Building a Collaborative Partnership Between a Genealogical Society and a Public Library

Anastasia Varnalis Weigle,
Wendy Lombard Bossie
and Brenda Jackson Bourgoine

 

From Genealogy and the Librarian: Perspectives on Research, Instruction, Outreach and Management © 2018 Edited by Carol Smallwood and Vera Gubnitskaia by permission of McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640. www.mcfarlandbooks.com.

 

Genealogical societies and libraries share a common ground as they both offer resource materials and assistance to their users and it is no surprise that the genealogist is a heavy user of libraries and archives, historical societies, and museums. Family history research continues to grow and is the “second most popular use of the internet” (Barnwell 2013, 261). For the archivist, understanding user needs and the behavior of genealogists was of interest back in 2003 when a study was conducted involving the in-depth interview of 10 genealogists (Duff and Johnson 2003, 79). The study found that many more relied heavily on colleagues and an informal network of researchers than on archivists. In an era of tight budgets, finding ways to maximize resources through partnerships and col­laborations can prove to be advantageous for some libraries and genealogical societies. Combined resources can better support users needs. Public Library archival collections contain resources that support the genealogist’s work.

The archivist, like the genealogist, must examine and interpret information to ensure the validity of the data. Genealogical societies serving a local town, city, or county will find local area libraries will have the same constituents (Litzer 1997, 40). However, public libraries that contain archival papers, but have no archivist and minimal staffing to main­tain, build, and promote their collections, may not realize the commonalities they have between their institution and their local or regional genealogical society. The opportu­nities afforded to libraries and genealogical societies through such collaborations can bring about better access to collections, collection growth, increased patron usage, pro­gram building, facility sharing for workshops and meetings, and grant opportunities for preservation and care of collections. How do two separate agencies work together as a single unit, yet still retain their identity? What types of policies should each group have in place before embarking on such a collaboration? How does this collaboration affect library staff and what do they need to know? One such collaboration has begun between the Caribou Public Library (CPL) and the Aroostook County Genealogical Society (ACGS). This essay will share the ins and outs of a joint effort to combine holdings from both institutions to build a Genealogical Research Center.

A Brief History of the Aroostook County Genealogical Society

Genealogy is more than a table of names or a list of dates. Genealogy is the genetic history of a person or a family. It answers the questions, “Who are we? “Where did we come from?” and “How did we get from here to there?” The genealogist’s task is to inves­tigate family origins, bloodlines, societal history, and human migration. It can tell us something about historical events through the lens of families living during a specific period in time. The genealogist’s source of information is numerous—vital statistics, birth, marriage and death records, oral history, periodicals, baptismal papers and family bibles, correspondences, diaries, and military records.

The Aroostook County Genealogical Society (ACGS) began on August 12, 2003, with their first meeting held at the Caribou Public Library meeting space called the Cari­bou Room. That first year the ACGS elected officers, a board of trustees, a mission state­ment, and drafted its first informational brochure. They drafted and made plans for a monthly newsletter to keep everyone informed and hoped to bring in more members. In the meantime, the ACGS met in the Caribou Room at the library when it was available to them. In 2005, the ACGS became a chapter, named “The County” of Maine Genealog­ical Society. Although the Caribou Public Library had archives and space for research, it did not offer ACGS a permanent meeting space. Instead, the genealogical society was provided meeting space if a meeting room was available. ACGS would seek meeting space through the arrangement of field trips. These tours took members to various loca­tions in Caribou such as the Family History Center Library located in the Caribou Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Vera T. Estey House, the Caribou Historical Center, Thomas Heritage House, and the University of Maine, Presque Isle Special Collections Room. The Caribou Lions building and the Chan Center at the Cari­bou Medical Center were available for a few years with occasional meetings in the Caribou Room. Late in 2014, the Caribou Library director invited ACGS to use the Archival area for meetings and to build a genealogical library within it. Print collections started to accumulate, through time, by the society and not secured in any repository. Instead, col­ lections were spread out in various members homes. Maintaining inventory of collections spread out was a challenge for ACGS. Before this time, a working relationship had been built with the library staff through members volunteering, so it was an easy decision for ACGS to make.

