Monday, April 28, 2008

University of Maine Yearbooks Online

Did one of your ancestors or relatives graduate from the University of Maine?

The Prism, the University of Maine’s yearbook, was published for the years 1895 to 1997. In 2004, a University of Maine yearbook with the title Dirigamus was published. No yearbooks have been published since then.

Issues of The Prism vary in content and layout, but seniors are always highlighted. Individual photographs of seniors are arranged in alphabetical order by last name (within each college), and accompanied by information about hometown, major, and fraternity or sorority. Some books also contain photos of members of other classes. Also included are sections on the faculty and administration, campus organizations, athletic teams, Greek societies, and events.

The Prism provides a fascinating peek into the history of the University and the wider world. The 1919 Prism was “Dedicated…To the absent brothers in Arms.” In the WWII years, special sections focused on servicemen, courses on welding and nursing, and defense-related campus activities. Photos of the 1906 Carnegie Library and the just-completed exterior shell of the new library building, later dedicated as the Raymond H. Fogler Library, appeared side by side in the 1944 Prism. In 1955 students armed with shovels and pickaxes gathered “to scratch a path to the Union,” which opened that year.

Yearbooks from the late 1960s on often presented multiple pages of images without any captions. Concerts in 1974 included Chicago, Canned Heat, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. In 1982, the student walkout from classes protesting the low salaries of faculty and staff is highlighted at the front. The penultimate Prism began with the statement “Yearbooks are old-fashioned”!

Although not searchable, the Prisms from 1895 - 1997 are all digitally available online to browse. To access, go to

The yearbook digitization project is sponsored by Fogler Library in partnership with the University of Maine Alumni Association. Acknowledgement of contributions to the project -- a team effort.

"The Pine Cone and Tassel" ceases publication

The following was received from Debbie Roberge, editor and publisher of "The Pine Cone and Tassel" newsletter:

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that “The Pine Cone and Tassel” will cease publication.

I want to thank the subscribers who have been with me since the beginning, many of whom I have met personally. Your cards, notes and letters over the years have kept me going. As well as your thoughts and prayers for my daughter-in-laws recovery have been appreciated as she continues (and almost over with) treatments.

But I must discontinue publication of the PCT for I, like all of you, can not keep up with the rising costs of, for example, gas to do research trips around the state and not pass it on to my subscribers.

The newsletter was started with the intention of being a reader generated newsletter with fill ins of information I found on research trips. Believe me, I really enjoyed finding the information to fill in those pages between the covers. But also with more and more information on the Internet for free, less and less people wanted to pay for a newsletter that couldn’t guarantee them the information they were looking for.

This was not the news I had promised in the last issue of Volume 5 that will also have to be discarded. I am not leaving genealogy all together, for I still have two projects out there, one on the Civil War and the other on the plantations of Maine as well as my own family history.

Thank you once again for being a part of my life and helping the PCT to grow.

With deep regrets,

Deborah E. Roberge
Editor and Publisher
The Pine Cone and Tassel

We at MGS thank Debbie for her contributions to Maine genealogical research and her efforts at publication genealogical information for a wide variety of researchers.

Civil War Lecture Series

The following announcement was received from the Garfield Camp Number 1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, out of Waterville.

Civil War Lecture Series
“It’s Not Just About the War”

Three Thursday Evenings at the Waterville Library

May 8, 2008 Base Ball During the War by Mark Rohman.
Base ball becomes baseball -- popular here in central Maine as well as among the soldiers.

May 15, 2008 Military Music by Dave McCusker.
The use of the drum for marching – where does the military music come from and where does it go?

May 22, 2008 Indians in Maine by Raney Bench of the Abbe Museum of Bar Harbor.
A look at culture and native crafts here in Maine.

All sessions start at 6:30 pm. Free admission. Bring the family!

