From the community

Expanded Penobscot Bay History website worth a visit

Posted Feb. 27, 2013, at 5:36 p.m.

Blanchard, Carver, Colcord, Eaton, Ford, Griffin, McGilvery, Nichols, Nickels and Pendleton are among the surnames of Searsport sea captains you will find on the Penobscot Marine Museum’s larger and newly designed history website, “Penobscot Bay History Online,” at http://www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org/pbho-1/.

The updated website offers even more museum resources for researchers and educators, including a searchable database of images of hundreds of objects from Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection of marine paintings, journal entries, manuscripts, maps and more.

Two new original source documents have been added, one of them the journal of a Margaret Oakes of Brewer, a 14-year-old girl who sailed with her sea captain father in 1880. I was charmed by her description of a visit to Marseilles in France, and by her reference to Broadway in Bangor.

The other is a log kept by the coolie master on a Rockland ship that brought 500 Chinese coolies to Cuba in 1861 to work in the sugar fields. This major website renovation was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“Penobscot Bay History Online” features 11 maritime history topics: Maritime Communities, Our Maine Ancestors, Fisheries, Working the Bay, History of Navigation, Ships and Shipbuilding, Maine and the Orient, Life at Sea, Marine Art, and the newly created Searsport Captains, and Women’s Roles.

Each topic has seven to 13 chapters, is illustrated with photographs of objects from the Penobscot Marine Museum collection, and has an expanded glossary. As a special feature for educators, the learning standards — Maine Learning Results and Common Core — which are addressed in each chapter are listed on the website.

The original Penobscot Bay History Online website was built with a 2004-2006 grant from IMLS. The grant also funded the book “MATES: Museum and Teachers Educating Students.” This book identified nine topics in maritime history which were supported by museum resources, and included suggested activities and additional resources.

As a result of these projects, Penobscot Marine Museum Education Department was asked to partner with local schools on the After School Program grant and create a maritime history program.

Penobscot Marine Museum then created a Maine Maritime History Curriculum for day classrooms and most recently has packaged this successful curriculum into History Kits for rental to schools, thus making access to the Maritime History Curriculum more affordable for schools. This project was the work of Penobscot Marine Museum Education Director Betty Schopmeyer, who retired this month.

Among the manuscripts online is a letter of notification about the sale of the cargo of a ship that was wrecked near Japan.

PMM is a wonderful museum, with collections including unique resources at its Phillips Library. I have no doubt that this website will grow and become even more useful over time.

One of my all-time favorite programs in genealogy is “Morbidity and Mortality in Maine” by Jack Battick, retired history professor from the University of Maine who also is a past state president of the Maine Genealogical Society.

Jack Battick will give this program at the next meeting of the Wassebec Genealogical Society at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the resource center at Mayo Regional Hospital on Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft.

He is adept at interpreting the causes of death as shown in old records, their meaning in light of modern medical knowledge, major causes of death in the past, and epidemics including the great influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.

The meeting is open to all. For more information or directions, call 564-3576.

We have a new address for members to send dues for the Penobscot County Genealogical Society. Send check for $10 made out to PCGS to Annette Roberts, 33 Roundstone Drive, Glenburn, ME 04401.

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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