1792 as the 80th town in Maine. When the settlers applied for incorporation as Washington, they learned that there was another town in Maine by that name so they chose instead the name of George Washington’s estate – Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon is bounded by Vienna, Rome, Belgrade, Readfield, and Fayette, and many of the marriages included in this book relate to people from those towns. These vital records are transcribed from the original town records which are on microfilm at the Maine State Archives. We have made every attempt for accuracy. We located most of the original records of Mount Vernon in the Maine State Archives in Augusta and were able to compare our transcription with the originals. We also discovered other important records relating to paupers so we have added those to this book. We also visited the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library in Mount Vernon but could find no relevant original records. With nearly 550 pages, and an every name index of more than 16,500 entries, this book is a gold mine of information for anyone researching early families of the area.
Because punctuation is so erratic in these early documents, we have included only the necessary commas and periods. However, we have transcribed the erratic spelling exactly as written by the early town clerks. We included all vital records such as births, deaths, marriages, and marriage intentions as well as sale of pews and sheep marks, but we did not transcribe such town records as meetings or lost horses. Such omissions are noted within the book.
If you would like to order a copy of Vital Records of Mount Vernon, Maine it is only available through the Maine Genealogical Society.
Purchases can be made through our online store by visiting our website: http://www.maineroots.org
Members of MGS receive $7 off the regular retail price
*MGS membership is $25 per calendar year. In addition to superb discounts on publications and conferences, your MGS membership gets you a quarterly newsletter with information about genealogical events and MGS chapter news from across the State, our quarterly scholarly journal, The Maine Genealogist, and a number of other benefits. Consider joining MGS today and save on this and other upcoming publications. https://maineroots.org/index.php/about/membership/
Maine Families in 1790 Volume 11 was recently delivered from the printer. Preorders have shipped, but there’s still plenty of copies left for those that were waiting to make their purchase. With more than 18,700 names in this edition’s every name index, this volume will be a most welcome addition to many researchers libraries.