How wonderful it is when a diary, or portion of one, is transcribed and shared in a historical society newsletter. The Pembroke Historical Society has been publishing in its newsletter, The Pemmaquon Call, the 1881 diary of Willis Carter, 22-year-old son of Jonathan Elwell and Helen (McGlauflin) Carter.

The original diary is part of the Willis Carter Collection at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono, with its final installment printed in The Pemmaquon Call for fall-winter 2011.

“Launched the boat in the morning,” wrote Carter on Tuesday, May 24, 1881. “Ulysses and I and Arthur and Ella went to Eastport in Wellington’s boat. I got me a suit of clothes for $10.50 and a hat — .85. Arthur’s suit and hat $8.50. Elley’s suit and hat $6.50. Ulysses pants and vest 4.25. Two pairs of shoes @ 1.50, (3.00). Got home about 7:30 p.m. Cut bushes out back.”

The next three days Willis spent building fences. On Saturday, May 28, 1881, he wrote, “Planted about 4 bushels of prolific potatoes for father. I went to the Corner in the morning, and sent to Daniel F. Beatty for an organ book (.20). Printed 30 cards for Robert H. Sandick (.25).

The Pembroke Historical Society acknowledged the work of George L. Carter of Tyngsborough, Mass., for transcribing the Willis Carter Diaries from photocopies. I’m sure there are many organizations that would appreciate having someone volunteer to transcribe such records.

Also featured in this issue are “A Carter Family Album,” a sample of 100-year-old photographs made from glass plate negatives. One gorgeous photo shows Willis and Clara Carter and children Lewis, Estelle, Gussie, Addie and Carroll; and Clara’s mother, Clara.

Another treasure is “From Boston to Pembroke: The business letters of John M. Mayo to Stephen C. Foster,” by Howard A. Mayo Jr.

The PHS 2011 Christmas Ornament by Joan Dodge is based on an 1861 sketch of the clipper ship Western Continent. Each hand-painted ornament is $13 plus $3.50 shipping and handling, sent to Pembroke Historical Society, c/o Arthur Carter, 36 Goodeill Road, Charlotte, ME 04666.

For a 2012 membership to the Pembroke Historical Society, including subscription to the Pemmaquon Call newsletter, send $10 for individual membership, $15 family or $5 student to Pembroke Historical Society, c/o Gail Menzel, 270 Leighton Point Road, Pembroke, ME 04666. Tax-deductible contributions to the society also are welcome.


Old photos. A kind cousin who lent me some really old photographs has stimulated my interest in learning more about these aged artifacts, from identifying to preserving them. I’ve decided this will be one of my chosen interests in 2012.

Lucky for me that the Maine Genealogical Society has scheduled Maureen A. Taylor, the Photo Detective, (as opposed to Maureen M. Taylor, my sister), to give a one-day workshop on Saturday, April 21, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Topics will include identifying and dating family photographs, preserving photographs from 1839 to the present, dating clues seen in hair styles in pictures and “The Last Muster: Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution.”

Registration must be postmarked by April 7, $40 for Maine Genealogical Society members, lunch included; $50 for others, sent to Maine Genealogical Society, c/o Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield, ME 04270-6456. If you’d like to save $10 of the registration fee by joining MGS for $25 in Maine, include dues and copy of membership application from

While you’re looking at your 2012 calendar, consider marking down these dates:

  1. Saturday, Sept. 22, Maine Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Jeff’s Catering, Brewer. Last year’s annual meeting drew more than 130 people in Bangor for a wonderful conference.
  1. Saturday, May 19, Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting, Skowhegan.
  2. Saturday, July 28, Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting, Milo.
  3. Saturday, Sept. 29, Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting, Hiram.

New or renewal memberships to MOCA are $5 for one year, $20 five years or $100 life membership, sent to MOCA, P.O. Box 641, Augusta, ME 04432-0641.

For more 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, ME 04402; or email

Roxanne Moore Saucier

Family Ties columnist