Curtis Memorial Library’s Genealogy Room contains both genealogy information and information on local history. We find, though, that we fluctuate on just what we mean by local. Does it refer to New England? Maine? Cumberland County? But we don’t want to leave out resources from Sagadahoc County… We generally try to include resources that are within a 30 mile radius of Brunswick. However, we are a staff that never says never, so we try to look at resources on a case-by-case basis.
The valuable Collections of the Maine Historical Society is an example of just such a resource. Series One consists of 10 volumes published from 1931-1891. They contain two major town histories: “History of Portland, Part I” by William Willis, which appeared in Volume 1; and “History of Scarborough” by William S. Southgate, which takes up much of Volume 3. Volume 2 contains reprints of two important but rare seventeenth century publications: “Briefe Narration” by Sir Ferdinando Gorges; and “Voyage to New England” by Christopher Levett. These were originally published in London in 1658 and 1628 respectively. Volume 10 (1891) is a cumulative index for the first nine volumes.
Curtis owns volumes I-VIII of the first series, but online versions can be found on the web by searching Google Books. We think that while it is great to discover information on the web, there is nothing like perusing the original printed books.
Documentary History of the State of Maine was begun by the society in 1869. (“Second Series” is included in the title, which is a little confusing because there is also a Second Series of Collections of the Maine Historical Society.) This collection of volumes, 24 in all, includes the Trelawney Papers, Baxter Manuscripts and Farnham Papers.
The series begins with the age of discovery and includes “History of Discovery of Maine” by J. G. Kohl. Also included are articles on colonization, and Richard Hakluyt’s “Discourse Concerning Western Planting” written in 1584. This document is an important contribution to the knowledge of early voyages to the New World.
The Trelawney Papers give an account of a fishing and trading colony in Maine in the 1630s and 1640s. The colony was managed by John Winter, for his father-in-law, Robert Trelawney, and Trelawney’s partner Moses Goodyear, and was located on Richmond’s Island off Cape Elizabeth.
Curtis has all 24 volumes of the Documentary History of the State of Maine, Second Series. Many of the documents are fascinating reads. Who knows, you might even stumble across an ancestor or two in these accounts.