Sunday, March 30, 2008

April Genealogical Events

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

April 5, 2008
Greater Portland Chapter of MGS
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Grandma's Obituary Box presented by Pam Stone Eagleson, CG

April 13, 2008
Pejepscot Genealogical Society
Brunswick, Maine
Lisbon Historical Society presented by Al & Dorothy Smith and Bill Barr

April 16, 2008
Penobscot County Genealogical Society
Bangor, Maine
Cousins Explained presented by Roxanne Moore Saucier

April 19, 2008
Finding Your Ancestors in Court Records
with Diane Rapaport
Maine Genealogical Society's One-Day Workshop
Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
For more information, visit

April 19, 2008
Hancock County Genealogical Society
Ellsworth, Maine
Program To Be Announced

April 19, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Monthly Workshop - The Master Genealogist

April 20, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Organization Strategies presented by Carolyn Browne and Janet Weymouth

April 28, 2008
Aroostook County Genealogical Society
Caribou, Maine
CD of the MOCA Gravestone Repair Workshop of 7 Oct 2006 in Westbrook

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

William Howard Jones and Greeley Institute

Member Lowry Drinkwater writes:

I have been in contact with Janet [Weymouth, MGS Vice-President] and many others in an effort to determine the parents and genealogy of my g-grandfather William Howard Jones. From what I have been able to find out, he was born in 1861 in Maine. The town of his birth (according to his death notice) appears to have been Windham, Maine, but as their vital records for the period are missing, I have been unable to determine his parents, grandparents, etc. There is also marriage record in Yarmouth Maine showing his marriage to my great grandmother Jennie Groves. This record indicates that he came from another town, not Windham, and there are no records for him there either.

My query centers on Greeley Institute. It is my understanding from my grandmother (his daughter) that he graduated from Greeley sometime between 1871 and 1881. I am trying to locate the graduation records of this school in the hopes that they might help me forward my search. I have tried several sources including the Maine Historical Society, the Cumberland Historical Society, the Yarmouth Historical Society, and others. All of these contacts proved fruitless.

If someone out there might know where these records are, Lowry would love to hear from you.

His email address is

Americans Lack Family History Knowledge

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2008 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

A survey conducted a few months ago by The Generations Network reports that few Americans know very much about their family trees. Among other facts, the survey discovered that:

  • One-third of Americans cannot name any of their great-grandparents.
  • Half of Americans know the name of only one or none of their great-grandparents.
  • Six out of ten Americans do not know both of their grandmothers' maiden names.
  • Twenty-two percent of Americans don't know what either of their grandfathers do or did for a living.
  • Although America is known as a nation of immigrants, 27 percent don't know where their family lived before they came to America.

Is this a problem or an opportunity? Commissioned by and conducted by zOmnibus Survey, the survey does make some positive statements. For one, the survey reports that 83 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds are interested in learning their family history. Following closely are the 35- to 54-year-olds at 77 percent and Americans aged 55+ at 73 percent. It strikes me that there are millions of Americans who have at least a casual interest in their family trees but have no idea how to get started. I am particularly impressed that younger Americans reportedly are more likely to be interested in their ancestry than are senior citizens. That is the reverse of what I would have expected.

This is an opportunity for commercial companies and non-profit societies alike. A potential marketplace exists. The biggest difficulty is in identifying that audience and reaching them. Traditional advertising methods are prohibitively expensive. What we need is "grass roots" advertising. That's where you come in.

In your casual conversations with non-genealogists, you might ask a few questions: Where does your family come from? What did your grandparents do for a living? How about your great-grandparents? Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family? Can you remember any family stories that were told to you as a child? Do you believe those stories are accurate? Did your family have any memorable holiday or other traditions that were passed down from previous generations?

Of course, when the other person says, "I don't know," you should be ready to step in with a few suggestions of good books for beginners, the address and meeting dates of a local genealogy society, and perhaps a few web sites of genealogy interest. Hey, send them to THIS web site!
If you and every other genealogist in this country can start "spreading the word," we can greatly increase the percentage of Americans who do know about their roots.

You can read more about the survey at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Death of Christopher Dere

It is with sadness that I announce the death of Christopher Dere, husband of long-time MGS Executive Committee member Flossie Dere. I know Flossie is well-known to many of our members through her years of dedication to the society. Our thoughts and prayers are with her in this time of sorrow.

To view Mr. Dere's obituary, visit

Family and friends are invited to call from 2 to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 16, at the Wiles Remembrance Center, 136 High St. Wilton. Interment will be in the spring at Lakeview Cemetery in Wilton. Gifts may be given in Mr. Dere's memory to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312. Words of condolence may be sent to