I’ve been looking forward to seeing the three-volume “Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft,” so the note in the Penobscot County Genealogical Society newsletter that the set was available in Bangor Public Library’s Bangor Room was all I needed to inspire a quick trip to the library at 145 Harlow St.
These books are a volume for Dover, a volume for Foxcroft — before they merged into one town — and a volume for the every-name index, published by Picton Press as a special publication of the Maine Genealogical Society, compiled by John F. Battick and Nancy Klimavicz Battick.
What a wonderful resource, from the beginning of these towns in the early 1800s to the 1920s. Here are a couple of entries for births of my grandmother’s younger siblings:
- Oct. 22, 1912. Foxcroft. Elsie Marie Roberts. Female. 6th Child. Living. Name of father: Stanley Winfield Roberts; Maiden name of mother: Etta E. Eldridge; Residence of parents: Foxcroft; Occupation of father: Woolen spinner; Birthplace of father: Dexter, Me; Birthplace of mother, Newport, Me.; Reported by: Stanley W. Roberts.
- Jan. 16, 1914. Foxcroft. Ernest Albert Roberts. Male. 7th Child. Living. Name of father: Stanley W. Roberts; Maiden name of mother: Etta E. Eldridge; Residence of parents: Foxcroft; Father’s occupation: Railroad Employee: Father’s birthplace: Foxcroft, Me.; Mother’s birthplace: Newport, Me.; Reported by Edgar Flint, M.D.
Notice that the certificate with information reported by the doctor states that Stanley was born in Foxcroft, whereas the one with information he reported himself gives Dexter as his birthplace. All things being equal, I would accept the birthplace Stanley furnished himself.
What we need is information that could corroborate his birthplace, especially because his birth does not appear in records for either Foxcroft or Dexter.
Stanley Roberts’ marriage record in 1900 and death record in 1957, both found in Maine vital records, list his birthplace as Dexter. He was born in July 1880, the month after the 1880 census was taken. The 1880 census lists his mother, Hattie Hart, as living in Dexter.
She married William O. Roberts in 1885, and my grandmother Edith Steeves often went to the Roberts reunion in Sangerville in the 1960s. William may have been Stanley’s father, but I have no other information on that.
I also was fascinated by some of the causes of death I read in these volumes. Alice Merrifield, who died at 82 on Aug. 5, 1921, in Dover, was said to have died of “senile gangrene.” Iris M. Allen, who died at 74 on Christmas Day, 1910, in Dexter, was listed as dying of “Heart Failure probably from over excitement.”
My use of the VR of Dover-Foxcroft was quick and specific for certain surnames, but I also want to take the time to browse this resource, not only the every-name index but both volumes of records. Browsing is how we find not only what I’m looking for, but sometimes records we don’t realize would be helpful until we see them.
“Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft” is available at Bangor Public Library, in Special Collections at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono and at Maine State Library in Augusta.
Other new resources I noted at Bangor Public Library were:
- “Vital Records of Wiscasset,” compiled by Marlene A. Groves, also available at UMaine Fogler Library and Maine State Library.
- “Vital Records of Wiscasset,” compiled by James A. Wick, also available at UMaine Fogler Library and Maine State Library.
- “Hammack Cousins: Hammack and Hammock Families in England and America, 1569-2010,” by Thomas Daniel Knight.
- “The Descendants of Henry Sewall (1576-1656) of Manchester and Coventry, England, and Newbury and Rowley, Massachusetts,” by Eben W. Graves, also available at UMaine “Veazie Genealogy: Some Descendants of William Veazie Who Settled at Braintree, Massachusetts in 1640,” by Ralph E. Hillman.
On my recent visit to Guilford Memorial Library to give a genealogy workshop, librarian Linda Packard said all Maine libraries now have access to the ancestry.com database, which is a great resource. Ask staff at your library whether there is a computer available for readers to use in order to connect to ancestry.com, and of course, be mindful of sharing time on library computers or equipment such as microfilm readers.
A new collaboration between the American Folklife Center at Library of Congress and the University of Maine will preserve a unique archival collection that documents the history and traditions of Maine, other New England states and Canada’s Maritime Provinces. That collection, the entire holdings of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and History, is part of UMaine’s Folklife Center.
UMaine President Paul Ferguson announced details recently, explaining that the Library of Congress will acquire the entire collection, preserve it at its state-of-the art facilities and serve it to researchers. Digital copies will remain accessible at UMaine’s Maine Folklife Center in Orono.
The Maine Folklife Center will contract with outside specialists for audio and video file digitization while scanning manuscripts and photos on-site in Orono. The original items, along with copies of the digital files, will move to the Library of Congress for further processing and storage, while a copy will remain available in Orono.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.