Waterville Public Library, 73 Elm Street, Waterville, ME 04901

Sponsored by Garfield Camp Number 1, SUVCW, Waterville, Maine
Visit our national website at

For more information contact Charles McGillicuddy, 207-215-4092.

May Genealogical Events

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

May 3, 2008
Sandy River Valley Chapter
Farmington, Maine
Sarah's Journey: Retracing an Ancestor's Life with Military Pension Files presented by Dale W. Mower

May 3, 2008
Greater Portland Chapter of MGS
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
New England Research Strategies presented by Carol McCoy

May 4, 2008
Pejepscot Genealogical Society
Brunswick, Maine
Computer Genealogy presented by Dale W. Mower

May 8, 2008
Wassebec Genealogical Society
Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Sprucing Up Grandpa presented by Cheryl Willis Patten

May 17, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Monthly Workshop - The Master Genealogist

May 17, 2008
Maine Genealogical Society Executive Committee Meeting
Waterville, Maine
Members welcome, if interested, please contact Dale W. Mower

May 17, 2008
Maine Old Cemetery Association
Belgrade, Maine

May 18, 2008
Taconnett Falls Chapter of MGS
Winslow, Maine
Sprucing Up Grandpa presented by Cheryl Willis Patten

May 21, 2008
Penobscot County Genealogical Society
Bangor, Maine
Open Discussion of Brick Walls & Other Questions

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Historical French-Canadian Names Online: Drouin Collection

Maine Genealogical Society does not endorse paid subscription sites, but thought many of our members having French-Canadian ancestry might be interested in this news.

346 Years of Quebec Vital Records Searchable Online for the First Time – Largest Collection

MONTREAL, QC, Canada’s leading family history website, today announced the online launch of the fully searchable indexes for the historic Drouin Collection, which contains Quebec records spanning 346 years from 1621 to 1967. Starting with 29 million names for the years 1850 to 1967, the indexes will include 37 million names in baptism, marriage and burial records, and also a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states, when complete in mid-2008.

Included in The Drouin Collection are the ancestors of some of Canada’s most famous French-Canadians and Quebeckers such as Pierre Trudeau, William Shatner, John Labatt and Henri and Maurice Richard. (original images available)

Family history enthusiasts can also trace their lineage back to the founding families of Quebec and Acadia, which includes that of Zacharie Cloutier, a common ancestor of distant cousins Celine Dion, Madonna and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. (Cloutier family tree / original images available)

From the early 1600s, the Catholic parishes of Quebec kept meticulous records of their members’ baptisms, marriages and burials. The Quebec Government soon required the Catholic Church to provide it with copies of all its records and in doing so became the central holder for Quebec’s vital records.

In 1899 a lawyer named Joseph Drouin founded The Drouin Genealogical Institute, using Quebec’s vital records to research and sell family genealogies. His son Gabriel assumed stewardship in 1938, dedicating himself to microfilming and indexing Quebec’s vital records; this important work formed what became the Institute’s principal reference collection.

The collection remained the property of the Institute until Gabriel’s death in 1980, after which it was sold to the genealogist Jean-Pierre Pepin who created The Drouin Institute, which was dedicated to preserving the collection intact and in Quebec. Recognising its historical significance, secured the right to host the collection online. It launched the original images – more than 12 million in total – in 2007, and in partnership with The University of Montreal has now indexed the collection to make it searchable online for the first time.
The Drouin Collection can be searched in French or English language by name, date, place, church or institution, and religion. senior vice president Josh Hanna comments: “As an estimated five million Canadians have French ancestry, The Drouin Collection is of huge national relevance, and especially to French-Canadian family history researchers.”

“It is important that the exceptional work of Joseph and Gabriel Drouin be made widely available for all to use and enjoy, whether they be French-Canadian family history enthusiasts or those from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world with French-Canadian cousins.” user Gail Mamers comments: “One piece of critical information that I discovered through The Drouin Collection on is that my grandparents were married, something that was not confirmed before this.”

