Special Collections Subject Guide: Genealogy

Special Collections has a number of resources of interest to those doing research in genealogy and family history.

General Information

We recommend that all searches begin with the library’s LibrarySearch Catalog.  Here are some of the subject headings you may want to try:

  • The names of individuals (searching last name first, both as an Author and as a Subject)
  • Family names (like “Clark family,” for example)
  • [Town Name] (Me.)–Genealogy
  • Maine–Genealogy
  • Marriage records–Maine
  • Registers of births, etc.–Maine
  • Cemeteries–Maine
  • Diaries
  • Women–diaries

If your catalog search reveals something with a location of “ORO Special Collections Annex,” or a note in the record that says, “Kept at Fogler Library’s offsite storage facility. One week’s notice required for retrieval,” please email or call the department at least one week in advance.

If browsing the library’s stacks, note that all items with call numbers that begin CS are related to genealogy.  This is true in the Special Collections shelves, the general stacks, and in the Reference collection on the first floor.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Library of Congress Classification: CS

CS1-3090 Genealogy

CS23-35 Genealogical lists, etc., covering more than one country or continent
CS38-39 Family history covering more than one country
CS42-2209 By region or country
CS2300-3090 Personal and family names


While DigitalCommons and HathiTrust are available to anyone with computer access anywhere, some of these electronic resources are licensed by Fogler Library.  Access from off-site is limited to students, faculty, and staff of the University of Maine, but those who visit the library in-person may access them while here.  There are computer stations on the first floor that do not require a log-in.

Here are a few of the library’s databases that may be of particular interest:

American Ancestors

Ancestry.com (Library Edition)

HathiTrust Digital Library

MyHeritage (Library Edition)


Nineteenth Century U. S. Newspapers

Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History in DigitalCommons@UMaine

Special Collections in DigitalCommons@UMaine

Maine City, Town, County, and Regional Histories

Special Collections contains virtually all available printed materials on Maine communities.  This includes community histories, city and town directories, periodicals, town reports, etc.  Check the library catalog for individual county or town listings.

Many town reports have been scanned in an ongoing project of Fogler Library and Maine State Library and added to DigitalCommons@UMaine.

Family Histories

Special Collections does not collect comprehensively in this area but information on various Maine families can be found in both our book and manuscript collections. Check the library catalog using a family name as a subject.


Fogler Library holds a large collection of Maine newspapers in hard copy and microfilm.  In many cases, reels of microfilm are available through Interlibrary Loan.  Check with your favorite local library to see if they participate in ILL and whether they could place a request on your behalf.

A joint effort between Special Collections and the Microforms Department resulted in the following lists to provide information about Fogler Library’s newspaper holdings:

Maine Newspapers arranged by title

Maine Newspapers arranged by location of publisher

The Maine State Library in Augusta is also currently working on digitizing and sharing Maine’s historic newspapers.  Watch for the digital collection to grow at the Maine Newspaper Project in Digital Maine.


Special Collections holds copies of many maps that show property boundaries and names of early settlers as well as the popular atlases, often referred to as the “Colby atlases” that were published in the 1870s and 1880s.  We also have an extensive collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps for Maine (several of which have been made available online in DigitalCommons@UMaine.)

The department’s maps were cataloged with subject headings so that the library catalog can be searched by subject in this way:

[Place name] (Me.)–Maps

Penobscot County (Me.)–Maps

Eastport (Me.)–Maps

There are also many maps held within our manuscript collections.  The search box on the left of our Finding Aids area allows for searching across the contents of these collections.

Researching University of Maine Alumni, Faculty, and Staff

Special Collections holds files on deceased alumni and faculty members of the university.  Originally compiled by the Alumni Association and the Human Resource Department, typical files contain biographical information, obituaries, and news clippings.  Contact Special Collections if there is a name you would like us to check.

We also have alumni and staff directories, Prism yearbooks (also available online), and photographs and memorabilia from early classes.  Early University of Maine Catalogs typically included lists of students, alumni, and faculty.

Other Services and Organizations

The Maine State Library offers an Obituary Search Service for selected Maine newspapers for a small fee.  They also maintain a list of those who serve as Professional Genealogists in the State of Maine.

The Maine State Library also has a Genealogy Reference Specialist, B. J. Jamieson.  Sign-up to receive genealogy newsletters and event updates by providing your email on the right side of the Maine State Library Genealogy web page.

There is also an active Maine Genealogical Society.

Contact Special Collections

UMaine Special Collections & Archives, 5729 Fogler Library, Orono, ME, 04469-5729

phone: 207.581.1686 | email: um.library.spc@maine.edu