Sunday, February 24, 2008

Winter in Maine

For those not here in the state enjoying our weather, here's a reminder of why we love Maine!

Thanks go out to Janice Gower for capturing this shot last week and sharing it!

March Genealogical Events

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

March 1, 2008
Greater Portland Chapter of MGS
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Scottish Prisoners Brought to America in the 1650s presented by Bruce Tucker

March 9, 2008
Pejepscot Genealogical Society
Brunswick, Maine
Women's History Walk presented by Nikki Strandskov

March 13, 2008
Wassebec Genealogical Society
Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Finding Ancestral Treasures on Ebay presented by Dale W. Mower

March 15, 2008
Hancock County Genealogical Society
Ellsworth, Maine
Program To Be Announced

March 15, 2008
Wassebec Genealogical Society
Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Beginning Genealogy, A Special Workshop presented by Dale W. Mower

March 15, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Monthly Workshop - The Master Genealogist

March 16, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Show & Tell because it's fun to share!

March 19, 2008
Penobscot County Genealogical Society
Bangor, Maine
Bangor's Historic Devil's Half Acre presented by Michelle Thomas

March 24, 2008
Aroostook County Genealogical Society
Caribou, Maine
Old Medical Terminology facilitated by Brenda Bourgoine

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Index to the Maine Seine and the Maine Genealogist

A second edition of the every-name Index to the Maine Seine and the Maine Genealogist has been produced on CD. The first edition, published in book form in 1999, covered volumes 1-20 of the journal. This second edition covers volumes 1-29 and includes over 96,000 index entries, bringing all of the names in all of the articles to the researcher's fingertips.

The MGS member price of the CD is $28.50 - a $6.00 reduction from the retail price - and may be ordered from Picton Press.

For more information, visit our website at

The Maine Genealogist - February 2008

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

The Maine Genealogical Society is pleased to present this first issue for 2008 of The Maine Genealogist. Although it has undergone a number of name and editorial changes over the years, the Society has now published its genealogical journal for thirty years - a major milestone for a small society. In this issue we offer a variety of material, including new compiled studies of two Maine families, a valuable Bible record, the first installment of a series transcribing the early Portland marriage intentions, and reviews of recent publications.

Readers familiar with the famous diary of Martha Ballard will be interested to learn about Martha's brother-in-law, Dr. Stephen Barton, a medical doctor who practiced his profession in Vassalboro at the same time that Martha was midwifing in Hallowell. Dr. Barton's account book provides an illuminating glimpse into the practices of a country doctor in the latter part of the eighteenth century. It is also noteworthy that Dr. Barton has the distinction of being the grandfather of nurse Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. And those of us familiar with common Maine surnames may not recognize Lincolnlue as one of those. In his article, author Nasman shows that the three Lincolnlue sisters of Bowdoin were the progenitors of at least 120 descendants in the first two generations alone.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak to Speak at 2008 Conference

We are pleased to announce that our featured speaker will be nationally acclaimed genealogical lecturer Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, who will be discussing the role of genetics in genealogy with two separate sessions - Trace Your Roots with DNA and Beyond Y-DNA: Your Genetic Genealogy Options.

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, that's her real name), author of Honoring Our Ancestors: Inspiring Stories of the Quest for Our Roots, In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection in Rediscovering Our Family History, and They Came to America: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors, has been an avid genealogist since the 6th grade and is skilled in many aspects of family history research.

Megan is honored to serve as Chief Family Historian and North American spokesperson for, the largest genealogical company in the world. She is also co-founder of Roots Television, a pioneering and popular online channel of genealogy and history-oriented programming. Among the many shows available for viewing is the New York City press conference about Annie Moore, where Megan corrected history by revealing the true story of the first immigrant through Ellis Island. This story was featured on the front page of The New York Times and in a variety of other publications, such as the Irish Echo, Time for Kids, and The Wall Street Journal. The story was also covered by NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS's Out of Ireland, and numerous other TV and radio shows. More recently, she made another interesting Irish connection when she traced a branch of Barack Obama’s family to Moneygall in County Offaly.

Megan also made news when she discovered a startling connection when requested by Austin Fenner of the New York Daily News to research the roots of Rev. Al Sharpton. Much to her astonishment, she learned that Rev. Sharpton's great-grandfather had been owned by relatives of Strom Thurmond. After she walked him through his family tree, she traveled with him to Edgefield, SC to see first-hand the plantation and slave quarters (still standing) where his family had lived and the slave cemetery where some of his family is likely buried.

Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree, her latest book (co-authored with Ann Turner, M.D.), has been featured in Newsweek, The New York Times, on NPR, and in the Book of the Month Club. If you're interested in learning more about the fascinating topic of genetic genealogy, please visit Megan's sister site,

Megan has appeared on Good Morning America (featured in roots segments on Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion), the Today Show, CNN, BBC Breakfast, Ancestors, TimeWatch, NPR, BBC Radio and a number of local television and radio shows, and has spoken at the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Who Do You Think You Are LIVE! and numerous other genealogical, historical, military, ethnic and literary events (21 states, Washington, D.C., England, Canada and Mexico so far!). As lead researcher for the PBS Ancestors series, she delved into over 5,000 genealogical stories and developed much of the content for the companion website. She has subsequently consulted for other television programs, including They Came to America and African American Lives for PBS, and BBC’s Timewatch (regarding the identification of sailors’ remains recovered from the USS Monitor). Since 2000,

Megan has also been a consultant with the U.S. Army's Repatriation project to trace families of servicemen killed or MIA in Korea, WWII and Vietnam. The intent is to develop a DNA-database from relatives' blood samples so that remains that are now being repatriated can be identified and interred. She has supported this and more than 75 other genealogical initiatives through her Honoring Our Ancestors Grants Program.

Recipient of International Society of Family History Writers and Editors awards in 2003, 2004 and 2005, Megan has written articles for Ancestry, Ancestry Daily News, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine, Genealogical Computing, Heritage Quest, NGS NewsMagazine, Everton's Family History Magazine and APG Quarterly. She's a former board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and is also delighted to be the 2004-2005 winner of the Bo Peep Award, given by the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists to those who have "contributed significantly to the betterment of the community of historical and genealogical researchers."

Formerly an international marketing consultant, she has traveled to more than 70 countries and holds a BSFS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, MBA in International Business from George Washington University and MAS in Information Technology from Johns Hopkins University.

For More Information about the 2008 Conference, visit

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Vital Records of Waldoboro, Maine

Maine Genealogical Society Special Publication No. 54 is now available! The Vital Records of Waldoboro, Maine has been compiled and edited by Marlene A. Groves.

The town of Waldoboro was settled around the mid-1700s with families from the Pemaquid area as well as German families induced to the area by General Waldo. Later, more settlers arrived from the Massachusetts area. Although there are vital records in the original town record books, there appears to be a definite lack of early births in relation to the proportion. Because of this, it was decided to add in an addendum to this book as many other primary source records as possible to fill these gaps. Consequently, included in this book are several pages from family Bibles as well as early church records for the Waldoboro Congregational Church, the First Baptist Church and the Waldoboro Methodist Church.

If you are researching ancestors in this region, this book should be in your library.

672 pages, 26,937 entry Every Name Index, hard cover. 2008. The book sells for $67.50, but MGS members pay only $57.50!

For more info and price, or to place an order, please click the following link:

Membership number required to receive the MGS member discount.

Friday, February 1, 2008

FamilySearch Indexing - You Can Help!

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter 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

Tens of millions of records are now available to genealogists. Many of these records are available online and even millions more are available only on microfilm. Unfortunately, many of these records have never been indexed.

How can you find information that is available to you? The task is not easy today. However, a project organized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will produce millions of indexed records within the next few years. In fact, the Church's vision is to provide computerized indexes to millions of rolls of microfilmed records held in the Granite Mountain Vault near Salt Lake City.

The indexing project is simple in concept: volunteers extract family history information from digital images of historical documents to create searchable indexes that assist everyone in finding their ancestors. The complexity arises only when one begins to consider the size of this project: thousands of volunteers indexing millions of records.

The volunteers involved include Mormons and non-Mormons alike. In fact, perhaps you would like to volunteer right now. You can perform indexing within 30 minutes after reading these words. The process is easy and your efforts may help thousands of genealogists. Your efforts may even help in your own research efforts. All you need is a Windows or Macintosh computer, an Internet connection and a bit of available time.

The indexing process is simple. First, you sign up as a volunteer. The process asks for your name, mailing address and e-mail address. There is no obligation and you will not receive "spam-like" e-mail messages as a result. You may contribute as much or as little time as you wish; there is no long-term obligation. You do not have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in order to participate.

Next, you download a bit of software that is then installed on your computer. The installation process is simple; follow the on-screen instructions. The software is available for Macintosh OS X version 10.4.5 or later operating system (with either a G4 or an Intel processor) or for Windows XP Home or Professional as well as for Windows Vista. With either Windows or Macintosh, you will need 512 megabytes or more of memory. A broadband (cable, DSL, satellite or fiber optic) connection is recommended.

Once the software is installed, you connect to the www.FamilySearchIndexing web site, download a page of original records and then use the software to create an index. The process is actually very easy; almost no computer expertise is required. If you already know how to surf the web, you can probably learn to index records within a very few minutes. The process is similar, although not identical. Online tutorials and built-in HELP files also are available to explain the details. Projects are divided into small sections such as one page of a census enumeration or one page of a marriage record book.

The image to be indexed will be stored in your computer. The image probably was scanned from a reel of microfilm. Readability will vary although most of the images I have seen are quite readable. As you enter data that see on your screen, the software will guide you through each data field to be extracted. For instance, birth records will typically ask for the parents' names, as well the name of the child, the date and place of birth and other bits of information. Extraction of tax records may ask for a dollar amount as well as date, the name(s) of the taxpayer(s) and more. In each case, you do not need to know ahead of time which bits of data are to be indexed; the software will automatically guide you through each record.

