Background Sources for Maine

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Maine sil.png
the Maine Family History Research series.
History of Maine
Maine Vital Records
Census Records for Maine
Background Sources for Maine
Maine Maps
Maine Land Records
Maine Probate Records
Maine Court Records
Maine Tax Records
Maine Cemetery Records
Maine Church Records
Maine Military Records
Maine Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Maine Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Maine Immigration
Ethnic Groups of Maine
Maine County Resources
Maine Town Resources
Map of Maine

In addition to the town histories that have been published for Maine, there are other excellent publications as well.

  • Atwood, Stanley B. The Length and Breadth of Maine. 1946. Reprint. Orono, Maine: University of Maine, 1973. The original place-name guide for Maine.
  • Clark, Charles E. The Eastern Frontier: The Settlement of Northern New England, 1610–1763. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1987. Focuses primarily on Maine.
  • ———, James S. Leamon, and Karen Bowden, eds. Maine in the Early Republic. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1989. Essays by twelve local history professors cover the period following the Revolution to statehood in 1820.
  • Denis, Michael J. Maine Towns and Counties: What Was What, Where and When. Oakland, Maine: Danbury House Books, 1981. An indexed, updated survey of place-names.
  • Frost, John E. Maine Genealogy: A Bibliographic Guide. Portland: Maine Historical Society, 1985. A superb listing including printed probate records, maps, town histories, and numerous other sources. Organized by topic with thorough citations to expedite interlibrary loan research.
  • Haskell, John D. Maine: A Bibliography of Its History. 1977. Reprint. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1983. Excellent focus on printed and published historical materials.
  • Noyes, Sybil, Charles T. Davis, and Walter G. Davis. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. 1928–39. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972, 1976, 1979. An excellent attempt at compiling family genealogies comprising every family established in New Hampshire and Maine by 1699, this is one of the first inclusive volumes with strong references to original source material. The information is available through an online subscription database
  • Pope, Charles H. The Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623–1660. 1908. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973. Focuses on earliest period, not on all families as does Noyes et al. above.
  • Williamson, William D. The History of the State of Maine. 2 vols. Hallowell, Maine: Glazier, Master and Smith, 1839.
  • A guide to research in the state can be found in John Eldridge Frost, “Maine Genealogy: Some Distinctive Aspects,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 131 (October 1977): 243-66, which includes a list of individual and multifamily genealogies. It is reprinted in Ralph J. Crandall, ed., Genealogical Research in New England (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984).
  • Maine Families in 1790, vols. 1-8, published by Picton Press in Camden, Maine, between 1988 and 2000, is an ongoing project of the Maine Genealogical Society and several contributors, including Ruth Gray and Joseph C. Anderson II, CG, FASG. The eight volumes cover over 2000 comprehensive three-generation studies of families living in Maine at the time of the 1790 census. See