Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Looking into one’s family genealogy is common these days and historical societies are often contacted for information. In the last month or so, the Millinocket Historical Society has seen genealogy seekers from Washington state and Alaska, had a phone call from Oregon and received several emails seeking help finding information on relatives who lived in Millinocket many years ago. Local area residents have also visited seeking family information.
When a query comes to MHS, there are several resources we go to. Primary is the Millinocket Cemetery database (all stones have been photographed by volunteer/MHS asst. curator/secretary Leola Dubois) and is found on the MHS website. The Research/Genealogy Room also has a large collection of obituaries (paper copies & digitized). Other museum resources include: 1901 census, blocks & lots (lists early owners of homes & street numbers), school census books (1915-1938), numerous scrapbooks, town reports, yearbooks and more. Town reports and yearbooks are on searchable databases. Museum volunteers can help search these and hard copies of the latter may be searched by the museum visitor.
MHS president Rodney Gagnon recently did a video presentation and talk at the museum on the use of FamilySearch.org, a free online genealogy website. Their database is huge and is relatively easy to learn to use. Gagnon is a volunteer that organization and has the title FamilySearch Records Preservationist.
Other examples of genealogy queries in recent months have included a New Yorker searching for information on Lithuanian immigrants in Millinocket and some with questions on particular families. One query was from a lady doing research on towns with Little Italy sections for a presentation.
A walk-in a few weeks ago from Finland hoped to find information on a relative (Sirvio) who had come to the Millinocket area from “the old country” years before. Although we know there were Finnish families here, we were unable to help him. A few years ago, two siblings from Spain visited searching for a relative. An early 1900’s census check online found the gentleman living in a rooming house in East Millinocket.
We have had questions regarding local homes. Who built them? Who lived in the house we just purchased? In a few cases, new tenants have discovered bits and pieces of former owner’s lives in the walls and under the floorboards as renovations occur. The museum has original blueprints of a few homes on Eastland Avenue.
We are currently accepting real or digital copies of local genealogies and photos…some in the collection are a page or two while some fill one or more 3-ring binders. Consider adding a copy of your family history to the museum archives!