Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cumberland County Deeds Indexing Project

Carol McCoy, president of The Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society writes that their current project is indexing the Cumberland County Deeds covering 1760 to 1796. Carol is the project manager with assistance from Joe Anderson, MGS Publications Director, and the GPC Board of Directors. To date over 15 people are working on the project. Still, more help is always welcome.

The goal is to create a user-friendly, searchable CD index of Volumes 1-25 of Cumberland County Deeds for the period 1760-1796, and the hope is to create an MGS Special Publication which will be a valuable research tool that people can use from their homes to determine deeds that are relevant to their research.

Cumberland County was formed from York County in 1760 and included a much larger area, some of which later became Oxford, Androscoggin, Franklin and other counties. Deeds are an especially important research tool particularly when the early probate records for Cumberland County were lost in various fires.

The current index makes it difficult to tell if the deeds in the index relate to your person. Currently researchers must either look through 13 microfilms of the Cumberland County Deed Index or look through 34 Index Volumes for the period 1760-1870 at the Cumberland County Courthouse to identify names of grantors and grantees, volume and page number. There is no indication of the time when the deed was signed and recorded or of the location in Cumberland County; people must look at deed books for this information.

The new index will include all grantors, grantees, location, date of signing and recording of deed, volume, initial page. This will make valuable contribution to genealogical research in Maine.

WE NEED YOU!! The Portland Chapter is looking for volunteers to collect the data. The project will be completed in two phases:

1.) Phase I will involve copying down the grantors (and related grantees) along with the volumes and page numbers. As of April 20th we have completed 9 of 34 volumes or 26% of this phase. We still need help with this part of the project. Please visit http://www.gpcmgs.org/ to see which of the 34 volumes need volunteers.

2) Phase II will involve looking at the original deed books to identify all the grantors and grantees, the location of the property or transaction, the year the deed was signed and the year it was registered. Our index will include wives who sign to release their right of dower even if they are not named as grantors in the current index. This will be a big help for people.

Pam Lovely, Cumberland County Registrar of Deeds, has given permission for people to use the original deed books, which are larger and easier to read than the current reduced volumes available to the public.

You can download forms to use in collecting the data as well as the Excel spreadsheet from the GPC web site (or here Dale if you include it.) To see a presentation which gives an overview of the project, please click here. Please contact Carol P. McCoy if you are interested in helping. She is coordinating who is working on which of the index volumes. Forms to use for Data CollectionYou will need the following forms to record the data from the Cumberland County Deed Index Books. First page for data input to create initial index. You'll need to print one of these. All subsequent pages for data input to create initial index. You'll need to print several of these, depending on how many names are in your volume. Spreadsheet for computer input. Save this Excel file to your laptop, and use it if you want to input the data directly to your laptop. You will need to have Microsoft Excel software already installed on your computer in order to use this file.

Map 1871 - Plan of Cumberland County Maine
County map - State of Maine
Here's a short sample of what the completed index will look like.

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