In 2006, the director of the Caribou Public Library loaned one file cabinet in which ACGS could store a few of their books in the archives. Later, a local business donated a lateral file cabinet for the society group, as they had outgrown the four-drawer cabinet loaned by the library. Although the library had a secure space for archives and special collections, the library did not have an archivist to organize, maintain or promote the collections. However, despite the challenges met by ACGS for a permanent meeting space and repository, between 2003 and 2014, the society was able to accomplish a great many things:

  1. Aroostook County Cemetery Location map project using Global Positioning Software (GPS).
  2. Cohosting Maine Old Cemetery Association with Caribou Historical Soci­ ety in 2004.
  3. Cleanup, repair, maintenance, and current caretaking of the Cochran Ceme­tery including photographing and documenting the gravestones.
  4. Bringing in guest speakers, touring museums and history centers, offering workshops and classes on genealogy research.
  5. Building liaisons with other groups such as the Nylander Museum in Cari­bou, Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle, LDS library in Cari­bou, Maine Genealogical Society, Maine Old Cemetery Association, Acadian Archives in Ft. Kent, Acadian Village in Van Buren and Libraries, Museums and Historical Societies in locations statewide.
  6. Publishing The Families of the Upper Saint John Valley in 1790 and Aroostook County Towns that sent men to the Civil War.
  7. Assembling and indexing thousands of obituaries.
  8. Providing information to people inside and outside of the Caribou area via the web site, through social media, emails, snail mail, and referrals.
  9. Assisting Caribou Public Library in preparing the Hardison Collection; which is a donated repository of maps, deeds and related papers from generations of Hardison men who were surveyors. The goal was to make a public database of these holdings available.

Brief History of Caribou Public Library Archives

In January 2004, the library underwent some building projects, which included the reallocation of space opening up large meeting rooms in the lower level of the library. These were converted into archival space to house a large donation of the Aroostook Republican newspapers dated from 1887 to 2004 and continue to be updated and main­tained to this day. The archives contained works of local writers and historians, photo­graphs, local newspapers, school yearbooks, city reports, and postcards. The room was secured and only accessible when staff was available. Although the idea was to create a genealogical research center, there was no collaboration during this time between CPL and ACGS.

Between 2014 and 2016, a new director of the Caribou Public Library came onto the scene. She liked the Archive Room and welcomed the idea for ACGS to hold meetings there and join efforts to combine holdings and build a genealogical research center. Space was given to ACGS in the archives research area to house all their collections making CPL the official repository for the society.

The library provided storage shelving, bookcases, and storage space for ACGS to house their collection making the CPL Archives a repository for them. Plans to combine ACGS genealogical materials with the library’s genealogical materials were discussed and then implemented. Because the library did not have a working archivist nor archival policies or standards for maintaining special collections, the collaboration had a bumpy start. The director, unfamiliar with archival standards, opened the archives room to the general public without supervision. Patrons used the space to eat, bring children to color or read, and used the space for various meetings. The director hoped that opening the space freely would give the patrons a sense of ownership. However, without advocating the archives, space was not considered special in any way by the general public. It was just another library space for patrons to congregate. Although the intention of the director was sincere, concerns for security was a major issue for ACGS. Again, a workable col­laboration would have to wait a while longer.

In January 2017, a new director with a background in archives management took over the position of Head Librarian for the Caribou Public Library. In keeping with the previous manager’s vision, the new director met with the President of ACGS, Brenda Bourgoine and past CPL librarian and now current Archivist for the Caribou Public Library, Wendy Lombard Bossie, to discuss policies and procedures that would benefit both institutions. New policies were set in place to help forge a stronger collaborative relationship that would benefit both institutions.

