December 15, 2017
Community News Latest News | Poll Questions | Net Neutrality | Republican Tax Bill | Susan Collins

Library class offers info on online genealogy resources

Community Author:
Post Date:

You might have missed the BDN story “Library class discusses websites of interest to family historians” because it was published in The Weekly, the Bangor area’s source for community news.

In that case, allow me to guide you to where you can read this fine article by The Weekly’s assistant editor, Ardeana Hamlin:

Ardeana attended a recent class on and other online genealogy resources by Bill Cook, Special Collections Collection in the Bangor Room, where Bangor Public Library holds a large portion of its New England materials on family history.

Cook explained that Ancestry is available free on a computer in the Bangor Room.

Ancestry is the most commonly used website for family history, Cook said, adding that the most reliable information comes from primary documents — birth, marriage, death and census records among them.

“Always record the sources where you found family information — where, when and the website address,” Cook said. One problem with much information provided online about personal family trees is that it lacks references about where each piece of information came from.

Sites Cook discussed include, a database of thousands of Internet links organized by topic such as states.

Another site I’m beginning to use as time permits is, which offers info and often pictures of millions of gravestones.

Also very popular is, which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church. It is a free site.

I do have one correction to one of the web addresses. is the site where users can post queries, access family forums and find links to genealogcal societies.

By the way, Ardeana Hamlin’s By Hand column in the Bangor Daily News has moved to Fridays in the Art section.

Newspapers sometimes move features from one day to another, or from one section to another, for a variety of reasons including the configuration of the press used to print the paper. Each morning I remind myself where the obituaries are by saying “SEE the obits in Section C.”

It always makes me happy to see more cemetery records online, especially when a municipality is helping to make the records accessible. Steve Boguen, superintendent of Belfast cemeteries for 34 years, has spent 10 years digitizing 8,000 handwritten burial records of Grove Cemetery, and the city now has them online.

See the records at

My thanks to Marlene Groves for putting this information in the Maine Genealogical Society newsletter after seeing it in Dick Eastman’s online genealogy column.

A sincere thank you to the anonymous person who donated Gen. Joshua Chamberlain’s original Medal of Honor to the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick.

Chamberlain, who lived in Brewer, was given the U.S. Army Medal of Honor in 1893 for “distinguished gallantry” in the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. Yes, the medal is the real deal, according to experts who were consulted at the Maine State Museum, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and the Department of the Army’s Awards and Decorations Branch.

I hope that Mainers and others will take the opportunity to view Chamberlain’s Medal of Honor this fall:
– Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 9-12, Pejepscot Historical Society, 159 Park Row, Brunswick. Admission is free to see the medal and the historical society’s exhibit, “Brunswick and the Civil War.
– Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8-10, at the society’s Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum, 2 Potter St., Brunswick.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email