Maine Church Records
|Maine Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]
To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:
Finding the Records[edit | edit source]
Look for online records.[edit | edit source]
Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:
- 1734-1907 Maine, Church Records, 1734-1907 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images. Incomplete.
- 1670-1907 Maine, Vital Records, 1670-1907 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images. Incomplete.
- 1739-1900 Maine, Births and Christenings, 1739-1900 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index.
- 1771-1901 Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index.
- 1841-1910 Maine, Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images.
Catholic[edit | edit source]
The Drouin Collection[edit | edit source]
- 1695-1954 - Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954 ($) (Ancestry). This database contains the French Catholic parish records for Maine.
Lutheran[edit | edit source]
- 1781-1969 - U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781-1969, index and images, incomplete.($)
- 1800-1947 - U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1947, index and images, incomplete. ($)
Other Collections[edit | edit source]
Look for digital copies of church records in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]
- The Family History Library (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States.
- Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the state, county, or town.
- If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
- Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
- To find records:
- a. Click on the records of United States, Maine.
- b. Click on Places within United States, Maine and a list of counties will appear.
- c. Click on your county if it appears.
- d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- e. Click on Places within United States, Maine [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
- f. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
- g. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- h. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. . The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.
Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]
These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location.
- Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations in Maine. Portland: Maine Historical Records Survey Project, 1940. These records show locations of over 1,700 churches and religious organizations in Maine and give a brief history of the beginning of the various religions in Maine.
Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]
Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.
- Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
- To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
- Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
- A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
- If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
- See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.
- Each denomination page offers an online address directory of local churches for that denomination.
Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]
Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.
Here you will find archive information unique to the state. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.
Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
- Genealogy and Family History Research at MHS
- Research Services
- Many published and manuscript church records for Unitarian, Baptist, Quaker, Methodist, Congregational churches. Most extensive collection of Maine Church records in existence.
American-Canadian Genealogical Society Library
1 Sundial Avenue, Suite 317N
Manchester, New Hampshire 03103
Tel: (603) 622-1554
Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]
- Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954 ($) (Ancestry). This database contains the French Catholic parish records for Maine.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
P.O. Box 11559 (mailing address)
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, Maine 04104-7559
Phone: (207) 773-6471
- If you are seeking individual baptismal records, marriage records, etc., please contact the parish where the sacrament was received. If you need addresses, please see the Parish Directory.
The diocese includes the counties of: Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock County, Maine Genealogy, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo, Washington and York ---
Episcopal[edit | edit source]
Archives of the Diocese of Maine
143 State Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 772-1953, ext. 137
- Contact the local parish first. Episcopal archives only have records for closed churches.
Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]
Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:
Next, go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination.[edit | edit source]
There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives and online collections for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources.
|Wiki Articles for Records of Major Religious Denominations|
Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]
You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:
- name, including middle name and maiden name
- names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
- exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
- names and approximate birthdates of children
- all known places of residence
- military service details
Carefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.