Working Policies for a Successful Collaboration

Since 2004, the library has maintained an archive to secure and protect historical collections, yet had no defined policies in place such as governing authority, purpose and mission, use and purpose of the archives and special collections, the role of ACGS within the library’s archive, and appraisal guidelines to ensure its success. In 2014, col­laboration was encouraged, but again, no archival policies were in place. These would need to be established first before collaboration could be implemented.

The Aroostook County Genealogical Society constituencies easily matched with Caribou Public Library thereby giving each an incentive to collaborate. ACGS and CPL are separate agencies with different mission statements. ACGS’ primary mission focused on the members who were interested in increasing their knowledge in genealogy research and networking opportunities. The goals were to increase public awareness through pro­grams and workshops and offer expertise in genealogical research:

The Aroostook County Genealogical Society a non-profit organization founded in 2003, is the soci­ ety for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian. The ACGS serves its members by, 1) providing genealogical skills development through education information, publica­ tions, research assistance, and networking opportunities; 2) promoting the highest standards of ethi­ cal research principles and scholarly practices; 3) establishing important links with other groups worldwide; 4) providing depth and breadth of knowledge and opportunities for our members; 5) cre­ ating programs to increase public awareness of opportunities to discover family history; and, promot­ ing interest in the fascinating field of genealogy and family history [http://www.ac-gs.org/].

The mission of the Caribou Archives and Special Collections places primary focus on the collection, maintenance, and accessibility to archival resources. It is about stew­ ardship of archival materials of historical, intrinsic, evidentiary and administrative value, and making these collections accessible to scholars, genealogists, students, historians, and visitors.

… to identify, acquire, organize, preserve and make available materials pertaining to the history, cul­ ture, and people of the Caribou area and outline communities in Aroostook County and portions of the State of Maine that support our documents. These materials are available to genealogists, histori­ ans, scholars, students, and the general public. The library holds these materials in trust for future generations.

For the Caribou Public Library and the Aroostook County Genealogical Society, the decision to work collaboratively would require some written agreement, addressing ownership and access to materials. Each group must advocate for each other, which in turn offers strength and stability, increased access to users, visibility, and more oppor­ tunities for grants. The newly implemented archival policies that established the frame­ work that would help define the relationship with ACGS were placed under its Research and References Services policies:

The Caribou Public Library is the permanent repository of the Aroostook County Genealogical Soci­ety Research Center. Although a separate agency from the Caribou Public Library, ACGS and the Archival Collections at the library share their genealogy materials for easy access to users. As a spe­ cialized field, all inquiries for genealogical research will be provided by ACGS. The Archivist pro­ vides research services about Caribou history, its surrounding communities in Aroostook County, and the state of Maine as it relates to our collections.

Four types of collaboration were implemented: (1) exhibitions, (2) outreach/advocacy, (3) publications, and (4) grant writing. Of these four, outreach/advocacy services are the engines that drive our collaborative programs and overall partnership. It is ben­eficial to both groups when outreach/advocacy services are done collaboratively either in the forefront or in the background. Forefront advocacy is done when both groups are creating a program, event, or workshop together. For example, the Aroostook County Genealogical Society and the Caribou Public Library invited the public to an open house event. It was decided by both groups to have an open house as a way to intro­ duce the community to both organizations and their collections. GPL and ACGS co-hosted the event with representatives from both groups attending. The open-house was an opportunity not only to promote both organizations but to exhibit an ongoing project ACGS has been working on since 2001—seeking information on the provenance of a “Mystery Quilt” found at the bottom of an old tool box in Wisconsin. The quilt is owned by the Caribou Historical Society. How it got to Wisconsin from Caribou is truly a mystery. Its approximate date was established as late 19th century although that may change.

