Recently, I wrote about feeling nostalgic for the good old days of summer vacations spent on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.
A member of the Little Sebago Lake Facebook group left a message on the post and invited me to check out their group, which I did and which is wonderful.
I posted several other photos from the 1950s and then asked for help in identifying exactly where my grandparents’ camp was. I remember which turns to take, but back then, none of those roads had names so I could estimate the cottage location, but wasn’t positive about it.
However, I did have a cottage view, assuming that the cottage hadn’t been razed and replaced:
That bumpy land was the walkway down to the dock!
And, I had a lake view with a distinctive little island directly across from the camp:
And, I remembered we used to swim and sunbathe at an empty little beach across the way. What I remembered most about it was that behind the vegetation, there was marshy, bog type land.
Armed with these photos, my memory and Google Earth and with suggestions from some of the Little Sebago Lake Facebook members, the camp was located:
The red arrow indicates the approximate location of the camp and you can see the little island just to the left in the lake. The purple arrow indicates where that sandy beach is and it is still there because the marshy area that I remember doesn’t make for good land on which to build!
That was only the beginning of my exciting discoveries. Another member of the Facebook group sent me a link to the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds website and, like many counties across the U.S., they have begun to put digital images of land deeds online and they are free to view.
Normally, I would add a visual example here, but because the purchasers of the camp are still living, I will omit that step. However, I’ve written a letter to them – property owners’ addresses are also visible on the website – offering to share images of their camp in days gone by. I hope I hear back from them. I was even able to save the image of the land deed recording the sale from my grandmother to them.
There was even a plat map showing the property and the island:
That wasn’t all I was able to discover. I found the names of the owners of the property next door. Their grandchild had been vacationing at the lake at the same time I was there a couple of times:
Linda, right, with friend
I then used some genealogical sleuthing skills, located my toddler friend and have also written her a letter. I imagine she will be quite shocked, if she even remembers me!
Last, but maybe best so far, is that the current owner of the camp next door found my blog posts about Little Sebago and left me a message on FB. She is texting the current owners of my grandparents’ cottage. Definitely time for a genealogy happy dance. 🙂
Sometimes, we get so involved in our ancestors’ lives that we don’t share memories of our own. I consider myself very lucky to have had two sets of relatives with cottages on lakes and I spent considerable time at each of them.
I’m so glad I’ve been able to fill in so many of the unknowns about the Little Sebago camp – when the cottage was built, who owned the property before, who bought it from my grandmother and even the last name of my young playmate in the photo above.
Be sure to take the time to record your own memories for posterity.