To see a typical screen display of an indexing project in operation, look at You will note the original image is displayed in the upper part of the computer screen while the new information is entered in the lower part of the screen. There is never a need to print any records on your own printer.

You do not need to be connected to the Internet all the time. You can log on, download a page, and then log off. You then index the page at your convenience. At some future time, you will need to connect to the Internet again and send your results to the FamilySearchIndexing servers. Many people are indexing records while riding commuter trains, on airline trips, or otherwise utilizing what would have been "wasted time."

As an indexer, you will also be prompted for information in order to save time. The first time you enter a word or name, you will need to type the entire word. On later entries, your entries will be compared to data you entered previously. For instance, if the original record says "Ireland," as you type the first few letters of that country's name, then remainder of the word will automatically be filled in. If you choose to accept the word, you click the name. The result can save a lot of keystrokes and therefore speed up the indexing process dramatically.

Of course, if the word is something other than "Ireland," you can enter the complete, new name. The same process works for surnames; if you have already entered the name "Eastman" once, you do not need to re-enter the entire name again and again.

Indexing a complete page typically requires 30 to 60 minutes. You can perform all that in one sitting or else break it up into multiple sessions as fits your available time. Once completed, you click on "Submit a Batch" and all your new data is then transferred to the FamilySearchIndexing servers and (optionally) a new page is downloaded to your computer. If you do not complete indexing of a page within a few days, due to vacations, illness, or some other interruption, the same page is assigned to another indexer. No records will ever be skipped.

Each page is actually indexed twice, once by you and once by some other volunteer whom you likely will never meet. Once both of you have sent your information back to the FamilySearchIndexing servers, the two results are compared electronically. If your data exactly matches the data extracted by the other volunteer, the information is then permanently stored and will become available at a future date as an index, visible to all. If any bit of your data disagrees with that of the other volunteer indexer, the individual record(s) that disagree are then sent to an "arbitrator," a highly-experienced indexer who specializes in difficult-to-read records. He or she then makes a determination as to which indexer is correct, if any. In fact, he or she could even enter a third entry, if necessary. The results of the arbitrator are accepted as final. The arbitrator might enter the information as [unreadable] or [illegible] as appropriate.

The process is simple and any efforts you can offer can help hundreds, perhaps thousands, of future genealogists. I cannot think of a better way to volunteer a bit of your time.

A list of all the current indexing projects may be found at Future projects already planned are listed at

To volunteer, go online to Fill out and submit the form. You will soon receive an e-mail from FamilySearch Indexing that will get you started. To learn more about the process, click on the "help” tab at the top of the screen and view the tutorial.

New Assistant Membership Secretary Announced

Celeste Hyer, our membership secretary, says that renewal time is always a busy, busy time.

So busy in fact, that she sent this photo of her new assistant, "MGS Mattie." She's a great help in counting each sheet as it rolls off the printer.

Did Mattie see your name this year? If you haven't joined or renewed, you can download an application at

Celebrate Deacon John Leavitt’s 400th Birthday

John Leavitt was born 1608 and came to America in 1628, settling in Hingham Massachusetts . His descendants today are concentrated all over New England, but also spread across the US and Canada . The National Association of Leavitt Families will be celebrating his birthday in Hingham Mass June 26-28, 2008. The main celebration will be Saturday June 28 for one-day attendees, with extra social events and a Plimouth Plantation tour on Thursday and Friday. Registration deadlines for tours and discount hotels are in May, so register early. You may register or receive further info as of Jan 1 at our website or call/ email Roland Rhoades (MGS #1151) 207-892-0923 for our free Leavitt e-newsletter.

John Leavitt had a number of sons with descendants in Maine . The son Israel Leavitt branch has many descendants who settled in Turner, Richmond , Bowdoin, Topsham , New Brunswick and Maine border areas. The Samuel branch has descendants who settled in Bangor , Lincoln , Orono, Kenduskeag. The Nehemiah branch covers most of Maine, with most of the towns in Somerset County especially Athens, Ripley, Cambridge, Skowhegan, Fairfield, and Harmony; Parkman and Willimantic in Piscataquis County; Montville and Jackson in Lincoln/Waldo County; much of Aroostook County especially Sherman, Smyrna, Island Falls, Hodgdon, Mesardis, Littleton, Monticello, Benedicta; Penobscot County towns of Medway, Bangor, Howland, Lincoln, Corinna, Exeter, and more; and other towns including Livermore, Alfred, Parsonsfield, Gray, New Gloucester, Raymond. Most of the Kittery to Portland area is the Thomas Leavitt branch. Our other Leavitt branches cover most of the rest of Maine . Contact Roland for a free lookup of your Leavitts. We find horrendous errors in websites and books. We are computerizing more and more records as we prepare to publish new corrected and documented Leavitt genealogies.