Brenda Bourgoine, ACGS President began researching the names on the quilt to try and identify who made it, why it was made, when it was made, and perhaps how it traveled to Wisconsin from Caribou. The research was set aside for some years, until Wendy Lom­bard Bossie, Library Archivist, and member of the Caribou Historical Center and Museum, picked up the research. The open house was an opportunity to share the quilt and its mystery to the community. The turnout was a success for both groups. Many vis­itors of the open-house were not aware that the library had archival collections. The pos­itive feedback from the community about the collaboration was another plus!

Behind-the-scenes advocacy relates to promoting each others programs. For exam­ple, when the Caribou Public Library has an event, either archives- or library-related, ACGS shares the press with their members on their social media. This is done equally by the library. To do this successfully, both groups keep abreast of each others activities. Since the library archivist is the liaison between ACGS President and the CPL Director, she is the connector between the two. This is what I mean by collaborations taking a “leap of faith.” This “leap of faith” requires both groups having a vested interest in each other in order to succeed.

Any ongoing outreach of various forms, including but not limited to tours, presen­ tations, workshop, sponsorships of meetings, seminars, and conferences related to ACGS and/or the Library Archives and Special Collections Mission will further the use and development of materials to serve the local and regional community.

Our publications policy is not to be confused with ACGS published works. Instead, it is an extension of Outreach/Advocacy. This is quite new for the library. Although ACGS has a brochure introducing themselves to the community, the Caribou Public Library has never had a brochure or booklet designed to market the archives. The Archives and Special Collections is in the process of designing brochures and descriptive guides (finding aids) to publicize its existence and information about its collaborative partnership with ACGS.

The Caribou Public Library archives and the ACGS will seek out and write grants collaboratively. Since we are both working together to strengthen each other’s collections and provide research support to users, developing well-planned collaborative programs together may open up opportunities for grant writing. “A deeply collaborative program plan demonstrates dedication to making a difference by leveraging available expertise and resources” (Floersch 2015, para. 1). Such collaborations would help to generate funds to support and sustain both groups such as educational and staff training, programming, workshops, assessment grants, educational programming, facility and environmental control upgrades, new housing materials, and digital project grants.

Collection Ownership and Access to Content

One aspect of this collaboration is the sharing of genealogical print resources. Genealogical societies are less likely to contain family papers or business records—some­ thing common in archives. What can be found in ACGS possessions are indices of obit­uaries, publications by the Maine Genealogical Society, genealogy periodicals, and books on specific family histories. The library archives have additional print resources useful to ACGS including maps and gazetteers, which are valuable to genealogists in need to identify the names of localities within the geographic area (Duff and Johnson 2003, 94). For the family historian, key factors in research are ease of use and accessibility (Richards 2006, 78).

Both groups agreed it would be advantageous to combine these particular collections into one location for easier access. Library Archives genealogical research materials were shelved with ACGS genealogical materials. To differentiate what books belonged to which group, those belonging to the library are identified by their call number, whereas ACGS materials are identified by their name or specific recording keeping code. This decision has been beneficial in supporting ACGS while still maintaining ownership of each others genealogical print collections.

Most important, ownership of print resources means good stewardship. The Caribou Public Library has an insurance policy for its materials and facilities. It is important that the society also has an insurance policy to protect its print collections from loss or dam­ages. The policy must be for replacement value, and not depreciation value.

Research Support and Services: ACGS vs. CPL

We start to see differences within each group when you examine how research sup­port and services are administered. The Caribou Public Library is a city department with non-profit 501(c)3 status through the Caribou Public Library Foundation. With numerous monetary trusts and support by the city budget through taxpayers, research service pro­vided to our users at the Caribou Public Library is free other than making copies of doc­uments using a standard photocopier or digital print. Flowever, the Aroostook County Genealogical Society, also a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, relies on membership dues, donations, and research-based fees to a non-member of ACGS.

The archivist’s knowledge specialty is local Caribou and Aroostook County his­tory, not genealogy. Therefore, we are unable to serve users by attempting to do this highly specialized research. On the other hand, when genealogists and family historians come seeking photographs, city plans of neighborhoods, newspapers, school, church, or business records, or other resources that are part of CPL’s archives, ACGS refers them to us.

