Sunday, March 21, 2010

Meaty Bones

That is the subject at the April 3rd meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter of MGS.

Our vital records research uncovers names, dates and places. But that's only the skeleton of our ancestors. Newspapers can put meat on those bones, and it's becoming easier than ever to look at our past.

This talk will be given by our own Bob Greene. A native of Portland, ME, he joined The Associated Press in Kansas City in 1965. He covered riots in Omaha, NE, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta, GA. He transferred to Milwaukee, WI, in 1968 and to Washington, DC, in 1971. Two years later, he was named correspondent in Portland, ME, before transferring to NY Sports where, in 1980, he was named AP Tennis Writer. He retired in 2001 and the following year moved to South Portland. Besides writing the first book on African Americans in Maine to be published, Greene also contributed to “Maine’s Visible Black History”; teaches an OLLI course on Black History in Maine at the University of Southern Maine; chairs the board of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at USM; is on the board of directors of the Maine Philanthropy Center, the Maine Historical Society and the Maine Freedom Trails; and lectures frequently on the Underground Railroad and Blacks in the military. As a genealogist, he has traced his family back to the 1700s in Maine. He continues to cover and write about tennis as well as genealogy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010
29 Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Click here for for more information

Family History Library Classes Now Available on Internet

Free Classes Make Genealogy Expertise Accessible Anywhere

SALT LAKE CITY—It is rare that Marcia Covington can make the trip from her home in State College, Pennsylvania, to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, however, people like Covington can take classes from the world-famous library without ever leaving home.

The FamilySearch Family History Library is now making its popular classes available at, where anyone anywhere in the world can access them for free at a time that is convenient for them. The classes have been offered on-site in Salt Lake City for years. Until now, attendance has been limited to those patrons who are fortunate to live in the surrounding community or happen to be visiting the library as part of a research trip. Making the classes available online allows access to many more patrons.

“Most people do family history whenever they can fit it in their busy lives, on evenings, holidays, weekends, and so forth. Whether you are a beginner or experienced researcher, you can choose subjects of interest to you from the available classes and watch them anytime and anywhere,” said FamilySearch Community Services Manager Diane Loosle.

The online classes are a great complement to the free personal research assistance the Family History Library offers to its patrons in Utah and through its family history centers worldwide. According to Loosle, the free online classes are one part of the growing number of tools FamilySearch is building for its online patrons. That is great news to people like Covington.

“Very few people have the opportunity to come to Salt Lake City, but these classes give me the same access at home as I can get in Utah,” Covington said. “Our distances here are pretty long, and for some people it is a 40-minute drive to the nearest family history center. These classes make it possible to get training in your home whenever you want, and it is so nice that it is free.”

There are currently 23 Family History Library classes available online, with subjects ranging from European research to United States military records. The most popular offerings are the Beginning Research Series for Ireland and England and a class on descendancy research.

The classes vary in length from 6 to 58 minutes, with most lasting about 25 minutes. The format of the class varies, depending on the content being presented. One type of class shows a video that alternates between the teacher and the PowerPoint slides. Another kind of class integrates video of the presenter, the accompanying PowerPoint slides, and links to supplemental materials all in one screen.

Several of the classes are interactive, such as a course on reading German handwriting. In these classes, the teacher is represented with still photographs and audio narration, and the student can actively participate in learning activities, such as matching English and German characters or transcribing selected words from a document. As a student types, the correct text appears in green and incorrect answers appear in red, providing immediate feedback.

FamilySearch is continually adding new online offerings; classes on how to read English handwritten records are currently in development. All of the classes can be accessed on by clicking on Free Online Classes on the home page.

Paul Nauta
FamilySearch Public Affairs Manager

Co-Author Needed for Lord Family of Kittery

MGS Member Kenneth Freeman Mosman is looking for someone with an interest in Maine / New Hampshire genealogy who would be interested in working with him on the Lord Family of Kittery to 1790.

He already has lots of data. Please contact him to exchange ideas and interests.


