Maine Genealogy & History Guide

Maine Genealogy Resources:





Maine quick facts:

  • Statehood:
    March 15, 1820
  • State Capital:
  • State Nickname:
    The Pine Tree State
  • State Bird:
  • State Song:
    "State of Maine Song"
  • State Flower:
     White pine cone and tassel
  • State Tree:
    Eastern White Pine
  • State Motto:
    "Dirigo" meaning I direct


Maine Genealogy Research Guide:

Maine Census Records:

The first Federal census for Maine was enumerated in 1790 and census enumerations occurred every 10 years thereafter.  The earliest census records (1790-1840 schedules) only listed the name of the head of household in each family and recorded only  numerical statistics for all other family members.  Starting with the 1850 census, all names in each family were listed, making them the best census resource for genealogical study, however make sure you review earlier census records as they will often reveal important genealogical clues.  The census chart below will help you learn what census is available for Maine genealogy research.

Maine Federal Census Years:

  • 1790
  • 1800
  • 1810
  • 1820
  • 1830
  • 1840
  • 1850
  • 1860
  • 1870
  • 1880 - Maine soundex index is available on microfilm.
  • 1890 census schedules were lost in a warehouse fire, however the 1890 Maine census of  Veterans and Widows did survive and may prove to be helpful as a census substitute.
  • 1900 - Maine soundex index is available on microfilm.
  • 1910
  • 1920 - Maine soundex index is available on microfilm.
  • 1930 - The U.S. government did not create a soundex index for the 1930 Maine census.

Other ME census schedules besides the regular population schedules we are familiar with include Mortality Schedules 1850-1880 (a list of people who died during the census year), Agricultural Schedules (farms), Manufacturing Schedules, Social Statistics Schedules, and Dependent, Defective, and Delinquent Schedules.

Maine state census records can be helpful to genealogy researchers.  In 1837,  a special state census was taken and can be viewed online at 1837 Maine State Census .  Keep in mind, the records and the transcription itself is incomplete.

Maine census substitutes: The 1890 Federal census schedule of Veterans and Widows survived a warehouse fire and is used as a census substitute for 1890, however it lists Union soldiers and their widows only so it is limited.

Maine Military Records:

US Military service records can be obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Your Maine ancestors may have fought in King Phillips War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Creek War, the Mexican War, the Civil War, The Spanish American War, WWI, or WWII.  If you are seeking military records prior to Maine statehood (1820), you will want to check the records for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Those records are located at the Archives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Boston.  Most military records and militia rolls are on file in the Maine State Archives.

Helpful Civil War Links:

Maine Vital Records:

For information on how and where to obtain both old or recent vital records see: Maine Vital Records.

Maine Genealogy Subscriptions Online:

Many websites with genealogy resources for Maine are available online. Some offer free ME genealogy databases and other information for the online researcher, but the paid subscription websites offer a much more consistent amount of quality data and offer free trials to that genealogy data.

1. Maine Genealogy Databases at Ancestry

          Get the Free Trial when you register!

2. offers genealogy databases, a library and U.S. Census Collection.

         FREE TRIAL of

Maine Pine ConeCondensed History of MaineMaine Pine Cone


The original inhabitants of what is today known as the state of Maine were the Indian tribes: The maliseet tribe, Passamaquoddy tribe, Abenaki tribe and the Penobscot tribe. 

The first confirmed explorer to reach  the coast of what is today known as the state of Maine was Giovanni da Verranzano in 1524. 

It wasn't until 1604 that the first recorded colony was established at the mouth of the St. Croix River by the French.  Their leader was Pierre du Guast Sieur de Monts.  In 1607, the British formed the Fort Popham Colony but the winter was too cold for the colony to last. 

In 1622, Sir Ferdinando Gorges gave a name to the Maine (Mayne) Territory which was made up of what is today known as New Hampshire and Maine. 

In 1652 Maine was annexed by Massachusetts.

Beginning in 1675, conflicts with the Indians begin with King Philip's War.  Wars and conflicts continued for almost 90 years between the French, British and the Indians when finally at the finish of the Seven Years War, England had control of the Maine Territory.

In 1820 Maine became it's own state.

MAINE HISTORY FACT: The first chartered town in America was York, Maine.  It was chartered in 1641.


  • George Bush, president.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet.
  • L. L. Bean, founder of the mail order, online and retail company.
  • Milton Bradley, American game pioneer.
  • Judd Nelson, actor.
  • Stephen King, author.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, author.
  • Patrick Dempsey, actor.
  • John Ford, director.
  • E. B. White, author.
  • Linda Lavin, actress.
  • William Cohen, author and politician.
  • Andrew Wyeth, artist.


Pine cone graphics courtesy of Santa Lady