The success of this type of resource/research collaboration only works because both parties communicate openly and often with each other. It also helps that the library archivist is the liaison between ACGS and CPL.

ACGS Provides Manpower for Library Archive Projects

One of the best assets of our collaboration with ACGS is their workforce support for Library archive projects. It is advantageous that ACGS know the scope of our collec­tions. To do so requires interaction between the library archivist and the President of ACGS, who is also the archivist for their organization.

Approximately ten years ago, the Caribou Public Library received a collection of city plan blueprints dating from the late 1800s to mid-1900s from the University of Maine in Presque Isle. The plans are extremely useful to ACGS research, but difficult to use because they had not been processed since they were accessioned years ago. This year, a project partnership was established between ACGS and CPL to survey, organize, rehouse, and create finding aids for the city plans.

Conclusion

The genealogists seek practical information consisting of specific facts and dates using census records, vital stats, and obituaries, whereas the family historians are seeking needs of a more profound nature—a way to connect to their past and seek identity (Yakel 2004, 4). The archivist seeks information through primary sources such as diaries, jour­ nals, and correspondence. The similarities between the library archivist and the geneal­ogist are to investigate the veracity of information found to determine its validity. However, at the same, we both understand the sensitivities of the family historian’s need to connect with one’s past.

What motivates the Caribou Public Library to collaborate with the Aroostook County Genealogical Society? For CPL, our motivation is visibility, stability, advocacy, and support. For ACGS, its motivation is space, stability, advocacy, and resources to help their users, which are our users. Wendy Bourgoine, President of ACGS is an active par­ticipant in the library archives. Brenda Bossie, the current archivist for the library, is an active member of ACGS. Their dedication is proof that such collaborations can make sense in organizations that have similar goals, missions, and stakeholders.

Lastly, our cooperation with each other is unique only to us and what works for us may not work for other libraries or genealogy societies. Collaboration is determined by the needs of the library and the local or regional genealogical society and what end results each one seeks.

Additional Resources for Librarians and Genealogists

Works Cited

  • Barnwell, Ashley. 2013. “The Genealogy Craze: Authoring an Authentic Identity Through Family History Research.” Life Writing 10(3): 261-275.
  • Duff, Wendy, and Catherine Johnson. 2003. “Where Is the List with All the Names? Information Seeking Behavior of Genealogists.” The American Archivist 66(1): 79-95.
  • Floersch, Barbara. 2016. “How to Collaboratively Strengthen Grant Proposals.” Linkedin [Post] (16 June 2016). Accessed April 20. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-strengthen-collaborative-grant-proposals-barbara-floersch.
  • Richards, Jennifer. 2006. “An Investigation into the Information Needs of Family History Researchers.” MA Librarianship Thesis, University of Sheffield.
  • Yakel, Elizabeth. 2004. “Seeking Information, Seeking Connections, Seeking Meaning: Genealogists and Family Historians.” Information Research: An International Electronic Journal 10(1): nl.

Now Available – Vital Records of Canton, Maine

MGS Special Publication #82

VITAL RECORDS OF CANTON, MAINE.

Compiled by Gregory S. Childs.

Description:

The town of Canton, Maine is located on the Androscoggin River in Oxford County and is the easternmost town of that county. The area comprising the towns of Canton and Jay had been granted by the Massachusetts General Court in 1771 to Captain Joseph Phipps and 63 other soldiers for service during the French and Indian War, and the grant became known as Phipps-Canada. Settlement began in the early 1790s, and Phipps- Canada was incorporated as the town of Jay in 1795. On 5 February 1821, the southwesterly section of Jay, approximately one-third of the entire town, was set off and incorporated as the 241st town in Maine and named Canton, after Canton, Massachusetts.

These newly found records were never microfilmed.

