Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Maine Genealogist - August 2008

Joseph C. Anderson II, FASG, Editor of The Maine Genealogist reports:

"This issue of The Maine Genealogist proves once again that some of the most valuable genealogical information does not come from standard sources. Censuses and vital records are the basic building blocks of genealogy, but they rarely tell us anything about the quality of life or personalities of the people we are investigating. If we want to learn what it was like to walk in our ancestors' shoes, we need to find records that provide insight into the personal challenges and circumstances that our ancestors faced.

"Nathan Barlow is familiar to all Maine schoolchildren as one of the Liberty Men who resisted the Great Proprietors in the early nineteenth century, but little else has been written about him. Author O'Flaherty has compiled a detailed account of Nathan's life and family, with some of the most illuminating facts being gleaned from unusual sources including: an eyewitness account written by a neighbor describing a particularly defining moment in Nathan's life, a criminal case heard by the Kennebec County Supreme Judicial Court, and the records of the Charlestown [Mass.] State Prison. She has woven the information into a story of a life marked by zealotry, financial difficulties, misdeeds, and ultimately tragedy.

"Authors Smith and Battick describe their frustration in tracking Emily Woodman, who seemed to have disappeared from the records shortly after her marriage. The eventual discovery of a divorce petition provided many of the facts they were seeking and offered the added benefit of a firsthand account of the suffering Emily endured in her marriage. Additional research uncovered a three-generation cycle of early marriage and divorce in Emily's family, with the divorce records offering poignant details of these people's lives not found anywhere else.

"Finally, who would think to look at the records of the United States Consulate at Bremen, Germany, for personal facts about our Maine ancestors? Dr. Kenneth Heger, director of the Family History Program at the National Archives, gives the example of a document found among those records which lists the ages and physical descriptions of a group of Maine sailors in 1841."

So what's the total lineup for the August 2008 issue of The Maine Genealogist?

Nathan Barlow (1776-1816) of Freedom, Maine By Ellen J. O'Flaherty

The Crew of the Barque Edinburgh: April - June 1841 By Kenneth W. Heger

Finding Hidden Gold in Divorce Records: The Search for Emily Woodman of Newport, Maine By Peter M. Smith and Nancy C. Battick

Bible Records of the Smiley Family of Sidney, Maine Contributed By Stephen L. Robbins

Portland, Maine, Marriage Intentions, Volume 4, 1814-1837 (continued) Copied By Joseph C. Anderson II

The Maine Genealogist is published quarterly. For more information, visit our website at

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