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.