Thursday, November 29, 2007

Finding Your Ancestors in Courthouse Records

The details of our workshop scheduled for April 19, 2008, with Diane Rapaport have been added to our events website at

Court records offer a wealth of information for genealogists tracing their ancestors, but these valuable resources remain under-utilized. Learn how to find and use court records, from the 17th through the 20th centuries, in courthouses, archives, books, microfilm, and the latest digital/electronic sources. With this all-day workshop format we have a great opportunity to go into depth learning about these records. Maine Genealogical Society invites you to join us as Diane Rapaport leads us on a journey into the court records of our ancestors.

Diane Rapaport, a former trial lawyer, has made a new career as an award-winning author, speaker and publisher. She brings history to life with true stories from colonial New England, and she uses her legal training to help people find ancestors and trace regional history in underutilized court records. Her special interests include colonial New England, American legal history, and Scottish heritage. She is currently working on a historical novel about 17th-century New England and Scotland. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. Diane is the author of the highly acclaimed New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians (Quill Pen Press, 2006), winner of 2007 Benjamin Franklin Awards for excellence in independent publishing, from PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, first place for Best History Book and Best Reference Book, and finalist for Best New Voice (Nonfiction), as well as the 2007 Literary Award for Best Genealogical Resource from Connecticut Society of Genealogists. She is also the author of the recently released The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England (Commonwealth Editions, 2007). Readers of New England Ancestors, the quarterly publication of New England Historic Genealogical Society, will recognize Diane as author of the “Tales from the Courthouse” column which brings colonial history to life with true stories from court records.

Click here to download the workshop brochure.
Plan now to join us Saturday, April 19, 2008, at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ebenezer Cleaves

Fellow MGS member Jim Richard is looking for his 6th great-grandfather Ebenezer Cleaves. Ebenezer was in Danville, Maine, he then migrated to Norway Maine.

His son, Charles Cleaves was born in 1793. He too was in Norway, then moved to Abbot, Maine. He died before Sept 1862. First found in Norway Maine in 1814, married Betsy Lombard, served in Capt. Bailey Bodwell's Company, Lt. Col. Ryerson's Regt. 14-24 Sept 1814. Does any one know anything about Ebenezer and Charles and there families and/or their ancestors?

Also Charles had a brother named Humphrey Cleaves born 1789/90? Perhaps coming from Greenwood, Maine, a farmer who lived near Crooked River in West Norway, married ca. 1811 Abigail Pool, b 1790, dau. of Joshua Pool. They had a number of children.

Charles & Betsy also had children. I have the names and dates of Humphrey and Charles' children and some info about them.

If anyone has any info about Ebenezer and Charles and their families and/or ancestors, he would appreciate your getting in touch with him.

Jim Richard
4466 Holcomb St, Port Townsend WA 98368-2132
Phone: 1 (360) 379-8418

December Genealogical Events

Here's what's happening genealogically around the state for December:

December 1, 2007
Greater Portland Chapter of MGS
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
African Americans from Maine in the Civil War presented by Bob Greene

December 9, 2007
Pejepscot Genealogical Society
Brunswick, Maine
Family History and Crafting presented by Louise Colburn

December 16, 2007
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Holiday Party

December 19, 2007
Penobscot County Genealogical Society
Bangor, Maine
Open Research Night and Holiday Social

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wassebec Announces 2008 Program

Wassebec Genealogical Society, our chapter based in the Dover-Foxcroft area recently announced its program for 2008, as follows:

January 10, 2008
Tootie Bennett: Interviewing Tips
Tootie shares some tips to make learning your ancestral stories easier. If you've ever been frustrated getting a reluctant relative to talk about the family, this is the program for you.

March 13, 2008
Dale W. Mower: Finding Ancestral Treasures on E-Bay
Dale shows us how to find, bid and secure items on e-bay. This illustrated program will unlock the mysteries of e-bay and show you the types of items that may help with your family story.

March 15, 2008
Beginning Genealogy - Special Workshop given by Dale W. Mower at the Thompson Free Library, 9:00-12:00 a.m.

May 8, 2008
Cheryl Willis Patten: Sprucing Up Grandpa
Learn from an expert the correct way to clean and care for old cemetery tombstones. Just in time for Memorial Day!

