Special Collections Subject Guide: Genealogy
Special Collections has a number of resources of interest to those doing research in genealogy and family history.
Photocopying is available at various coin-operated machines in the library. Copy cards may also be purchased for use with the machines. Unless items are too fragile, we permit non-flash photography, which provides an option to capture images at no charge.
We recommend that all search quests begin with the library’s URSUS Catalog. This is particularly important as most of the department’s manuscript collections are kept in the library’s off-site storage building. Please email or call the department at least one week in advance if your catalog search reveals something in which you are interested that has 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.”
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
- Marriage records–Maine
- Registers of births, etc.–Maine
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 within the Reference collection on the first floor.
Here’s the full breakdown:
Library of Congress Classification: CS
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
Here are a few of the library’s databases that may be of particular interest:
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, and there is a workstation in the Special Collections Reading room.
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 URSUS Catalog for individual county or town listings.
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 URSUS 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:
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 URSUS Catalog can be searched by subject in this way:
[Place name] (Me.)–Maps
Penobscot County (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 of an alum or staff member 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.
Contact Special Collections
For more information, contact:
- Special Collections Department, 5729 Fogler Library, Orono, ME 04469-5729
- phone: 207.581.1686
- email: um.library.spc @ maine.edu