“My aunt was so happy to hear this information that she cried. Having the Collection indexed will allow more people to make interesting discoveries about their own past because it will take a fraction of the time and effort.” user Desmond Ireland comments: “I have studied genealogy for more than a decade and by indexing this incredible collection of records, has enabled me to search more easily and effectively for my family history. They’ve taken genealogical research out of the library and brought it to my personal computer.”

* At launch the indexes will contain 29 million searchable names. The remaining eight million names will be live on by mid-2008.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Taconnett Falls Genealogy Fair - June 14

Three special presentations will be highlights at the Taconnett Falls Genealogy Society’s 5th Annual Genealogy Fair on June 14. Activities begin at 9 a.m. at the society’s library, 10 Lithgow Street, Winslow, with registration and lunch at the Winslow Congregational Church next door. There is no charge for the fair. Drinks, snacks, and lunch will be available for a small charge.

For beginning genealogists and family historians, Sarah M. Crockett, Lincoln, ME, will present “The Journey into Genealogy: a GPS for Finding Your Ancestors.” This session begins at 10 a.m. in the library’s basement.

At 11:30 a.m. Jerry Gower, Maine First Families 1790’s contributor and Washington County expert, and Janet Weymouth, MGS 1st Vice president and Corresponding Secretary, will discuss ”Brick Walls” in a panel.

During the afternoon Jerry Gower will conduct an “Ancestors’ Road Show,” several 15 minute sessions of one on one help and advice. For this special program you must sign up for a time spot when you register. First come; first served.

The church will be full of display tables from vendors across Maine. The library will be open all day with free access to the myriad records and access to a copy machine for a small donation. Undoubtedly there will be a few Flag Day surprises to attract attention, so what have you got to loose? Come on down to Winslow and enjoy a day looking for ancestors right beside the Kennebec River.

For more information, visit

Courthouse Research A Great Success!

"Two thumbs up on the workshop!"

"Diane gave an informative and interesting presentation. We purchased both her books and look forward to delving into them. The meal provided by the Civic Center was very good! MGS did a great job in organizing the event -- it went very smoothly. Thanks to everyone for their efforts in providing this wonderful workshop."

Here are some images compliments of Janice Gower:

Maine Archives Launches Online Store

AUGUSTA – Joshua Chamberlain’s report on the Battle of Gettysburg, a life-size replica of Maine’s Constitution, and a map of the Province of Maine before the Aroostook War are among the replica items now available through the on-line store of the Maine State Archives. "Enhancing access to some of Maine’s most beloved treasures has been a long-time goal," Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said. "Now people everywhere can appreciate unique pieces of Maine history."

The on-line store ( ) was officially launched at the State House on March 17, and features a large variety of items, including photographs, maps, letters, documents, and trademarks. "The store makes it possible for anyone with an interest in Maine, its history and its beauty, to enjoy and own something special," State Archivist David Cheever said.

One exciting feature of the online store is the availability of custom printed reproductions of archive holdings, according to Nicole Ladner, Director of Special Projects for the Department of the Secretary of State. "The Archives is home to an amazing array of maps, photographs, prints, and even trademark designs from Maine-made products from days gone by. Now those holdings can become part of your own home, business or office."

The launch of the Archives on-line store was timed to occur near Maine Day, March 15. Maine Day marks the anniversary of Maine’s entrance into the Union as the 23rd State, as a result of the Missouri Compromise that balanced slave and free states. "Through the use of modern technology, we can replicate the actual letter admitting Maine as a State, signed by James Monroe, and make that available to history buffs, teachers, or just people who are looking for items that are unique and project the qualities and history of Maine," Cheever said.

The Archives holds more than 6,000 maps, nearly 10,000 trademarks, and more than 5,000 photographs – plus innumerable documents that help tell the story of Maine. "The launch of the on-line store is only the beginning. Making these items available for people everywhere is an exciting prospect," Dunlap said.

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 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.