MGS Spring Workshop with Maureen Taylor

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for the day-long Annual Spring Workshop sponsored by the Maine Genealogical Society on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the Augusta Civic Center. This event is a workshop with nationally-recognized speaker Maureen A. Taylor, The Photo Detective. The Wall Street Journal referred to her as the “nation’s foremost historical photo detective”. We have a full day planned, packed with information and tips from one of the leading national experts on old and historical photographs. Come learn from Maureen suggestions for analyzing, identifying, preserving and sharing your treasured and precious family photos. Ms. Taylor is the author of four books and is a highly popular speaker at genealogy conferences. As a photo curator, genealogist, writer and photo identification/preservation expert, the focus of her work remains family photography, history and genealogy. She loves to help people discover the stories behind the photo images of the past. We are pleased to have Maureen return to Maine to conduct this workshop for us and to bring such a high level national speaker to Maine. Learn more about Maureen at her website www.maureentaylor.com Other highlights of the event include a chance to purchase Maureen Taylor’s books and have them personally autographed, individual photo consultants with Maureen (sign up for a session time at her website), an opportunity to purchase available MGS Special Publications (save on shipping costs!) and an excellent opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues and perhaps breakthrough a brickwall or two! Workshop registrations must be postmarked by April 7, 2012, so be sure to sign up early. The cost is $40 for MGS members and $50 for non-members. Both fees include the luncheon buffet. Hotel accommodations are available at the Best Western and Comfort Inn. Rates are $82 per night and reservations must be made by April 6 to ensure this rate. More information is available on the MGS website. For more information and a registration brochure, please visit the workshop website at www.maineroots.org . Questions can be directed to: mainegenealogical@yahoo.com or by phone to Dale Mower at 942-9375.

Another Response to Letter Writing Month

January is almost over, but letter writing and contacting cousins is exactly what I’ve been doing this month.

Back in the 1980s I corresponded with a FLAGG family 4th cousin who I heard was now in her 80s in a nursing home. So I decided I better work on that family again while I could still ask her questions. I did and called her. She is still fine mentally and was delighted to hear from me, and asked to write and visit if I got over to Belfast. I mailed her what I was able to find on the family, to see if she had anything else. I also drew a map of now-discontinued roads in Belmont so she could place for me, just where the old Flagg farm and cooper shop used to be, in relation to the old family cemetery I found in 2010. I plan to visit Belfast this summer. She said she planned to still be there!

I was also working on my LEAVITT family, and a 3rd cousin down in Salem MA from a branch that was totally missing two years ago that left Maine. It started with a cousin finding my website and contacting me on Facebook, and telling me how to reach his mother. I have talked with the two Leavitt sisters in their 80s who told me the old family stories and where they were buried, and giving me enough info to search more online, and also calling cemeteries, newspapers, libraries (and got copies of old obits and articles), and town halls (who gave me contact info from their current voter registration lists), and found the address for their 2nd cousin they had lost contact with, who I have mailed their family charts to. I also asked if any family photos or stories survived in their branch of Leavitts. Still hoping to find old photos. Through these distant cousins, I learned exactly where to find the grave of my gg-grandmother Mary Morgridge Leavitt (1840-1922) in Salem.

Also, a BOUDWAY family cousin on Facebook replies that she is talking with the older people for a major update of their branch that moved from Orono to Northampton MA.

I have always made a point of tracing all the cousin legs forward to find current-day cousins, and sometimes I do get lucky with lots of new family data. I put all my findings on my website when I get time so that more cousins can find me. It’s nice to find new cousins that appreciate the family genealogy. This is fun.

Roland Rhoades MGS #1151
Maine Families Genealogist
www.RolandRhoades.com
seeker@maine.rr.com
2010: 30 Years as a Genealogist

In Response to “Letter Writing Month”

My father died when I was eleven years old and his mother had died when he was one. The only thing I knew of my paternal grandmother was her name: Edna Burtt. She died in Lynn, MA in 1910. I contacted the City Hall there for her death certificate. It stated she had been born in Lynn, but nothing was said about her parents. I requested her birth certificate. There was none on record.

About this time, I received a letter from an older cousin in reply to a letter I’d written to her. I had asked if she knew anything more about Edna Burtt. She had no more information other than, “They called her Victoria.” I asked Lynn, MA for a birth certificate for Victoria Burtt and at the same time asked for a birth cerificate of my father.

No birth certificate for Victoria Burtt. Upon looking at my father’s birth certificate, I discovered his mother Edna Burtt Spinney had been born in New Brunswick, Canada. Based upon her age at death, she had been born in 1880. Through the Ellsworth Public Library, I received the 1881 New Brunswick Census microfilm. There, I found Victoria Burtt aged 1 living with her father Hathaway Burtt (later found in the Lynn Census) and mother Lucetta.

