May 25, 2018
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National Archives specialist Colletta returning to Maine

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

Colletta — oh, yeah.

What a great time we had with National Archives specialist John Philip Colletta when he was the keynote speaker for the 30th anniversary of the Maine Genealogical Society in 2006. Wouldn’t it be great if MGS would bring him to Maine again?

You got it! John Philip Colletta will return to Maine to present a daylong workshop, “Federal Records in Genealogical Research,” on Saturday, April 23, at the Winslow VFW, Veterans Drive, Winslow.

Personable, entertaining and knowledgeable, Colletta has conducted workshops for the National Archives for 20 years and taught courses at the Smithsonian Institution. He is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Salt Lake City.

Here is the schedule:

  1. 8 a.m. Registration and refreshments.
  2. 9 a.m. “Arriving in America: Passenger Arrival Records.”
  3. 10:45 a.m. “Becoming an American: Naturalization Records.”
  4. Noon luncheon buffet.
  5. 1:15 p.m. “Dealings with the Federal Government: Lesser-Used Records.”
  6. 2:45 p.m. “Family Drama: Federal Court Records.”

Registration must be postmarked by April 9 to Maine Genealogical Society, in care of Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield 04270-6456.

The registration fee, buffet lunch included, is $40 for MGS members (include your member number); $50 for others.

If you’re not an MGS member yet, save money by copying a membership application from and mailing it in with workshop registration. MGS dues are $20 a year, but you’ll save $10 off the meeting registration.

I want to emphasize that you do not have to plan a trip to Washington in order for this workshop to be worthwhile. Colletta’s talks also cover resources including Internet sites and archives regional branches such as the one in Waltham, Mass. Also, U.S. passenger arrival records for 1820-1957 may be ordered through Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bangor and Farmingdale, for example.

Books by Colletta in Maine libraries include:

  1. “They Came In Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record,” available at Bangor Public Library and Maine State Library in Augusta.
  2. “Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans,” Bangor Public Library, Maine State Library, University of Maine Fogler Library in Orono.
  3. “Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath,” Bangor Public Library. The Ring Family in Mississippi.
  4. The Orrington Historical Society is offering a bargain until after its annual meeting on April 19. Until then, annual membership is $2 and life memberships for $25. Send checks to Orrington Historical Society, in care of Lois-Ann Holmes, P.O. Box 94, Orrington 04474. For information, contact Henry Wiswell, 989-7546, or Judith Frost Gillis, 825-8965.


Sophia Mendoza of the General Henry Knox Museum in Thomaston will speak at the meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 29 Ocean House Road, Route 77, Cape Elizabeth.

Mendoza is the education coordinator at Montpelier. A graduate of Bowdoin College, she became interested in working with historic and special collections and interned as a graduate student at Montpelier, Maine Historical Society, Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography and the Bostonian Society. Her professional career has included projects at Maine Historical Society, Colby College Special Collections, Tate House Museum and the University of Southern Maine. She serves on the Maine Historic Records Advisory Board and lives in Harpswell.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail

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