Recent Genealogy Posts:

You are the first to know…

 We have some great news for local historians and genealogists!  Thanks to the generosity of the Alfred M. Senter Fund and an anonymous library donor, Curtis Library has started digitizing its collection of microfilms of the Times Record (in earlier versions called The Brunswick Record and The Brunswick Telegraph).  The newspaper is now digitized from 1853 through 1964.  We will soon be starting phase 2 of the project to continue digitizing up through 1977.

You can access the new database at:  You will know you are in the right place because it will say “Welcome to our community history archive”.

The database is free and accessible to all.  You can do a detailed search or browse by title or year.  The database will show you those “hits” that have the most iterations of your search terms (just keep in mind that the hits are not provided based on date like many databases).  When you find a hit that looks right, click on it and it will take you to the actual newspaper page.

The “Resources” tab at the top of the page is a great place to go for more information or call us at the library.

Thank you to the financial support from our donors that has made this project a possibility for our community!


By |September 14th, 2020|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

New genetic genealogy tools

If you uploaded your DNA testing to MyHeritage or took their DNA test, you might want to check out some new tools that they have added to their site.

The first resource that I found particularly useful was the Chromosome browser.  This tool allows you to compare your DNA test to others who have been identified as DNA matches to you.

The goal of mapping is to use known relationships and their DNA to identify unknown relationships.  So, I might map two cousins whose relationship to my family has been identified.  Then I can add other DNA relationships to see if they triangulate, meaning we all share common DNA.  This will then let me confirm from which branch of my family tree that individual is descended.  The next step would be to compare family trees and see if I can figure out the shared ancestor.  Several of the genealogy companies offer this service but I found this one particularly easy to use.

The second tool is called AutoClusters.  This is an automatic tool that bunches your DNA matches into “clusters” of individuals who are likely to have descended from a common ancestor.  In essence this tool does a lot of work for you in making matches.  You have to request that this be done and then the results are emailed to you.  I just did this and now I’m waiting so we’ll see how it goes.  I’ll report back if I discover anything fascinating.

Happy research!

By |March 1st, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

How to attend RootsTech and never leave home

For many years I’ve wanted to go to the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City.  I am always interested in learning new genealogy research skills and I would love to see what I might discover at the Family History Library with its amazing compendium of genealogy resources.  Unfortunately, getting out of Maine at the end of February can be dicey because of winter storms so I haven’t made the trip yet.

However, I did just discover that now a great deal of the Conference can be viewed online so I can at least attend virtually!  If you go to there is a schedule of programs that will be live-streamed so that you can view them for free on your computer as they are happening.  Check out the list and mark your calendar (and don’t forget the time difference).  A number of classes will also be recorded and made available on the RootsTech archives page after the event.

Finally, if you want more than the live-streamed programs, RootsTech is also offering a “virtual pass” for $129.  The pass will provide access to 18 online recorded sessions.  Here’s where you can find information about this option –

I will definitely be looking at the free live-stream sessions and may even splurge for the virtual pass.  I hope you have a chance to check some of this out.  It all sounds like a great learning opportunity.  Happy research!

By |February 8th, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

Try something new

This is probably due to both my age and how I learn but I have never been a big podcast consumer.  I learn primarily through reading and taking notes and I’ve never found it easy to remember things that I hear versus hear and see.

However, one of my goals for 2019 is to learn about podcasts.  They are hugely popular with people in the 20-45 age group.  Those are people we want to use the library so we librarians need to understand and appreciate what is important to them.  To that end I’ve started investigating the universe of podcasts.

I’ve learned from my research that podcasts do have an appeal for me.  There are about a million genealogy-focused podcasts “out there” that have all sorts of interesting information for any genealogist.  I can listen and get ideas for my genealogy research while I’m cleaning house or doing the laundry or walking my dog.  Given that multi-tasking is critical to having some degree of order in my universe, I’m now beginning to get the appeal of podcasts!

I thought I would share the names of several of the genealogy podcasts that I’ve encountered and encourage you to try them also, especially if you have never listed to one before.  First, let’s talk about how you can listen:

  • If you have a Mac or iPad or iPhone, go to the iTunes store. In the upper left corner of the store site, you will see a place where you can click and chose music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, or audiobooks.  Click on podcasts.  You can then search on genealogy or put in any of the following specific podcast names just to get you started:
    • The Genealogy Gems Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke. Lisa is a well-known family historian and her podcasts has lots of great information about the best websites, resources, and practices that will enhance your genealogy research.
    • The Genealogy Guys. Includes news from the genealogy community, book and software reviews, guest interviews, and some fun chatting.
    • Genealogy Happy Hour.  “A place where new family historians can learn how to document their family histories and celebrate their new discoveries.”
  • The easiest way to listen to a podcast on a pc is to open your web browser and go directly to the page for the podcast. You will see a play button on the page (usually for the most recent podcast) and you can listen right from your computer.  Here are the links for the above podcasts:

I hope you spend a few minutes to check out these resources.  Happy research!

By |February 1st, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

Below are links to some genealogy resources – please note that HeritageQuest requires a Portland Public Library (PPL) card. For information on getting a PPL card (all Cumberland County residents are eligible), click here. Curtis Library has a card and can use it to get you access when you are in the library. Access to American Ancestors is through Curtis Library’s subscription and can only be used from inside the library.

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