May 24, 2018

Newsletters allow genies to keep current

By Roxanne Saucier, Special to the BDN

Unless you still live in your hometown, you may find it difficult to get to meetings of the historical society there. Fortunately, many societies, other organizations and individuals compile newsletters that can help you stay in touch — and in the know — about both society activities and the latest information on the area’s genealogy.

The summer newsletter of the Abbot Historical Society contained Henry Race’s account of harvesting ice on Piper Pond, as well as an 1859 letter from Harriet (Graves) Cole to her daughter, Fernanda, an item shared by Kaye Roberts Sakahara.

The newsletter also let me know that the society now has a building — the Knights of Pythias Hall behind the Civil War monument, open 1-4 p.m. Sundays this summer. The group is accepting donations toward the building fund for repairs — the goal is $50,000 — and is also looking for copies of old family farms, diaries, journals, family stories and genealogy for its collection.

Membership to the society — including the newsletter — is $5, payable to Abbot Historical Society, P.O. Box 65, Abbot, ME 04406.

A newsletter that spans both sides of a national border is a great idea, so I was impressed to find out that Sharon Howland and Kenneth Willey are editing one for Washington County, Maine, and Charlotte County, New Brunswick. The WKRP Report covers the “Washington and Charlotte County Records Preservation,” and offers a variety of information on books, genealogy fairs, Web sites and a list of people with “research in progress” on particular families.

Rather than charging a set fee, the newsletter accepts donations, sent to Sharon Howland, 15 Summer St., Apt. 1, Waltham, MA 02452-6147. You may also e-mail Sharon at, and Kenneth at

Sharon has also compiled useful books on Washington County history. Write her for information on “Vital Records of Alexander, Maine.” “Calais Vital Records Prior to 1892” is temporarily out of print, but Picton Press will reprint it when there is enough interest, so you can write Sharon about that, as well. Proceeds from both books benefit the Washington County Records Preservation Fund.

Membership to the Ste. Agathe Historical Society — $8 a year or $40 for a lifetime membership — includes a subscription to that society’s newsletter. It always includes interesting articles on families and individuals from the Aroostook County town on Long Lake. Active for several years, the group runs its historical house on Main Street, participated in the recent town centennial, and published a history to mark that anniversary, “Centenaire de St. Agatha.” You may write the society at P.O. Box 237, St. Agatha, ME 04772.

If your town or organization publishes a newsletter of interest to genealogists, send me a copy and we’ll be glad to let our readers know about it.

Ken Dill from Meriden, Conn., has sent information about a Web site he likes for getting on free mailing lists for different topics by state. He suggests checking maillist/us/index.html. Then click on the state you want — I looked at Maine, and found several mailing lists I could subscribe to by county.

For surname lists, use the same address, leaving off the us/index.html. You may e-mail Ken at

2867. ABBOTT. Seek info for Charles Abbott family in Lowell, Mass., and identity of his parents of Milford. His wife was b. 1833 in Maine. Was son of Ichabod and Phebe Abbott, md. 1835 in Bangor? E. Wescott, RR2 Box 920-202, Bucksport, ME 04416.

2868. PACKARD-KETCHUM-FOY. Seeking parentage of David Packard, b. March 6, 1809, around Monmouth. Removed by 1840 to Bridgewater, where he md. Mary F. Ketchum, b. Aug. 27, 1823, d. May 9, 1910. She was daughter of Joseph H. Ketchum, 1799-1876, and his wife, Elizabeth Foy, 1800-1864. David died by 1880, presumably in Bridgewater, where he was a prominent farmer. Where are he and Mary buried? Sandra B. Leighton, P.O. Box 703, Mars Hill, ME 04758.

2869. CAPEN-DOUGHTY-HAWKHURST. Seek info on, and children of, George Albert Capen and wife Mary Doughty, md. 1895. He was born ca. 1870, possibly Coal Creek, Queens County, New Brunswick; said to have moved to Old Town ca. 1910. He d. 1922 in Old Town. Believe he was son of Howard and Phebe (Hawkhurst) Capen. My line is from Howard’s brother, Roland. Would like to exchange info. Postage returned. Lida S. Bryant, 2802 Albin Drive, San Antonio, TX 78209-3007.

2870. AROOSTOOK COUNTY. Have come across several references to legal proceedings in old deeds, 1840-1860. How can I find the details of these court cases in Aroostook County? In Houlton? Would like to have address. At 85, I can no longer drive to Houlton. Dorothy A. Wilson, East Wind Village, 14 Windsor Ave. Apt. E-18, Plainfield, CT 06374.

Send queries with Maine connections to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail Full name and mailing address of sender is required even if e-mail is used.

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