July 10, 2008
Annual Picnic Potluck Supper
Special Program to be announced

September 11, 2008
Deborah Roberge: Maine Men at Andersonville
Debbie shares with us her research into the men from Maine who were interred in the Civil War's most infamous Confederate Prisoner of War camp in Andersonville, Georgia.

November 13, 2008
Jack Battick: Coming to America, the Immigrant Experience
We are all immigrants. Jack shows and tells us what it was like to travel the seas to America from the days of the Mayflower to the ocean liners of the 20th century.

All programs are held at 6:30 p.m. at Mayo Hospital unless otherwise announced. For further information, contact Nancy Battick at or (207) 564-3576.

You can visit Wassebec Genealogical Society on the web at

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fred Bailey Photograph

Shelley Cardiel writes:

I've "rescued" an old photograph identified as Fred Bailey which was taken at the I. S. Tapley Studio in Lewiston, Maine. The photograph appears to have been taken in the 1880's with Fred likely about 4-5 years old at the time it was taken. I am hoping to locate someone from Fred's family so that this precious old photograph can be returned to the care of family.

If you can help Shelley reunite this photo with a family member, please email her at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Emmie Taylor Photograph

Shelley Cardiel writes:

I've "rescued" an old photograph of Emmie Taylor which was taken at the Call Studio in Dexter, Maine. The photograph appears to have been taken in the 1890's or early 1900's with Emmie appearing to be in her teens at the time the photograph was taken. I am hoping to locate someone from her family so that this beautiful old photograph can be returned to the care of her family.

If you can help Shelley reunite this photo with a family member, please email her at

Sunday, November 4, 2007

U.S. National Archives and FamilySearch Team Up to Digitize and Index Mountains of Historic Documents

News release posted 23 Oct 2007 at

Landmark agreement will lead to the digitization of millions of genealogical and historical documents

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the United States and FamilySearch today announced an agreement that will lead to the digitization of millions of historical documents over time. The bulk of the digital images and related indices will be freely accessible through as well as 4,500 family history centers worldwide, or at the National Archives and its Regional Centers.

The agreement is the result of several years of discussions between the two organizations and NARA's new long-term strategy for digitizing and making available major segments of its vast collection online to the public. Ultimately, the records digitized by FamilySearch will consist of court, military, land, and other government records that include information of genealogical significance for family historians. The records date as early as 1754 to as late as the 1990s.

Almost all of the records in the National Archives currently are not readily accessible to patrons who visit the National Archives or one of its regional facilities. The newly digitized and indexed records produced under the agreement will be available online—greatly increasing patron access.

"For a number of years, we have had a very productive relationship with FamilySearch," said Professor Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States. "This agreement expands our relationship to enable online access to some of the most popular and voluminous records in our holdings. It is an exciting step forward for our institutions and for the American people," he added.

Under the new agreement, FamilySearch will be operating highly specialized digital cameras 5 days a week at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. FamilySearch intends to extend the digitization services to select regional facilities at a later date. That means there will be a continuous flow of new data for genealogy buffs to explore for years to come. It also means FamilySearch will be able to digitize the thousands of microfilms it has already created from NARA's holdings—providing access to millions of images for genealogists to search from the convenience of their home computers with Internet access.

The first fruit of this effort is a portion of a very large collection of Civil War records, already underway. In this pilot project, FamilySearch will digitize the first 3,150 Civil War widow pension application files (approximately 500,000 pages). After digitization, these historical documents will be indexed and posted online by with the indices also available for free on FamilySearch intends to do all 1,280,000 of these files over the coming years.

James Hastings, director of Access Programs at the National Archives, said, "For decades the National Archives has helped thousands of researchers gain access to this rich trove of records in Washington. Thanks to this agreement with FamilySearch, this valuable information will now be available to millions of users around the world in a far more accessible format."

Wayne Metcalfe, director of FamilySearch Record Services, said, "No single group can preserve, organize, and make available all the information contained in the world's important genealogical documents—like those found in the National Archives of the United States. Such immense undertakings require the cooperation of record custodians, researchers, and specialized services. FamilySearch is committed to being an integral partner in this global effort."

FamilySearch is the largest international organization of its kind, working with national archives and record custodians worldwide to preserve and increase access to records of genealogical significance. It is currently working on projects in over 45 countries.

