April 21, 2018
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Info on sea captains available online through Penobscot Marine Museum

Roxanne Moore Saucier
By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

News that Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport has expanded its collections database prompted me to take a look at the museum’s website at PenobscotMarineMuseum.org.

I started by searching for the keyword “Pendleton,” knowing that was a surname with a lot of history in Searsport.

The database found 130 photo records and 29 person records. Of particular interest are several of the photo records of sea captains, which offer not only an image, but genealogical information such as the captain’s parentage, spouse and children.

A few of the sea captains included are:

• Samuel Curtis Sr.

• Daniel Henry Blake II.

• Albert Nickels Blanchard.

• James Treat Erskine.

• Joseph Capen Field.

• James Willard Ford I.

• Isaac Gilkey.

• Nathan Felix Gilkey.

• James Clifford Gilmore.

• Edwin Lancaster Griffin.

• Elbridge Gerry Blanchard.

I also did a search on the town Swanville and found 82 photo records listed.

The museum’s database is certainly one of New England’s largest online resources for historic photographs. Recently added are images by Maine photographer Everett “Red” Boutilier.

With the addition of more than 20,000 additional photographs, the Penobscot Marine Museum Collections Database now contains more than 50,000 images.

Located in Searsport, Penobscot Marine Museum is home to outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, small craft, ship models and historic photography. More information is at PenobscotMarineMuseum.org.

“Red” Boutilier was a photographer of the Maine waterfront from the 1950s until shortly before his death in 2003. Boutilier’s work was published in Downeast, National Fisherman, Sail, Yachting, Soundings and other magazines and newspapers. Boats, fishing and shipyard scenes from Maine’s midcoast dominate the more than 20,000 photos in the collection, whose acquisition by the museum was made possible by a gift from another frequent publisher of Boutilier’s work, the magazine Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors.

Other newly added collections are:

The Lawless Collection. Jake Lawless, sheriff of Belfast, collected images of life in and around Belfast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prominent in the collection are group portraits of children’s gatherings and other social events. Also included are a number of glass lantern slides depicting Belfast, wilderness areas and cartoons.

The MacEwen Collection. The work of amateur photographer Preston Williams of Bangor includes early 20th-century scenes of daily work, waterfronts, architecture and important images of Bangor soon after a disastrous fire destroyed 267 buildings in 1911.

The Lindsay Collection. Professional photographer David J. Lindsay was active in Damariscotta during the first half of the 20th century. His subjects included school and church groups, wedding parties, social organization events, boats and shipyards, mostly in Lincoln County but also in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Several other collections are also online. A search function permits photo searches by collection, location, subject matter and other parameters. There is also a field in which users are encouraged to share information about any image.

The museum also operates the Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, which is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday.


The Maine Death Index for 1960-2009 is online at maine.gov/sos/arc, which is the website for the Maine State Archives.

When great-uncle Harry J. Steeves of Brewer died in 1975, his place of death was listed as Chelsea, a small town near Augusta. That’s because he died at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Togus.

A 19th-century death record for one of my direct ancestors listed him as dying in Thomaston, with the occupation of carriage maker. People making carriages in Thomaston during that era included inmates at Maine State Prison, which my ancestor was. More about him another time, but I thought it interesting that his death certificate made no reference to the prison.


I had a wonderful time speaking to a group of about 60 people at the Feb. 15 meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society at Bangor Public Library. The society plans to publish the handout I used in its newsletter.

New books available in the library’s Bangor Room, which is full of resources on Maine and New England genealogy, include:

• Vital Records of Rome, Maine, by Marlene Groves.

• Vital Records of Saint Albans, by Ardele Parkman Lynds.

• Vital Records of Searsport.

These books were purchased for the library with funds donated by PCGS.

Local history librarian Bill Cook will give a talk on “Introduction to Ancestry.com” 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the library, 145 Harlow St. Ancestry is a paid database, but public libraries in Maine have it available for patrons to use at no charge.

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 familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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