While Recommended Reads is on hiatus, I will be sharing some digitized resources that I have written through the years and will also share a couple of books that have been invaluable to me along my genealogical journey.
Today’s item, unlike posts from the past two weeks, is not a work of my own. Instead, it is one of the books that I mentioned in the above description and is very locale-specific.
If you have no ancestors who lived in the area of Washington County, Maine, then this book won’t be of much help to you. With my deep roots in Calais, Washington County, Maine, Vital Records from the Eastport Sentinal (sic) of Eastport, Maine 1818-1900, edited by Kenneth L. Willey and printed as the Maine Genealogical Society Special Publication No. 24 by Picton Press of Camden, Maine in February 1996, has been a godsend.
There apparently was a second printing of the book in 2003, but it is not listed in Picton Press’s current online catalog and seems to be out of print. A check of WorldCat shows copies of this book in 36 libraries across the country, but no digital editions are available. It is a mammoth work of 884 pages with an every name index.
Although these vital records are found in an Eastport newspaper, they cover families with members living in New Brunswick, Canada, Maine, Massachusetts and elsewhere. Many of the families in the area were seafarers so the newspaper spread the word of the latest happenings.
New England records, on the whole, are quite good. However, once one leaves Massachusetts, records can be spotty and irregular. Northern Maine is a place with spotty vital records. There are some marriage records at the county level, some at the town level and some which have been lost to time. The same goes for birth and death records. I, myself, have found original birth records for family born in Charlotte, Washington County, Maine in the 1820’s, but no records exist for births in Calais until much, much later.
Kenneth Willey’s book helps fill in many of the gaps in the Washington County records.
I have found many mentions of both direct line and collateral relatives, but I cherish two of them, in particular. My 2x great grandfather, Charles Stewart/Stuart, died in Meddybemps in November 1894, according to his probate file. The exact date was left blank, but on page 526, I found:
Vol. 76, #50, 5 Dec 1894 – Deaths
In Meddybemps, 24 Nov 1894, Charles Stuart, 71y 4 m.
Even more exciting was this discovery, as it is the only U.S. record of any kind that was produced about my 2x great grandmother born in Denmark:
Vol. 72, #50, 19 Nov 1890 – Deaths
In Calais, 10 Nov 1890, Margrethe P. Johnson, 47y.
There are also entries for my Parker, Wilson, Adams, Scripture and Tarbox families. None of these families lived in Eastport.
If you haven’t come across this book before now and you have Washington County, Maine family, check WorldCat for the closest library to you.