About the National Archives. The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique?to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

About FamilySearch. The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU)—doing business as FamilySearch—is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources; these resources may be accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark licensed to GSU and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Attention French-Canadian Descendants: Did You Inherit Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy?

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (25 Oct 2007) and is copyright 2007 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

Not only do genealogists have the opportunity to learn about their ancestors, but they can also learn about various inherited diseases. Some of these medical conditions could be life-threatening while others are merely an inconvenience. By studying inherited diseases floating around in your family, you may save or prolong your own life or the lives of your loved ones. By identifying the risks early in a person's life, medical treatment often can be much more effective than the limited choices available after the medical condition becomes obvious.

I find it interesting that one French-Canadian couple in the 1600s who are the ancestors of millions of living people have tentatively been identified as carriers of a common form of muscular dystrophy. It became more than "interesting," however, when I recognized the names of this couple as my ninth great-grandparents. Suddenly it wasn't just "interesting;" it was personal!

If you have French-Canadian ancestry, now is the time to check your pedigree charts.

Zacharie Cloutier and Saincte Dupont, who emigrated to Canada from France in 1634, may have harbored the genetic defect responsible for the majority of today's French-Canadian cases of Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD).

NOTE: Saincte Dupont's first name has been spelled in many different ways. I have seen it listed as Saincte or Sainte or Xainte or Zainte Dupont. Zacharie's name also is sometimes listed as Zacarie Cloustier. Succeeding generations have spelled the surname in many different ways and have sometimes Anglicized it as well. Zacharie Cloutier's male descendants have spelled their last names as Cary, Cluchier, Clukey, Clurkey, Cluquet, Clouter, Lapensee, Nailer, and probably other ways as well.

Zacharie Cloutier and Saincte Dupont were married in St-Jean de Mortagne, ev. Sees, Perche, France, on 18 July 1616. They set sail from the port of Dieppe in mid-April 1634, accompanied by his family. The fleet consisted of four ships under the command of Duplessis-Bochard, arriving in Québec on June 4, 1634. Zacharie Cloutier was a master carpenter and is known to have helped build the manor house of Robert Giffard at Beauport, Québec. He also worked on the parish church and on Fort Saint-Louis in Québec. We can guess that he also helped build many of the houses of that settlement.

Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy is best known for a weakness of the muscles that control the eyelids, causing droopy eyelids, a condition also known as ptosis. However, that is not the only symptom. The disease often causes a weakness of the facial muscles and pharyngeal muscles (those in the throat used for swallowing), a condition known as dysphagia. Weakness of facial and limb muscles often occurs later. Symptoms of the disease usually don't begin until the mid 40s or 50s, but can occur earlier.

A person with OPMD might have some of the symptoms, but not all. While the disease is best known for the droopy eyelids that severely narrow the field of vision, another person with the same disease might not display that symptom at all. However, a difficulty in swallowing is also quite common, even if it is not visible to others.

When muscle tissue from a person with OPMD is examined under a high-powered microscope, clumps of proteins called inclusions are seen in the muscle cell nuclei (the cellular compartments that contain the chromosomes), and bubble-like structures (vacuoles) appear in the muscle cells.

Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy is most common in French-Canadian families or families of French-Canadian descent. When the French-Canadian victims' family trees are traced, Zacharie Cloutier and Saincte Dupont always appear someplace in the pedigree charts, often in more than one place. They appear to be the only couple that is always found amongst the ancestors of every French-Canadian sufferer of OPMD. However, there's also a high incidence of OPMD among Hispanic residents of northern New Mexico. OPMD can also affect people who aren't of French-Canadian or Hispanic background although that is far less common.

If you have difficulty swallowing or if you have droopy eyelids, check your pedigree chart. If you find Zacharie Cloutier and Saincte Dupont in the family tree, you might want to mention that fact to your doctor.

For more information about OPMD, look at,,, and on a Google search at

By the way, most French-Canadians with ancestry in the greater Quebec City area can find Zacharie Cloutier and Saincte Dupont in multiple places in their pedigree charts. That is, most of these people have multiple lines of descent from this one couple.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cressey/Cressy and Mills - Castine and Glenburn

If anyone has genealogical data for the Cressey/Cressy families (Castine, Frankfort, Glenburn, etc) they can share, I am working on the family for a friend.

Also interested in Mills family of Castine and Glenburn areas.

Ron Fortier