  • Pages: 448
  • Every Name Index: 11,218
  • ISBN: 9781949083002
  • Library of Congress Control Number: 2018947275
  • Original Publication Date: August 2018
  • Non-Member Price: $40
  • Member Price: $30

Order Here

NOW AVAILABLE! Vital Records of Mount Vernon, Maine

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 is now shipping

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.

For more information about this release, see our last post.

Remember, this and upcoming titles are now available to both MGS members and non-members (though members do receive a nice discount on all titles)

Maine Families in 1790, Volume 11 – Now Taking Pre-Orders!

After nearly 6 years since Volume 10, The Maine Genealogical Society is excited to announce we are now accepting preorders for volume 11 of our Maine Families in 1790 series.  This book is now at the printer and is available to both Maine Genealogical Society members and non-members for pre-ordering now!  Books are currently scheduled to arrive from the printer to MGS the week of December 13.  Pre orders will be shipped to individuals as soon as we have them, with the intention to get them to most households before the Christmas holiday.

Edited by Joseph Crook Anderson II, FASG, Volume 11 of the Maine Families in 1790 series is the biggest yet. Crammed with 800 genealogy-packed pages, this volume treats 208 new families located throughout the District of Maine. Consistent with the previous volumes, all of the families have been thoroughly researched and edited, and all facts are meticulously documented with clear source citations. Conclusions drawn from circumstantial evidence, incomplete records, or conflicting sources are fully discussed within each family sketch. With this volume, the total number of families treated in the series is now 2,895 (or 17% of all families living in Maine in 1790). The usefulness of these books for genealogical research cannot be overstated. The Maine Families in 1790 series is simply the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource on families living in the state during the late-Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federalist, and early statehood periods of Maine’s history.

Surnames of heads-of-household included in Volume 11 are:
Alexander, Allen, Andrews, Atkinson, Baker, Beal(s), Berry, Besse, Bickford, Bishop, Bixby, Blake, Bonney, Booker, Bowman, Boyd, Bradbury, Bradford, Britton, Brown, Card, Cash, Cass, Chandler, Chipman, Clifford, Colby, Collier, Colson, Cottrell, Cousens, Crary, Crommett, Davis, Dexter, Dickey, Dingley, Downing, Dutton, Ellis, Eustis, Fairbanks, Farley, Farnsworth, Fenby, Fletcher, Foster, Fowler, Frye, Fuller, Gilbert, Gilpatrick, Goodridge, Goodwin, Gould, Grant, Greeley, Griffin, Haley, Hall, Hancock, Hawes, Hicks, Hinds, Hinkley, Hopkinson, Houston, Ingalls, Jack, Jacobs, Jewell, Jewett, Jordan, Kilborn, Lackey, Lambert, Lancaster, Lanpher, Libby/Libbey, Lindsey, Longley, Martin, Mathews, Mayberry, Merithew, Metcalf, Miller, Millet, Mitchell, Moors, Neal, Niles, Nock, Norris, Odam, Otis, Patch, Patten, Peabody, Peirce, Perley, Perry, Poke, Porter, Potter, Pratt, Randall, Redlon, Reed, Richmond, Robbins, Russell, Sawyer, Shute, Small, Smith, Springer, Spurr, Staples, Stimson, Stinchfield, Stowers, Sturgis, Sturtevant, Sylvester, Tate, Thurston, Town(e)(s), True, Turner, Walker, Ward, Washburn, Wells, Weston, Whiting, Whittier, Wilder, Winslow, Woodman, Young.

As always, MGS members enjoy a substantial discount on the non-member price.  The nearly $20 
discount to members on just this book makes the $25 annual membership dues well worth the investment.

Interested to know if your Maine families are represented in the first 10 Volumes?  There is a master index of heads of households for volumes 1-11 available on the MGS website available here.

UPDATE 2017-10-05: Occasionally there are updates and corrections to the families published in the 1790 series.  There is now an Addendum Index that may have additional information about families in previously published volumes!

