In the early years of the Maine Genealogical Society, its quarterly contained both resources and news about genealogical activities and other items. Since then, the quarterly publication has evolved into two entities with distinct identities.

The quarterly newsletter offers reviews, information about MGS chapters and announcement of the annual meeting in September and workshop in the spring, information about the business of the society.

The journal, The Maine Genealogist, is exactly that: a journal published four times a year with articles using the format of well-known genealogical quarterlies. Further, the articles are published only after it has been determined that they meet the standards of good genealogical practice.

The articles are well-sourced. In other words, there are plenty of footnotes telling readers where the information came from so they can use that data as the basis of their own research.

MGS has been fortunate to have its quarterly edited by some of the best of the best, including Joseph C. Anderson II of Dallas, a fellow of The American Society of Genealogists. I could wax poetic about Joe’s qualifications as editor, but perusal of an issue of The Maine Genealogist is ample proof of the care that he takes with each issue of the journal.

The November 2012 issue offers:

* “Revisiting the Shocking Legend of Fayette, Maine: Emeline (Bacheller) (Chamberlain) Gurney” by Michael F. Dwyer.

* “Ebenezer and Mary (Lord) Hilton of Berwick and Pownalborough, Maine, and Their Family” by Merrylyn Sawyer.

* “The Early Descendants of Adrian Frye of Frye’s Point, Kittery, Maine,” (concluded) by Priscilla Eaton.

* “The Family of Loring Plummer of Athens and Dover, Maine” by Joseph C. Anderson II.

* “Marriages of Palmyra, Somerset County,” (continued) transcribed by Joseph C. Anderson II.

* Index to Volume 34 (year 2012).

People who are familiar with the history of Fayette may be aware that Emmeline was the inspiration for a 1980 novel, “Emmeline,” by Judith Rossner. Recollections of Emmeline by Nettie (Plant) Mitchell in 1975 were the basis of a PBS documentary, “Sins of Our Mothers,” written by Matthew Collins in 1989 as part of the first season of “American Experience.”

Lord and Hilton are two old New England names as are Berwick and Pownalborough. If you had ancestors who lived in Pownalborough, as did my Holbrooks and Youngs before they moved on to Mercer, you may know that Wiscasset was part of what was known as Pownalborough.

Plummer is a well-known name in parts of Piscataquis and Penobscot counties, and Dover used to be an individual town before it joined with Foxcroft to become Dover-Foxcroft.

If you are interested in writing up an article about a branch of your family, you would do well to follow the format of articles in The Maine Genealogist.

There is also lots of great material in the quarterly newsletter put out by MGS. The organization has many members outside of Maine because they find the journal and the newsletter well worth the membership dues of $25 a year.

Then, too, there is the benefit of the discount on special MGS publications, such as vital records books, and discount on attending the annual meeting in September.

To join the Maine Genealogical Society, send $25 to MGS, PO Box 221, Farmington, ME 04938. Add $5 if you’d like your newsletter and journal sent first class.

Canadian membership is $34, and $39 for those who reside outside the United States and Canada.

Dues cover the calendar year. If I were a new member joining now, I would send MGS $25 for 2012 and $25 for 2013 so as to get the newsletters and The Maine Genealogist for this year as well as next.

I have been a member of MGS for 35 years or so. In that time, I have saved more than $500 in discounts on attending the annual meeting and purchasing MGS special publications such as “Maine Families in 1790” volumes.

Anyone with Maine ancestors would appreciate an MGS membership as a gift, I am sure, and of course you would want to give one to yourself, as well.

For information, visit

A program of Castine winter tales sponsored by the Witherle Memorial Library, the Wilson Museum and Castine Historical Society is set for 12:15-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, in the exhibit space of the Castine Historical Society. Local residents George Bland, Don Small and Johanna Sweet will present a selection of personal, literary and historic memoir readings.

Through these readings, the audience will travel back to Noah Brooks’ Castine childhood and a winter clamming expedition that caught the boys in a blizzard, face the repercussions of a holiday teenage prank that proved rather awkward and visit Castine during the 1940s, hear about the time when WWII British soldiers convalesced at Doc North’s house, and learn how winter travel by packet boat, train and car to Boston provided its own challenges.

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

Roxanne Moore Saucier

Family Ties columnist