May 25, 2019
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1890 census records for Waterville gets reprinted as new 284-page book

You may know that 99 percent of the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed by fire years ago, leaving an unfortunate gap between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. Some communities have put together a kind of “substitute census” using other local records, but in Waterville, there remains a copy of the 1890 Census — the real thing. Thanks to the efforts of Taconnett Falls Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society, “Waterville, Maine Census of 1890” has been reprinted and is available for $19.95 plus mailing.

At 284 pages including index, this book is an absolute gem. If you have family from Waterville or know someone who does, what a welcome Christmas gift this would be, I am sure. Even those who aren’t into researching their own genealogy will enjoy pouring over it.

Waterville residents are listed by household, alphabetically by surname. In many cases, the street where the family lived is included.

Emma Farnham, 35, and Agnes Farnham, 11, resided on Elm Street. Both were “native born.”

Alex Forten, 60, and Selina Forten, 54, who lived on Water Street, were “foreign born,” and Alex was a naturalized citizen. Perley, 22; Mary, 18; Lona, 15; Josephine, 6; and Annie, 11, all were native born.

How this book came to be is interesting. In the 1980s, then-librarian Richard Sibley of Waterville Public Library made the handwritten census available for typing. Lois Dyer copied and typed the entire census in 1988.

Members and friends of the Taconnett Chapter helped decipher the 1890 handwriting and proofread the copy for the first printing.

A special feature is a list of French-Canadian names corresponding to some names found in the census, a project of Bob Chenard. For instance, the name “Loon” in the census should be the French name Huard. Hunter would be Chasse, Forten is Fortin and Cary would be Busque.

Of course, there are many non-French surnames to be found, as well, such as Emerson, Fennimore, Libby and Robinson.

Clyde Berry indexed the book, and Jeff Linscott and Thelma Eye shared advice on the project.

I was pleased to see the book was reprinted through a Maine company, Linscott’s Sam Teddy Publishing. The company has done reprints of many old books, making them available to genealogists. While I do have an old copy of Loring’s “History of Piscataquis County, Maine,” the reprint at $14.95 plus postage has made it possible for me to purchase copies for both my sons.

You may obtain “Waterville, Maine Census of 1890” for $19.95 plus $3.99 mailing by sending a check to Sam Teddy Publishing, 208 Lakeview Drive, South China, ME 04358; or visit Linscott has email at Discounts are available for schools and libraries.

You also can find the book at, but make sure what you select references Sam Teddy Publishing so you know you’re getting the right item.

Taconnett Falls Chapter, you should know, is a remarkable group of people that owns and maintains its wonderful chapter library in the former Winslow Library at 10 Lithgow Street. They have many files of items in addition to computer resources and an excellent collection of books. Email them at

Dues are $10 per year, but guests are always welcome at chapter meetings at 2 p.m. the third Sunday of the month at the chapter library in Winslow. The library is open Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in good weather, and one of those days in the winter. The website is


Next week: Read all about my ethnic ancestry after taking a DNA test through Ancestry DNA. Does the science match the genealogical research I’ve done for more than 35 years? Were there any surprises?

For i nformation 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


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