NOW AVAILABLE: Vital Records of Newcastle, Maine

Vital Records of Newcastle, Maine, special publication #72 of the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS) is now available exclusively through MGS.

The town of Newcastle is located in Lincoln County on the peninsula between the Sheepscot and Damariscotta Rivers. The town was originally called Sheepscot Plantation and settled in 1630 by fishermen. The town was attacked and destroyed in 1676 during the King Philip’s War but many residents returned when the War ended. During another French and Indian War in 1688 the town was again destroyed with residents not returning for about 30 years. The name of the town was changed to Newcastle in 1730 and incorporated on 23 August 1775 as the 30th town in Maine. The population of the town increased from the first census in 1790 when there were 787 residents to its high point in 1850 when there were 2,012 residents. After that, it dropped each year to a low point in 1930 of 914, rising in 1940 to 994 residents.

The vital records for the town of Newcastle have been transcribed for this book from the microfilms located in the Maine State Archives as digitized on two CDs available from Picton Press. Also included are Delayed Records of Births and Marriage Intentions which were transcribed from two original volumes located in the Newcastle town office, neither of which have been microfilmed. The quality of the microfilmed records is quite good with only a few pages having sections either too faint or too dark to read but were found to be more readable in the original record volumes found in the Newcastle town office.

Vital Records of Newcastle includes Birth, Marriage, and Death records as transcribed from images of microfilms held at the Maine State Archives. Also included are records from the journal of Ebenezer Webb.

With over 380 pages of information, including an Every Name Index of well over 8,000 individuals, this book is a must have if you are researching families in the Newcastle area in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  At $39.95 for non-members,, this book is a great value for any genealogical library.

If you would like to order a copy of Vital Records of Newcastle, 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 25% off the non-member price, a savings of $10!

*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/product-category/membership/

Vital Records of Woolwich, Maine now available EXCLUSIVELY through MGS!

Maine Genealogical Society Special Publication #71
Vital Records of Woolwich, Maine

The Maine Genealogical society has some exciting news, and it’s NOT just for members!  We are very excited to announce our latest Vital Records of Woolwich, Maine, special publication #71 of the society.

This book is available exclusively through the Maine Genealogical Society.  As our first self-published publication, you can’t find Vital Records of Woolwich, Maine anywhere else.

Unlike other MGS special publications, which we could only sell to members due to contractual obligations with our publisher, this new title is available, from our website, for anyone with an interest in their Woolwich ancestry.  You do not need to be a member of MGS to purchase this title!  As with our other titles, MGS members still receive a generous discount when identifying themselves as a member at checkout. In addition, as our first self-published work we were able to continue to bring you the same high quality standards of our previous books while keeping a lower price – and we are able to offer both a paperback and hardcover edition.

 The town of Woolwich is located in Sagadahoc County, Maine, on the east side of the Kennebec River. The early name of the town was Nequasset, the Indian name of a local pond. The first settlers were John Bateman and Edward Brown who resided there in 1638. They purchased from Robin Hood, an Indian chief, most of the territory now comprised by Woolwich.

The town was incorporated 23 August 1775 as the 32nd town in Maine. The population of the town increased slightly from the first census in 1790 when there were 787 residents to its high point in 1830 when there were 1,495 residents. Since then, it dropped each year to a low point in 1930 of 671 residents, rising in 1940 to 1,144 residents.

Vital Records of Woolwich includes Birth, Marriage, and Death records as transcribed from images of microfilms held at the Maine State Archives. Also included are town meeting and miscellaneous records of interest to genealogists as well as ear marks.

With over 650 pages of information, including an Every Name Index of more than 17,000 individuals, if you have families living in Woolwich prior to the 1890s, you’re sure to find something of interest in this book.

If you would like to order a copy of Vital Records of Woolwich, Maine it is only available through the Maine Genealogical Society. 

