Discovering Maine history and Maine genealogy

Discovering Maine history and Maine genealogy

Do you have ancestors from Maine? If so, we're envious! Recently, we took our son on a college tour to the great state of Maine, using up some credit card miles to cover travel expenses. It was a special chance to spend some quality time with him before he leaves the proverbial nest.

It was also an opportunity to see yet another beautiful and historical area of New England. Central Maine and Penobscot Bay are truly spectacular. We've included some photos on our Facebook page from the colorful town of Belfast, Maine, in the midcoast area of the state.

New England in the late 1700s and early 1800s was a maritime stronghold, famed for shipbuilding, whaling, and international trade. This was the age of sail, and even smaller towns like Belfast could succeed with a good harbor, fast schooners, and hard-working people who were willing to be away for months or even years to make their fortunes. Fishing was (and still is) an economic mainstay of the region. 

Maine fishermenBelfast boasts stately Greek Revival homes from that era, as well as Victorian-era storefronts. The nearby Penobscot Marine Museum has fascinating exhibits.

If you have ancestors from Maine, planning a trip to see their hometowns and your shared history can be a fun genealogy road trip this summer. We have included some resources below:

Penobscot Marine Museum

The mission of the Penobscot Marine Museum is to preserve, interpret and celebrate the maritime culture of the Penobscot Bay Region and beyond through collections, education, and community engagement.

Maine travel books

Frommer’s Maine Coast covers all of the region’s highlights, from the best beaches and lobster rolls to the most scenic places. Also covers small-town gems including York Village, Camden, Castine, and more.

Who are the Penobscot?


During the American Revolution, the Penobscot sided with the Patriots and played an important role in defending against British offensives from Canada. Anglo-American settlers continued to encroach on Penobscot lands and though the tribe attempted to make treaties in order to hold on to some of their lands, they were unsuccessful.

Maine genealogy resources

Do you have ancestors who hailed from Maine? Start on the research page of the Maine Genealogical Society. Before 1892, with a few exceptions, vital records registration occurred and remained on the town level, and the information on the records was generally sparser. The Maine State Archives also have online resources.

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