The end of this month should be a beautiful time for a drive to western Maine, especially when the destination promises interesting programs, congenial company and a nice lunch.

Why not meet up with members of the Maine Old Cemetery Association for its fall meeting at 9:10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the East Otisfield Free Baptist Church, 231 Rayville Road, Otisfield?

Registration and refreshments begin at 8:30 a.m., with the registration fee just $3. Lunch is $7. (If you want to have lunch, you need to reserve it by emailing, calling in a message to 634-2709, or writing Valerie Sirois by Sept. 20 at PO Box 615, Norridgewock, ME 04957.)

Talks will include “Digging Graves in Otisfield” with Dr. Jean F. Hankins, archivist for the Otisfield Historical Society, and “Cemeteries,” with Otisfield Sexton Dan Peaco and Mary Ann Hill, president of the Otisfield Historical Society.

Cemetery visits at 1 p.m. will be available for Elmwood Cemetery, Bell Hill Cemetery and two adjacent properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places: the 1839 Bell Hill Meetinghouse and the brick 1839 one-room Bell Hill Schoolhouse.

I love reading the MOCA newsletter, which is full of tips about cemeteries and gravestones, and stories about activities such as July’s four-day workshop with Howard Wellman on mapping and repairing gravestones at Doane’s Point Cemetery in Sorrento.

There also was a wonderful update by Marianne Chapman of a 1999 MOCA article wondering where the Portland Grand Trunk Cemetery had gone.

The terrific news is that beginning in 2010, Samantha Allshouse and Kayla Theriault began a three-year project to clean up and “recover” the cemetery in order to earn their Girl Scout Gold Award. Teachers and students of Presumpscot School also were important to the project.

One year ago, the Grand Trunk Veterans Memorial was dedicated, with six new memorial stones for one Revolutionary War veteran and five veterans of the War of 1812. The stone for the Civil War veteran was placed within the enclosure.

Allshouse and Theriault were awarded certificates of appreciation by MOCA for this marvelous project.

MOCA has a website at Membership in MOCA is $5 a year, sent to MOCA, P.O. Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641.


Maine Old Cemetery Association will be one of several organizations and vendors selling books and other items at the meeting of the Maine Genealogical Society on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Way, off Parkway South in Brewer.

I can’t wait to hear keynote speaker Laura Prescott, who is well known for her expertise in New England genealogy, give her 9 a.m. talk on “How the Internet Makes Us Sloppy Genealogists.” This presentation will help us avoid error-strewn paths and review ways to counter the lure of quick results.

The rest of the day, “breakout sessions” will offer us a choice of two talks scheduled for each session.

At 10:45 a.m., there will be “Timelines: Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective” with Laura Prescott; or “Divorce Records in Genealogical Research” with Pamela Eagleson, certified genealogist.

At 2:15 p.m., choose “Finding Your Military Ancestors on Fold 3” with Laura Prescott; or “Digging for Gold in Early Maine Town Records” with Carol McCoy.

At 3:30 p.m., choose “Treasures within the Ivory Tower: Finding Family in Academic Archives” with Laura Prescott; or “Improving Your Use of FamilySearch” with Judy Reitze from the Bangor Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., and vendors and exhibits will open then, as well. Lunch is at noon, and the MGS annual meeting is at 1:30 p.m.

MGS members may attend for $40, nonmembers for $50. Mail check by Sept. 16 to Maine Genealogical Society, c/o Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield, ME 04270-6456. Lunch is $15, but if you are mailing registration today, you might want to take a bag lunch.

If you find out at the last minute you can attend on Saturday, I would say come ahead. There often is room for registrations at the door.


Come one, come all, to the meeting of the Penobscot County Genealogical Society at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the Lecture Hall on the third floor of Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St., Bangor. The elevator is accessible through the right-hand entrance of the library.

We will be discussing plans for the coming year, and I will have a handout on genealogical resources for everyone who attends.


I have a correction to last week’s column on the Lyford family, in particular regarding Lawrence “Bud” Lyford of Brewer, who marked his 90th birthday last week.

Bud served with the 104th Infantry Division in Germany, not the 101st. Also, the column brought a call from Skip Chappelle, who coached high school basketball as well as the University of Maine Black Bears.

Skip wanted to be sure I knew that Bud was an “excellent official” for many years in high school basketball, including games in the state finals. It’s not every day that a coach goes out of his way to say something nice about a referee, so I thought it worth recording as part of Bud’s history — in newsprint, on microfilm and on the Web.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email

Roxanne Moore Saucier

Family Ties columnist