Do you have relatives or friends who don’t really “need” anything as a gift for Christmas or some other holiday, but you’d like to give them a little something that won’t break the bank?

Membership in a historical society or genealogical group may be just the thing. How about giving a membership to the Monson Historical Society for just $8 a year? The society publishes a wonderful newsletter which brings with it a bonus — the report of the Monson Academy Alumni, which continue to hold their popular banquet each summer.

The most senior alumni attending the 2013 banquet were Anton Larsen, Class of 1940; and Dorothy Mitchell Simmons, Class of 1944.

The winter issue of the Monson Historical News also contains an interesting article on the Onawa train wreck of 1919, which killed 23 people.

Perhaps the most exciting thing in this issue was the picture and information on the Monson Fire Engine, purchased in 1911 for $2,200 and used during the big fire on Main Street that destroyed several businesses on Nov. 13, 1911.

The horse-drawn firetruck, with a pump that could be operated by gasoline or manually, was in a museum in Wells for many years but became available this year.

With the help of Andy Swift of Firefly Restorations in Hope, who described the engine as “in amazing condition with the original paint,” the society decided to make plans to purchase the engine and work on the society building’s far bay to display it. This is the very building where it likely resided all those years ago.

Fundraising efforts for the project will be carried out in the coming year, but I’m sure any early gifts toward the cost of bringing this antique vehicle home would be appreciated.

Checks for membership dues for $8, or a donation to help with the firetruck project may be sent to Monson Historical Society, Estella Bennett, PO Box 173, Guilford, ME 04443.

Items from the society’s gift shop may be ordered from Monson Historical Society, Glenn Poole, 167 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington, ME 04474.

The 2014 calendar with historical photos is available for $8 plus $1.50 postage. A deck of playing cards with photos of a 1920s Monson parade costs $9.50.

Bird’s-eye-view prints of Monson from the 1889 original are available on colorized, archival paper — $24.95 for the 24-inch by 36-inch print; or $16.95 for the 11-inch by 16-inch, plus tax and shipping. For information, email

We have news from the Bangor Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 639 Grandview Ave., Bangor.

The Family History Center will be closed Dec. 17-Jan. 1 for the holidays, and will reopen Thursday, Jan. 2, with a change in evening hours. The new evening hours will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Make a note that Bangor FHC will sponsor a Family History Fair 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, in the church building on Grandview Avenue.

The fair will offer the opportunity to view selected videos — choosing one from as many as four for each time slot from the February 2014 RootsTech Conference which will be held in Salt Lake City, plus attend a few live presentations.

FamilySearch plans to provide an online registration system for the Family History Center to use for the event, and is making 45 sessions from RootsTech available to the center. The fair will be offered free and is open to all.

The Penobscot County Genealogical Society will close out 2013 with an open research night at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, in the Bangor Room on the third floor of Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St.

BPL’s renowned collection of genealogy and history resources is particularly strong on Maine and New England, but it also has resources on other states and Canada.

Bring your list of ancestors you’d like to track down, or come and browse — you never know which book may call to you. Best of all, if you’d like a bit of guidance, there will be several people attending who would be glad to tell you which sources they think might help with your brick wall.

The third floor is accessible by elevator. Use the entrance to the children’s department on the righthand side of the library.

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