Following the Burtt genealogy, I discovered that one ancestor fought for the British in New York. An earlier ancestor had been captured in Connecticut by Indians and taken to Canada. As he was coming back to the Colonies with his wife aboard a ship, his wife gave birth to a son whom they named Seaborn Burtt since he was born at sea. Had it not been for my cousin who offered the tid-bit “They called her Victoria” I would likely still be looking for Edna Burtt in Canada.

Richard Spinney
MGS Treasurer

January is Letter Writing Month

Do you remember “back in the day” when we actually mailed a letter of inquiry to a distant or not so distant relative for information on your family history? Well today most of us connect by using Email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

But not everyone is “connected” in that way. A letter whether handwritten or typed is a more personal touch and can often times elicit a response faster than Email (is there really such a thing?). Another idea is to enclose a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) to make it easier for them to respond.

Besides relatives, you can still write to Courthouses, Libraries, Town Offices, etc. that you can’t do by Email. Technology is here to stay but a good “old fashioned” letter written carefully with courtesy and respect will go a long way and help act as your own PR agent.

Electronic messages can be convenient and useful, but they lack the personal touch that comes from holding a hand-written note or card in your hand. Even the most heartfelt message loses some of its effectiveness when the recipient has to read it on an electronic screen.

Maine Genealogical Society Dues for 2012

If you haven’t already paid your 2012 dues yet, now is the time to think about it before the second notice goes out.


Message from the MGS Membership Secretary: Time to Renew Your MGS Membership for 2012

It’s time to renew your membership and pay your dues for 2012. Current members will be receiving their postcard reminders very soon. At the Fall Conference in Bangor, the members voted to raise the dues by $5.00 to $25.00 to cover the increasing costs of postage and printing. This will send your publications via bulk rate mail. If you want them a bit sooner, add $5.00 for First Class mail delivery.

Please mail your renewals and new memberships to:
Maine Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 221, Farmington, ME 04938

Membership renewal (standard mail) $25.00

Add First Class Postage U.S. (optional*) (mail arrives sooner) $5.00

Canada (U.S. Funds required) $9.00

Foreign (U.S. Funds required) $14.00

Freeman Family

Looking for informaion on a Jacob Freeman show name change in 1835 from Toothaker to Freeman. I show married to either a Mary Toothaker or a Mary Hodgkins and the father to Andrew Jackson Freeman. I am trying to trace lineage further back if I can and kind of drawing a blank wall at this stage. Jacob Freeman had his name changed from Toothaker to Freeman in 1835 and I have him married to Mary Hodgkins 23 Nov of that year.

Other relative would be James Smith married to Harriet B. Horton and I just can’t trace back on the Smith male side of the family. I don’t even have dates or places of birth, and death for these two individuals. Information I can obtain is very scimpy from this end. Being in Nevada and from Maine is quite a distance. My mother was Nellie L. and as I stated was a daughter of Harry. She married Everett W. Freeman in 1933.

need to have any information Helen Hansen married to Harrry Leslie Smith around 1926 Milo or that area had three children Margarite C. Smith, Leslie Smith and a third child it would be a daughter and would need date of birth, name and place of birth if available. My mother was a daughter of Harry and by a different marriage, these would be step sisters and step brother to her and my half nephew and half neices I think. Harry died in Milo in 1968 at age 91.

Thanks, Ronald Freeman at ronfree3@hotmail.com

March Workshop in Toronto – Finding Your Great War Ancestors

Registration is now open for what may be the most authoritative Great War workshop during your genealogical lifetime! Don’t miss Finding Your Great War Ancestors, a packed full-day workshop to be held in March 2012 in Toronto, co-sponsored by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of North York Central Library. Choose one of three concurrent lecture streams – British Research, Canadian Research and “Case Studies and Curios” – or mix and match the topics that interest you the most. Learn from some of the world’s leading Great War experts, including Simon Fowler, one of Britain’s top family history teachers, writers and researchers, and Canadian War Museum historian and author Tim Cook. Discover new resources and practical research strategies, find out about intriguing projects now underway, experience poignant and sometimes shocking stories, and gain new perspectives on the “war to end war”.

Where: North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, Toronto (at North York Centre subway station)

When: Saturday 31 March 2012

Early registration rates apply until 22 February 2012, and special discounts are available for OGS members. For full program details, speaker biographies and registration information, visit www.torontofamilyhistory.org/GreatWarWorkshop2012.html.

Many thanks for helping to spread the word about our family history activities.