Query Help Offered

Roland Rhoades, UCG (uncertified genealogist)
10 Blackberry Lane - Gorham ME 04038
Visit his Maine Families Website at: www.

Life Member: Maine Old Cemeteries Assn & National Assn of Leavitt Families,
Maine Genealogical Society #1151 - Essex Society of Genealogists #412
Reynolds Family Assn. - French Family Assn. - Mayflower Society - and others

Digging up Ancestors since 1930 - offers free help on the topics below:

Specializing in every-name Maine families, with photos, including:
Joseph LEAVITT Family of Montville 1800, Lincoln, Aroostook & Cambridge ME
John MORGRAGE-MORGRIDGE of Kittery Me c 1650
RHOADES Family of Lynn MA c 1630, to Dedham & Pelham MA, to Antrim, Deering, & Alexandria NH, to Winslow, Troy & Gardiner ME 1810
FLAGG Family of Mason NH 1776 to Northport & Belmont ME area 1800
SAFFORD Family of Washington NH 1776 to Dexter ME 1800
STINNEFORD Family of Wells ME 1800, to points north in Maine
Boardway-Boadway-Boudway-Budway (Beaudoin of Quebec to Orono ME 1852)

Cambridge Maine & Somerset County Bicentennial webpages
Maine Cemetery Pages with Photos

"Tell me what you know and I'll tell you what I know."

Query - Meserve(y)

Need info re: George Lyman MESERVEY, born in Maine ca. 1835, supposedly son of Clement and Sarah (DEERING) MESERVEY.

Also need parents of Clement and Sarah.

Jean Savage
73 Stagecoach Road, Stockton Springs ME 04981

LD 1781 Update

Helen Shaw advises that the amendment has not been posted to the LD 1781 website and the bill is not on the house agenda for tomorrow, March 22nd. It appears the agendas are posted a day in advance.

If anyone else wants to follow this, the link is:

Open Vital Records

Below are two links to research papers discussing the link of open vital records to identity theft. We recommend all genealogists review these as they formulate their own position on the heavily discussed proposed LD 1781.

Massachusetts Genealogical Council's White Paper - Framing a Discussion on Vital Records Access

The Case for Open Public Records - A Position Paper Prepared for the Association of Professional Genealogists

To learn more about LD 1781 and to follow it's progress, visit the State of Maine Legislature Bill Status Search Page and enter in the bill number.

LD 1781 - Genealogists Take Note:

Received from Helen Shaw:

A bill recently passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine legislature which would close vital records and divorce records in Maine for 100 years after the event. The bill is LD 1781 An Act To Allow Electronic Filing of Vital Records and Closing of Records To Guard against Fraud and Make Other Changes to the Vital Records Laws.

A public hearing was held on the bill on March 3rd, but the genealogy community in Maine was not aware of the bill or of the public hearing so no one was at the hearing to protest. Since then, Pam Eagleson and I have been working to amend the bill so that genealogists are included in the bill as persons with "a direct and legitimate interest in the matter recorded."

While input on problems with the bill was sought by the legal analyst preparing an amendment to the bill, that input was not included in the amendment which was made available to us March 18 (after it had been voted on by the HHS Committee). That amendment made the bill even worse.

At this time, the only option is to have the bill amended on the house floor or killed there. The proposed amendments can be viewed at:

I do not know when this might come to the house floor for a vote. I have a call in to my state senator for his advice. It may be that we will need/want to address the party caucuses early next week.

You may post any of the above except what is in brackets. Please also let folks know we still need them to contact their legislators about LD 1781 and the proposed amendments.

Thank you for your help and support.
Helen Shaw, CGsm

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maine Tartan Day Celebration

Hello! On behalf of The Scots In America and the Maine Military Museum, I would like to invite you to attend and participate in our Maine Tartan Day celebration.

