Difference between revisions of "Maine History"

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United States > Maine > Maine History

Brief History

The following important events in the history of Maine affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

  • 1607-1632: English settlements were begun at Saco, Biddeford, Scarboro, Cape Elizabeth, and Portland.
  • 1632-1759: Troubles with the French and Indians continued until the fall of Quebec in 1759.
  • 1677: Massachusetts purchased the Gorges rights to the province of Maine.
  • 1716-1760: The entire area was called York, a county of Massachusetts. Many of Maine's early residents are listed in Massachusetts records.
  • 1760: Lincoln and Cumberland counties were formed. These counties and York were called the Province of Maine of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until 1779, when the area became known as the District of Maine.
  • 1816-1819: Severe winters, rocky soil, and limited opportunities influenced the emigration of many inhabitants.
  • 1820:  Became a state as part of the Missouri Comprimise.
  • 1819-1820: Maine was officially separated from Massachusetts in 1819 and became a state in (March 15,)1820.
  • 1838-1839: Some 10,000 troops from Maine were called into service during the Aroostook War to settle a boundary dispute between Maine and New Brunswick. The dispute was settled by treaty in 1842.
  • 1861-1865: About 72,000 men from Maine served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War.
  • 1898: Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
  • 1917–1918: More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
  • 1930's: The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
  • 1940–1945: Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
  • 1950–1953: Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
  • 1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
  • 1964–1972: Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.

Historical Content

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies.

Two bibliographies of local histories for Maine are:

  • Maine, A Bibliography of Its History [1]
  • A Bibliography of the State of Maine from the Earliest Period to 1891 [2] This work contains a comprehensive list of published works dealing with Maine history and families through 1891.
  • A Bibliography of American County Histories [3] [4]
  • United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress [5] [6]

State Histories Useful to Genealogists

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Maine are:

A comprehensive history of Maine is:

  • Maine: A History. [7] Part of volume three and all of volumes four and five contain bibliographic material. Volumes three, four, and five contain indexes.

A helpful description of Maine state and county records from 1894 to 1932 is in:

  • Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1908. [8]

United States History

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [9] [10] This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [11] [12] This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [13] [14] [15] This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Maine 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like " Maine history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:


Web Sites


  1. Committee for a New England Bibliography. Maine, A Bibliography of Its History. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1977. ( Family History Library book 974.1 H23c).
  2. Williamson, Joseph. A Bibliography of the State of Maine from the Earliest Period to 1891. Two Volumes. Portland, Maine: Thurston Print, 1896. (Family History Library book 974.1 A3w; film 928375 items 1-2).
  3. Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
  4. Worldcat
  5. Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
  6. Worldcat
  7. Hatch, Louis Clinton, Editor. Maine: A History. Five Volumes. New York, New York: American Historical Society, 1919. (Family History Library book 974.1 H2me; film 1750652 item 3).
  8. American Historical Association. Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1908. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909. (Family History Library book 973 C4ah; films for Maine 896558-59).
  9. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
  10. Worldcat
  11. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
  12. Worldcat
  13. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
  14. Limited view at Google Books
  15. Worldcat
  16. Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w
  17. Worldcat