Portland Public Library’s mission is to serve the Greater Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, with access to information resources worldwide. The library’s services support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all community members.
The Portland Room is much more than a destination to research this region’s history, personal genealogies, rare books and archives, maps, or Portland newspapers. This unique set of resources is increasingly a destination for students and classroom groups of all ages to discover and be inspired.
Recently, we’ve been able to help the students and instructors from the Local Sprouts Cooperative, who made several visits to the Portland Room to study local history. The crew produced a story about the Ingraham House, and incorporated their findings- and one of their Portland Room adventures with maps, Capt. William Moulton Ingraham, and The Great Fire of 1866 into their latest Portland TV Show (video below), which is a set of short (often hilarious) films. The section called “Carriage House,” begins at the 22:50 mark. We all had a great time, and our Local Sprouts neighbors will surely be back to the Library for more !
Yes, it’s that time of the year! Here are a few images from a recent exhibit in the Portland Room, displaying books from our collections on the topic of education and schools. We focused on the old-fashioned “3 R’s.”
A primer, a math book, and a slide rule
Reading and writing books
Portland school reports, with an old Portland Public Library card
Among our most popular queries here in the Portland Room- whether by phone, by e-mail, and certainly in person- are genealogical questions. People research their family roots for many reasons, discovering anew while searching historic depths. Sometimes the search begins with a family story- or an old photo. Are there names? Dates? Places? Is there something in the picture that helps place it (such as the church wall inscription in the picture below).
Norwegian family wedding in Portland, 1938.
Family researchers can apply tools that include printed books and serials, as well as electronic databases. The printed genealogical materials in the Portland Room are focused on the Portland area. The databases reach further afield. Here are a few of the tools that are used here on a daily basis:
Printed books and serials specializing in Maine and Portland. This category includes microfilmed Portland newspapers reaching back to the late 18th century and filmed Maine State Vital Records reaching up to 1955.
An example of a Portland City Directory. Notice the jobs of the people listed are indicated with their names and addresses. Any “cordwainers” in the family?
Ancestry.com is available at any computer inside the Library. This is a set of databases that has numerous search capabilities. Great place to start.
Heritage Quest is another set of databases which includes a US Census search. Heritage Quest can be accessed from home, with your Portland Public Library card barcode number.
Additional genealogy web site links here.