May 21, 2018
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Castine research finds a home

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

Jill Bohman’s husband is a keeper.

“As long as I keep him well-fed,” she writes, “he’ll take me just about anywhere to gather information. He has walked many cemeteries with me and helped take photos of the gravestones.”

Bohman has been doing genealogical research since her mother, Elsie Mona (Morgrage) Tucker, died in 1978.

But it was her grandmother, Madge Violet (Milner) Morgrage, who left her two family Bibles full of dates of births and deaths of her family.

“She also left me newspaper clippings, wedding invitations, and other family articles to help me in my endless quest for family information,” Bohman wrote. “For the last 32 years I’ve researched county records and town records, walked cemetery after cemetery, visited the Maine State Library, searched probate records and records of deeds to gather information.

“I kept information separated by family notebooks and use of my family tree program on computer. Originally I started by handwriting information, then typing on an old typewriter, and finally made it into the computer world. What a help that has been.

“My husband, bless his heart, has really helped me over the past 12 years by our vacations to Castine to gather information.”

But what do we do with 30 years of records and information? If we’re fortunate, we find a willing home.

Bohman decided to donate her notebooks of family information to the Castine Historical Society at the Abbott School House in Castine.

She met with curator Paige Lilly on Aug. 24 at the schoolhouse, and the pair carried in box after box of notebooks for others to see and share info.

“It was hard to give up my paper trail of information,” Bohman wrote, “but for the research of others in years to come, it was the best thing to do.

Her main family research has focused on the Morgrage (also known as Mograge) and Connor Families of Castine. Other families include Leach, Wardwell, Gray, Hutchinson, Bowden, Devereaux, Farnham and many more.

“I want to thank people who have helped me over the years in the Castine, Penobscot, Blue Hill, Brooksville and surrounding areas. It has been so much fun talking to so many wonderful people and learning of their stories and families.”

Castine Historical Society also has copies of the two books Bohman wrote and published — “The Descendants of Peter Mograge (Morgrage) of Castine, Hancock County, Maine” and an update of Bertha Bowden’s cemetery book, which was published in 1972. The update, “The 69 Cemeteries of Penobscot, Hancock County, Maine,” has photos of gravestones and much more information.

Copies of the cemetery book can be found at the Witherle Memorial Library in Castine; Blue Hill Library, which helped with the index; Maine State Library in Augusta, Bangor Public Library and New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, to name a few.

Copies also are for sale for $55, postage included, from Margaret Jill Bohman, PO Box 59, Campbellsburg, KY 40011. She may be reached by e-mail at


Dr. Kay Retzlaff will be the guest speaker at the Belfast Historical Society meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, in the Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library. Her topic will be “Who You Callin’ Irish?: The Potato Famine Irish of Belfast, 1840-1865.”

Although Belfast is named for a city in Northern Ireland, the earliest European residents didn’t consider themselves Irish. They were Scots and they looked askance at the later Irish immigrants who arrived during the 1840s, a troubled time in Ireland.

Retzlaff, associate professor of English at University College of Bangor, a campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, will talk about the Potato Famine Irish community which took root at the Puddledock in Belfast.

Send queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402.

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