Gwyneth Pearce
publicity@torontofamilyhistory.org
Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
Now on Facebook and Twitter @TOFamilyHistory

Genealogy Fair – Saint John NB

Location: St. Joachims Church Hall, 603 Loch Lomond Road, Saint John NB

A Genealogy Fair will be held on Saturday October 1, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM It is open to everyone with an interest in genealogy. There will be approximately 35 tables of genealogical material, family trees, books, maps, and displays available for viewing.

Members will share genealogial information about the their families from Saint John, Kings, Queens, Charlotte Counties and beyond. Provincial Archives of NB will have several tables of research material for people to use. It will include a Beginner’s Corner for those just starting out. Books and other publications available for sale. Lunch service available.

Sponsored by New Brunswick Genealogical Society – Saint John Branch

http://www.nbgssj.ca

Admission Fee – only $ 1.00

Contact: Dave Fraser (506 849 7922) dfraser@nbnet.nb.ca

Presentation of HP1177 – Request for Veterans Status for the Protectors and Defenders of the Northeastern Boundary Dispute aka The Aroostook War

On Thursday, July 7, 2011 there will be a short ceremony hosted by The 1839 Foundation of Northern Maine and The Passadumkeag Historical Society where we will be presented with a copy of HP1177, requesting Veterans Status from the President and US Congress for the Protectors and Defenders of the Northeastern Boundary Dispute commonly called The Aroostook War.

Cal Innes, the President of the Passadumkeag Historical Society will announce our collaboration. The 1839 Foundation of Northern Maine will have copies of the Sequence of Events and rosters of Capt Porter’s company out of Burlington & Capt George Towle’s Rifle Company from the 6th Regiment, many of whom were from the Passadumkeag area to identify some of the men we wish to recognize and honor.

Here is one family’s story: My ancestors John and Mary Knowlen who had the homestead directly across from the site of the first posse encampment at T 10 R 5 and who’s timber rebuilt Fort Fairfield in April of 1839 that I began my quest. John and Mary not only lost their homestead when the state was delinquent in paying for that timber but GAR post 149 in Masardis was called The Knowlen Post because they lost two sons and a third returned crippled from battle wounds during the Civil War. And through it all they didn’t whine, complain or blame, they preservered and raised their remaining children and grandchildren to be teachers, civic leaders, active & productive members of society. What you may not recall is the reason they were living in T 10 R 5: John; a young husband and father found himself the head of a large household of siblings while living in Passadumkeag, during the summer of 1828 after his father was murdered and the furs he had been acquiring through his trapping expertise were stolen. Before the estate could be settled, his next two brothers tragically drowned in July 1834 while engaged in driving timber down the Passadumkeag River. The loss of his brothers’ assistance forced him to take his wife, two young sons, 12 year old brother, 9 year old sister and head north to start all over again. The family connection to Passadumkeag is a bittersweet one, yet resulted in our connection to Aroostook County that has remained for almost 180 years.

Important Information You Also Need to Know about LD 1781

From Helen Shaw, CG, MGS member and one who testified at the hearing:

Anyone planning to do research into vital records in Maine town offices will need to bring proof of their identity — something with a photo: drivers liscence, passport, military ID, etc. They should expect to be asked to fill out a form stating what records they want to access. Right now, I think there is one form for each record they want to look at, but Kathy should be able to tell you more on that. Also, I am not sure if that applies to records before 1892. Again, Kathy should be able to enlighten us.

If they want to access a vital record within the current 100 year closure period they will have to provide proof of relationship to the person(s) whose record(s) they want to access. If someone wants vital records for their parent(s) they will need to bring their birth certificate naming the parents. This means if the researcher is female and has a different married name, she will need her marriage certificate showing the maiden and married name. I suppose if the marriage certificate names her parents that would be sufficient to access their records.

The issue of the state researcher ID card is up in the air. According to current law family members only have to prove the relationship — they do not need the state card. Anyone else trying to access records within the 100 year closure period will need the state ID card. Beyond that, I have no idea; the rules committee did not finish its work on LD 1781 before LD 258 was passed and I had an e-mail recently from the committee coordinator saying it could be a good while before the committee meets again.

From Kathy Montejo, City Clerk, MGS member and one who attended the LD 1781 meetings:

Yes – forms are available at every town office and forms need to be filled out for any and all records ordered – birth, marriage, death – regardless of the age of the document. There is a standardized form designed by the state clerks association and approved by the state Vitals Office, so I believe every town office is using the same order form. Even if towns have formatted their forms differently, the forms all require the same info (name, date, person acquiring, etc.)

