Family History & Genealogy Research

"Digging for Gold in Early Maine Town Records"

Sponsor:Maine Genealogical Society, Fall Conference 2013
Date:September 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Jeff's Catering, Brewer, Maine

The District of Maine, part of Massachusetts until 1820, had a wild history marked by frequent warfare, the destruction of many early settlements, common land disputes, a challenging terrain and a harsh climate. How did settlers manage to create viable towns in such a wilderness? Which towns were originally called Sudbury Canada and New Marblehead? Why? What types of officers were needed to run early plantations and towns? Was one of your ancestors a hog reeve, a field driver, a school agent, a tithing man or a fence viewer? Proprietors' and Town Records can be gold mines for genealogists. Learn how Maine towns typically developed, the role and responsibilities of Proprietors and what they had to do to create a successful town, what town records were created, and where you might look for them.

"Your talk on Sound Strategies for New England Genealogy Research was a lot of fun and very informative. Your enthusiasm is contagious! You can really tell you thoroughly enjoy what you do. The response from the group after the meeting was very positive. Thanks again for a wonderful afternoon!"
(Mary Anderson, Program Committee Member, Limerick (Maine) Historical Society)

Carol Prescott McCoy, Ph.D. has been combing through Maine town records for over fifteen years as part of her genealogy research service. As the leader of a project to index the early deeds of Cumberland County, Maine she learned a great deal about the process of town formation. While town records are un-indexed, and often in their original books, written in garbled handwriting in faded ink with creative spelling, they provide incredible insight into the lives of Maine's early settlers and helpful clues when few records exist. Carol enjoys learning about the development of Maine towns because of her love of history and love of her adopted home state. As an infant she first experienced the joys of Maine in Bryant Pond, Oxford County, where her great grandfather, Charles Mortimer Wiske, had built a music camp Birch Villa on Lake Christopher in 1903. While the camp was sold, her family summered in Bryant Pond for many years. Since the 1970s, she frequently visited her family in Gray, Maine (where the family used to make a break en route to Bryant Pond). In the 1980's she shared a summer camp on North Pond in Warren, Maine with her sisters, and now visits another summer camp on Lake Damariscotta in Jefferson. Since 1991 she has lived in Falmouth Foreside, Yarmouth, and now Brunswick, Maine. One of the delights of genealogy research is learning more about Maine towns in this beautiful state.

Contact Us

Carol P. McCoy, Ph.D
71 Willow Grove Road
Brunswick, Maine 04011


Our Mission

Every family is unique.
Dr. McCoy's mission is to help people discover:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Who are my kin?
  • What makes my family special?

In so doing they will gain a deeper understanding of their family stories, connect with kin, and create a family treasure to share.