Genealogists hope to knock down brick walls at open research meeting

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist
Posted Feb. 17, 2013, at 12:52 p.m.

It’s one thing to attend a genealogy meeting and hear a program on a great topic. It’s quite another to have the opportunity to actually knock down a brick wall or two.

That’s why “Open Research Night” is such a great activity scheduled for the Penobscot County Genealogical Society at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Bangor Room on the third floor at Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St.

Given that some of the PCGS members have decades of experience with the library’s wonderful genealogical sources, those attending may find just the person there who knows what resource they might try to see if their great-great-great-great-grandparents will come out from behind the brick walls in their family research.

It also may be that someone new to genealogy — or someone who isn’t yet familiar with BPL resources — will appreciate the opportunity to ask “Where should I start?” or “What should I do next?” New visitors to the library may be surprised to find that the Bangor Room is full of resources about Maine, New England and Canada, not just Bangor.

It was about 35 years ago that I, who have no Bangor ancestors, first went looking for information on Isaac and Dorcas (Wharff) Bennett, whose sons Isaac, John and Nathaniel had been three of the first seven settlers in Guilford in 1806-’07.

The brothers had come from New Gloucester, according to the Guilford issue of Sprague’s Journal that belonged to my grandmother, Ione Bennett Moore.

As a new genealogist, I found the Bennetts a bit of a brick wall — until I discovered the three-volume “Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849,” published by the Essex Institute in Gloucester, and available at BPL.

These books of births, marriages and deaths gave me four more generations of Bennett, Wharff, Haskell, Riggs, Lane, Millett and other ancestors from Cape Ann in Massachusetts. Abbreviations after some records indicated that the sources were not only town records, but many, many family and Bible records, as well.

Wow. There’s nothing like discovering a whole town-full of ancestors to add to our sense of who we are and where we came from.

All are welcome to attend this meeting of PCGS. I would remind members that dues of $10 a year were due in October and may be sent to PCGS, ℅ Phil Getchell, Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St., Bangor, ME 04401. In addition to getting the group’s most useful newsletter, members help support Bangor Public Library through an annual donation, which is used to purchase genealogy books.

“THE REVOLUTION — Life of Hannah Weston — with a Brief History of Her Ancestry” is also a condensed history of the first settlement of Jonesborough, Machias and neighboring towns. Thus states the title page of the late George W. Drisko’s publication of 1857 and 1903. Because of the renewed interest in the history of the Machias area, its settlement and its part in the American Revolution, Hannah Weston Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution of Machias has reproduced the entire contents of Drisko’s two editions.

The new edition also includes important additions designed to enhance its interest to readers in general and its usefulness to those interested in genealogical research. This special edition includes features which make it unique among the several reproductions of Drisko’s work which have appeared in recent years.

Perhaps the most important addition is a transcript of the deposition given in 1839 by then 80-year-old Hannah Weston relating her part in the events of June 1775 and the capture of the British armed vessel Margaretta.

In addition, there are brackets of clarifying information; reformatting to clarify genealogical relationships; graphics; currently authenticated genealogical material for the first three generations of Hannah Weston’s descendants; plus an every- name/every-place index.

Since there are no known images of Hannah Watts Weston, the DAR Chapter decided to use a silhouette of one of Hannah’s direct descendants and namesakes, Hannah Weston Dykes. The image of Miss Dykes also appears on the Maine Women Veterans plaque that hangs in the Hall of Flags in the State House, Augusta. Hannah Weston was selected to represent all women who served in the 18th century during the American struggle for independence.

Copies of the Hannah Weston book are $26.25 each, Maine sales tax included. They can be picked up in Columbia Falls from Roberta Hammond, 483-4120, or in Machias from Valdine Atwood, 255-4432. The cost by mail is $32 each, shipped by USPS Priority Mail. Send checks to Hannah Weston Chapter, ℅ Roberta Hammond, P.O. Box 213 Columbia Falls, ME 04623.

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.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/17/living/genealogists-hope-to-knock-down-brick-walls-at-open-research-meeting/ printed on August 20, 2014