Helen is also correct about the need for family acquiring records other than their own to show documentation on the linkage to that record – their birth certificate for their parent’s birth certificate, etc. We just need to see a paper trail for proof of eligibility to obtain the record. The marriage licenses do contain a bride’s maiden name and the names of both of her parents, so that is covered.

Provisions of LD 258 explained

LD 258 is the bill to amend Public Law 601 which last year closed Maine’s vital records for 100 years. It was sponsored by Representative Deborah Sanderson (R, Chelsea). A public hearing on the bill was held on Wednesday, March 2, with the committee work session being held the next day, Thursday, March 3. Testifying at the public hearing in favor of the bill were Helen Shaw, CG, Pam Eagleson, CG, Melinde Sanborn, CG, Anne Thomas (Honorary State Regent, DAR), Peggy O’Kane (reference librarian for the Maine State Library), and several others. Testifying against the bill were Elana Jellison (rule making coordinator for the Maine DHHS, and Dr. Stephen Sears (Maine DHHS). Testifying neither for or against was Kathy Montejo, town clerk for Lewiston and board member of the Maine Genealogical Society.

So, what does LD 258 do to vital records access?

OPEN RECORDS

1. It is now in statute that all vital records before 1892 are open to anyone without restriction. Anyone can buy an informational copy or an official copy on town letterhead. NOTE: Towns may impose their own rules covering access to vital records to include specific days or hours of availability, forms that must be filled out, and personal identification to be provided. However, having state statute saying these early vital records are public records should help immensely.

Note that the exact wording of the law for the following records states that they are open after XX years from the date of the event. The years listed below are a simplification. These records may be accessed at the Vital Records Unit in Augusta or at the applicable municipal office.

2. All birth certificates between 1892 and 1936 are open to anyone without restriction. That upper year will shift as time goes on; the closure period is 75 years. Anyone can buy a non-certified copy. Only people listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified copy.

3. All marriage certificates, registrations of domestic partnerships, and certificates for fetal deaths between 1892 and 1961 are open to anyone without restriction. That upper year will shift as time goes on; the closure period is 50 years. Anyone can buy a non-certified copy. Only people listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified copy.

4. All deaths certificates between 1892 and 1986 are open to anyone without restriction. That upper year will shift as time goes on; the closure period is 25 years. Anyone can buy a non-certified copy. Only people listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified copy.

CLOSED RECORDS


5. Access to birth certificates less than 75 years old. You need to be a family member listed in Paragraph 5 or have a CDC/ODRVS researcher card to look at these records. Only people listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified (or non-certified) copy. People with a CDC/ODRVS researcher card can buy a non-certified copy.

6. Access to marriage certificates, registrations of domestic partnerships, or fetal death certificates less than 50 years old. You need to be a family member listed in Paragraph 5 or have a CDC/ODRVS researcher card to look at these records. Only those listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified (or non-certified) copy. People with a CDC/ODRVS researcher card can only buy a non-certified copy.

7. Access to death certificates less than 25 years old. You need to be in a family member listed in Paragraph 5 or have a CDC/ODRVS researcher card to look at these records. Only those listed in Paragraph 5 can buy a certified (or non-certified) copy. People with a CDC/ODVRS researcher card can only buy a non-certified copy.

All family members (as listed in Paragraph 5 of the law) must provide documentation of their identity and their relationship to the persons whose vital records are being accessed.

Rules for genealogists (paid or not) who are acting as an agent for a family member listed in Paragraph 5 are still being written and may change. We know so far these genealogists must have a CDC/ODRVS researcher card and that they may buy certified copies of vital records for the client. Also, the client must provide a notarized letter of authorization for the genealogist and documentation of their identity and relationship to the persons whose vital records are being accessed.

Vital Records of Wiscasset, Maine Now Available

The town of Wiscasset is situated on the Sheepscot River in the southeastern part of Lincoln County and is the county seat. The town was first settled in 1663 but the settlement was abandoned during the French and Indian Wars and the King Philip’s War in 1675. Not until 1730 did settlers return to the area.

The town was first included in the region called South Precinct of Pownalborough. The town of Pownalborough was incorporated as the twelfth town in Maine on February 13, 1760 and originally included what are now the towns of Wiscasset, Dresden, Alna and Swan Island. Land was set off forming the towns of Dresden and Alna on June 25, 1794 with the name of Pownalborough being retained for the remaining portion until June 10, 1802 when it was then changed to Wiscasset.

Maine Genealogical Society Special Publication No. 66. 640 pages, 24,339 entry Every Name Index; hard cover. 2011.

MGS Member price is $74.95, a discount of $10.00 from the non-member price.

Coming to our workshop on April 23rd? This book, and many others, will be on sale there!

For more information, visit the Special Publications catalog on the MGS website.