Years ago, I was quite faithful about putting clippings, cards, programs and other mementos into scrapbooks, inspired by those compiled in the 20th century by my grandmother, Edith (Roberts) Steeves. I also have a spiral notebook she used to keep track of my school career in spelling and public speaking.
Recently, I went shopping for just the right scrapbook for each of my five grandchildren, ages 2 to 10. I am going to begin the scrapbooks for them with clippings from the Bangor Daily News which either mention their names or are examples of articles about places they have visited or events they attended.
These will include Sesame Street Live and the Shrine Circus at Bangor Auditorium, and Maine Discovery Museum and Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor.
Brochures from the two museums will add color to the scrapbooks. I also have programs from the older children’s dance recitals and skating events, for example, and will photocopy these as needed so there are enough for each scrapbook.
My hope is that the youngsters will add items of their own, including photos and other things I may send them, in the scrapbooks to help preserve their memories.
At the top of each first page, I will put a brief “Here’s My Family” biography about the scrapbook’s owner, such as:
My name is Dylan Robert Saucier. I was born in 2009 in Waterville. My parents are Scott Gayland Saucier and Amanda Susan (Wilcox) Saucier. My middle name, Robert, is for my great-gramps, the late Bob Phillips of Hermon.
My grammy, Vicki (Phillips) Wilcox, lives in Milo. Grampy and Nana, Chris and Heather Wilcox, live in Glenburn. Pepere and Memere, Gaelen and Roxanne (Moore) Saucier, live in Bangor.
I have an older sister, Lexis Elizabeth Perry; and an older brother, Andrew Mark Perry. My little sister is Emilee Anne Saucier.
We have four dogs: Major and Jerry, who are beagles; Cocoa, a chocolate labrador retriever; and Layla, our new puppy. Layla’s parents are a malamute and a German shepherd who belong to Uncle Bub and Auntie Erica.
The information is short, yet includes three generations of the family and is a simple way of helping the grandchildren to get in the habit of thinking genealogically.
Also on the first page will be a photo taken last fall at our 40th anniversary, a picture of my husband and me with all five grandchildren.
Although I have many clippings, and certainly a pile of newspapers to help me start the scrapbooks, I also am one of those people who often says, “I wish I had cut that out of the paper.”
So, I go to the Bangor Daily News website, bangordailynews.com, and enter keywords in the SEARCH box in the upper righthand corner of the site.
I enter the words “Shrine Circus” and find a listing of BDN articles from the past few years. I click on “Most Recent” to arrange the stories and pictures in reverse chronological order, and find a story with pictures by Linda Coan O’Kresik on one of the Shrine Clowns who performed at the circus this year. I can print off four copies for the children who attended the circus.
There won’t be a lot of obituaries in the scrapbooks, but a few well-chosen ones. For instance, I can retrieve a 2006 obituary of Bob Phillips, for whom Dylan was named Dylan Robert, by clicking on Obituaries on the BDN website, then clicking on Obituary/In Memoriam.
Another great source to help find newspaper articles is the Families and Individuals drawers in the wooden file cabinets in back of the Bangor Room at Bangor Public Library. This is an index to the BDN and the Bangor Commercial from the 1900s. It will give you the date and page for weddings, anniversaries, obituaries and other items for people in the Bangor area. Bangor Public Library has both the BDN and the Commercial on microfilm in a room just down the hall from the Bangor Room on the third floor, which is accessible by elevator.
I used Google Search to find a promotion for Lexis and Andrew’s dad, Mark K. Perry, to Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the Maine Army National Guard. Administrative work can be hard to explain to young children, but I found an online job notice he had issued on behalf of the Maine National Guard Joint Headquarters. I will add to these a photocopy of a map of the Middle East, where Mark did a tour of duty in Iraq a few years ago.
The first two seasons of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” shared stories that were largely uplifting, programs that often carried the celebrity profiled on a trip to Europe, for example.
I recently watched a poignant episode about actress Christina Applegate’s search for information on the family of her dad, Bob Applegate, who had lost his mom at a young age and didn’t know much about his relatives.
Christina’s dad had only his own birth certificate to start her off, but a trip to local libraries and offices in Trenton, N.J., helped her find her grandparents’ marriage certificate, as well as divorce and other court records. These records and her grandmother’s death certificate, which cited tuberculosis and cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism, helped provide some of the missing information.
Needless to say, it was not information that brought joy to Bob Applegate, but his wise daughter used the occasion to talk about the miracle of his growing up to be a good man who did a great job with his own children.
“Who Do You Think You Are?” airs Tuesday nights on TLC, and often repeats on the weekend.
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.