Purchases can be made through our online store using one of the following links:

Hardcover (*$49.95 for non MGS members/$39.95 for members)
https://maineroots.org/product/vital-records-woolwich-maine-2015-hardcover-edition/
Paperback (*39.95 for non MGS members/$29.95 for members)
https://maineroots.org/product/vital-records-woolwich-maine-2015-paperback-edition/

*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/membership/

Waterville, Maine 1890 Census now available through the Taconnett Falls chapter!

Many genealogists have run into the conundrum over the years of trying to find their ancestors in the 1890 census only to learn most of the census for that year was destroyed during a fire many years ago.  Researchers looking for their Waterville ancestors may be surprised to know a copy of the 1890 census still exists and was recently published through the hard work of the Tacconnett Falls chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society and Sam Teddy Publishing.  The paperback book contains nearly 300 pages (including index) and is a must have for anyone researching their 1890’s Waterville families.

Thanks so much to the folks at the Taconnett Chapter for bringing this vital resource to print!

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can contact the Taconnett Falls chapter of MGS at taconnettfalls11@yahoo.com for more information.

For more information about how this resource came to be available, check out this Bangor Daily News article by Roxanne Saucier:

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/12/07/living/1890-census-records-for-waterville-gets-reprinted-as-new-284-page-book/

New Book on Windham, ME History

Time for a good book? If you’re interested in Windham history, you may enjoy reading Kay Soldier’s latest book about Windham’s “Northeast Road” — the old time name for Route 202 or Gray Road.
Read about the old Revolunary soldiers who settled in the Eastern part of Windham and chuckle at Charles Legrow’s descriptions of every house and settler from the Rotary (or Foster’s Corner) to the Gray line. Every graveyard, every school and all the houses, and all the people who lived there — as memorialized by one of our town’s best historians — Charles Legrow.

Genealogists will have a field day with the family details.

Read about some of Windham’s finest people including Tony Pecoraro, Walter Reeves, Flora Lamb and others — and read about the Days Gone By and what the different seasons meant to some of us old timers.
 
This is not an official publication of the Maine Genealogical Society, but rather a new book by one of our members.  If you would like a copy, please send $20 per copy to Kay Soldier, 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, Maine 04062 and she will mail it out right away.

Maine Famlies in 1790 Bundle

Maine Genealogical Society members are now getting an extra special deal on top of already discounted items.  The popular Maine Families in 1790 Series Value Bundle includes 3 volumes from the 10 volume set at more than 50% off their retail price!  Volumes 5, 6 and 7 are included in this limited time deal and include more than 1,600 poages of family sketches. The Every Name Index for just these three volumes includes more than 40,000 names!

Retail these books sell for a combined $166. MGS Members could already get them at a substantial discount, $92, but for a limited time, this value bundle is available for MGS Members only for $75!  Not a member?  Why not join and take advantage of this amazing deal?  For the extra $25 you get our quarterly newsletter, quarterly scholarly journal, more discounts on ALL our in stock titles and you have the opportunity to have your genealogy related website added to our list of links, and post queries to the blog.

And, if you’re coming to our Spring Workshop in Augusta, let us know which books you’re interested in and we can bring them with us and save you some shipping costs!  Not registered for the workshop?  Better hurry, there’s only a week left before the registration deadline.

For more information on both these deals, visit our website: http://www.maineroots.org

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.

Vital Records of Orland, Maine

We are pleased to announce the availability of our Special Publication #65.

The town of Orland is located in Hancock County, 17 miles west of Ellsworth. Granted to W. Dall, Nathaniel Snellings, Robert Treat and others in Boston. It was first settled by Joseph Gross from Fort Pownal in 1764. Zachariah Gross, his son, was the first male child born there in 1766. The first road was laid out in 1771 by John Hancock and Samuel Craig. Orland was incorporated on Feb. 21, 1800. Prior to that date it was known as Eastern River Township, or Plantation, No. 2.

James H. Wick, compiler. 426 pages, 14,106 entry Every Name Index. Hard cover. 2010.

Member price: $59.95 / Non-member price: $69.95

Visit our website for ordering information.