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A township in Maine is an unorganized (unincorporated) territory roughly the size of a town, but usually with a relatively low population. Populated coastal islands outside municipal borders are also usually included in the list of townships. Most services for townships are handled by the state government.
Fewer records. No town meetings are held, and no town meeting minutes are kept in townships. It would be unusual for a township to have its own record-keeping official. The county registrar of deeds should have the township's land records. Nearby towns in the county also may keep a few historical facts about people who have lived in neighboring townships.
Changes in status. Townships can decide to organize into a town government, or a plantation. Also, from time to time, towns may choose to become townships. If a former town has a declining population, and its citizens decide to discontinue as a town, they stop holding town meetings and the former town's records are usually transferred to a nearby functioning town.
Names and numbers. Some townships have names such as • Fletchers Landing, • Big W, or • Unity Township. Other townships are known more by their numbers such as • Island No. 63, • Township 4 R17 West of the Easterly Line of the State, • Township 37 Middle Division, or • Township 6 North of Weld. Many of Maine's unorganized territories are known by both a name and a number, for example Township 2 R3 WBKP (Lang Township).
Township groups. Some counties of Maine list their townships within larger geographic locations such as East Central Washington, North Oxford, or Seboomook Lake. Moreover, in some counties, a few of the townships are split into two of the groupings (as shown on such counties' FamilySearch Wiki maps by a bright-green line).
Other unorganized territories. In addition to being labelled a township, sometimes an unorganized territory of Maine may instead be called a gore, grant, island, patent, purchase, strip, surplus, territory, or tract. Such units are similar to a township in their low population, lack of local-government, and lack of organized record-keeping.
Plantations. Nevertheless, in Maine plantations are between towns and townships in their level of government organization. For examples of Maine plantations and their records, see Coplin Plantation, Matinicus, or Monhegan. Look for Maine plantation records the same way you look for Maine town records.
Statistics. Maine has about 425 townships (unincorporated territories), 34 plantations, 454 towns or cities, and three Indian reservations. The unorganized township territories include slightly over half the land area of Maine.
- Municipalities (section) of "Maine" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine (accessed 27 February 2013).
- "List of plantations in Maine" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plantations_in_Maine (accessed 27 February 2013).