Place: The Maine Military Museum and Learning Center, South Portland, Maine
Date and Time: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 1PM to 3PM

In addition to the reading of the Governor's Proclamation of Maine Tartan Day, we will be hearing from South Portland Mayor Tom Coward and Lee Humiston, Director of the Maine Military Museum. There will be re-enactor displays provided by the Soldiers of Scotland, a Color Guard from the Scottish-American Society, pipers and, of course, a Clan Parade. After the ceremonies, Director Lee Humiston will be leading a tour of the new facilities of the Learning Center.

This event is free and open to the public.

I do hope to see you there, and if you should have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me by email at or by cell: 207-239-1118.

Slainte Mhath,

Dianne Bergstedt FSA Scot
The Scots In America
President, Landrum Family Association

Monday, March 8, 2010

Miniature Pictures and Portraits

On Thursday, March 11th, Allen Horne will be discussing Miniature Pictures and Portraits with the Wassebec Genealogical Society. A great opportunity to explore this piece of history - we all enjoy being able to put faces with names on our family tree.

Wassebec Genealogical Society meets on the 2nd Thursday of every other month at Mayo Regional Hospital Resource Center at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Visit their website at to stay current with their happenings.

Join Us on Facebook

We've started a Maine Genealogical Society Facebook Group!

It's a new way to communicate and interactively share information and conversation. Post queries and join discussions.

Come on over and join in the fun!

An Important Note on Recent Legislative Activity Regarding Vital Records

I have received a few emails questioning what MGS is doing in response to recent bills. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, MGS is prohibited from lobbying or otherwise influencing legislative action.

We do however feel that educating our membership about legislative activity that affects the genealogical community as (and if) we become aware of it is important. This opens the doors to conversation, which in turn allows our members and fellow researchers to determine their own position. To the extent an individual feels strongly about any particular issue (regardless of whether they are for or against), we certainly encourage them to contact their legislative representatives, communication is the key to educating them about the importance of certain records for genealogical research.

Dale W. Mower
Maine Genealogical Society

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Irish History is the St. Patrick's topic in Bangor

Penobscot County Genealogical Society is pleased to announce their annual Irish-themed March meeting. Dr. Janet TeBrake, Lecturer in History at the University of Maine, will be discussing Irish history and St. Patrick.

The meeting takes place on Wednesday, March 17th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Lecture Hall at the Bangor Public Library.

Many may recall that Dr. TeBrake was a speaker at the recent Maine Genealogical Society conference that was held in Bangor.

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day learning about Irish history....

1930 US Census Available Free of Charge on the Internet Archive

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

Here is a pleasant surprise: the Internet Archive is placing the 1930 U.S. Census online and is making it available at no charge. This is a "work in progress;" but, the census records from many states are available now, and the remaining states will be added in the near future.

The records are offered in exactly the same format as the microfilms created by the U.S. Government. In fact, the online images appear to be copies of the microfilms. The images are being offered "as is." That is, there is no index available, only the images. If you already know where your ancestor lived and (hopefully) the enumeration district, you can view the images one at a time until you find the information you seek.

You can find enumeration districts on FamilySearch at*,0,0. Once you know the enumeration district, return to the Internet Archive at to conduct your search.

If your ancestors lived in a small town, you can probably find them without determining an enumeration district in advance. However, for those who resided in cities, the enumeration district is a valuable piece of information that allows you to zoom in on the correct neighborhood quickly although you will still need to look at a lot of images to find what you seek.

While it is nice to see a free version of the census available, I doubt if this will have much impact on the commercial companies that also offer census images online for a fee. The commercial companies have indexed most of their records, and finding someone in an index first is much, much easier than manually looking at hundreds of images in search of the right family.

While I appreciate the free, unindexed images, I'll still gladly pay a few dollars a month to have an index available. I suspect most others will do the same, especially after trying to find someone in the free records.

Of course, now is an excellent time for your genealogy society or historical society to index the records for your area and place your own index online, with each entry pointing to an original record on the Internet Archive.

To find the 1930 U.S. Census records on the Internet Archive, start at: to conduct your search.

Maine Bill Closes Birth, Marriage Records - Portland News Story - WMTW Portland

Maine Bill Closes Birth, Marriage Records - Portland News Story - WMTW Portland