June 23, 2018
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Church records identify New Brunswick ‘Steen’ family

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

Ten years ago, the names of Nana’s Irish grandparents were given to me by a contact I made on the message board GenForum. By perusing genforum.genealogy.com/given, I found a message mentioning my Thomas Given of New Brunswick, and soon received the welcome news that his parents were Irish immigrants James Given and Margaret Orr.

But who were the parents of his wife, Harriet Stein? Why was Thomas living with his birth family in the 1881 Census? Did Harriet die, or did they not stay together? And where in 1881 was Nana — their 2-year-old Thressa Jane Given, who grew up to marry a Steeves?

I would not have been surprised if nothing ever turned up about these mysteries, but again, thanks to the Internet, the first question seems to have been answered.

A fairly new resource available on ancestry.com, a paid website, is “Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection).” Let me mention first that researchers may use ancestry.com free at public libraries which have a subscription, including those in Bangor, Ellsworth and Oakland.

At long last, I found copies of the originals of three records pertaining to Thressa’s mother.

The marriage of Thomas and Harriet, as recorded by priest “Ant. Ouellett,” says, “On the tenth of February, 1879, the publication of banns being dispensed with, Thomas Given and Harriett Alberta Steen, both of the Parish of Norton, King’s County, were married by me, the undersigned, according to the rite of the Roman Catholic Church, in presence of Jeremiah O’Leary and Nora O’Leary.”

Even more informative was Harriett’s baptism on the same day: “On the tenth day of February, 1879, I baptised Harriett Alberta, aged twenty-four years, daughter of Samuel Steen and Martha Jane Marshall. Sponsor, Jeremiah O’Leary.”

Also that day, Father Ouellet heard her Profession of Faith: “On the tenth day of February, 1879, in virtue of faculties granted to me by His Lordship the Bishop, I received the profession of Faith of ‘Alberta’ Harriett Steen, and absolved her from heresy in presence of Jeremiah O’Leary.”

Notice that the Profession of Faith listed the middle or “saint’s name” first. My husband’s baptism record from Aroostook County more than a half-century ago lists his middle name first, Joseph. He used that certificate to join the U.S. Army, which also lists him as Joseph.

So “Harriett” finally has parents, Samuel and Martha Jane (Marshall) Steen. Neither ancestry.com nor the free Mormon website at familysearch.org has yielded info on Samuel and Martha, not even census records.

However, I did find Harriett Steen, age 18, in the 1871 census of Norton, King’s County, New Brunswick, a servant living in the family of John and Catherine Raymond, both 60 and Episcopalian.

Harriett is listed as having been born in New Brunswick, and as being Presbyterian and “Scotch,” two clues that could be helpful.

Corinth Historical Society has information on more than 250 family surnames from the Corinth area in its archives at the museum on Main Street. These surname files can contain anything from a single picture or birth announcement to photographs and clippings about significant personal events, up to whole books or CDs on genealogy and family pictures.

Some files have letters written, speeches given or honors awarded. Some surnames have multiple folders for different branches of the family or significant individuals. Other collections, such as East Corinth Academy yearbooks from as early as 1844, also are a significant source of family history.

The museum will be open 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 7 and 14, but the society meets and works elsewhere all year long and can be contacted at Corinth Historical Society, PO Box 541, Corinth 04427, or through the Corinth town office.

A talk on Warren residents Alexander C. Burgess and Ansel Overlock, who served in the Civil War, will be held during the meeting of the Warren Historical Society at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Dr. Campbell House on Main Street.

WHS volunteer Keri Vilchinsky will present excerpts from Burgess’ 1862 Civil War diary and from an oral history pertaining to Overlock. Special guests will read the excerpts, and artifacts on display will include the diary, a GAR memorial and Civil War-era maps.

Burgess served with the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry and Overlock with the 19th Maine, and then the 11th Maine as a substitute. The physical locations of each man during his service in the war will be tracked on John Bachmann’s Civil War-era maps titled “Bird’s Eye View — The Seat of War.”

The talk will focus on stories about local genealogy, Maine regiments, day-to-day life and America’s physical geography during the Civil War period. The featured stories are taken from a WHS project where volunteers transcribed the Burgess diaries and researched the Overlock artifacts in honor of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or email queries to familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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