For vital records from 1892 to the present, please contact the Vital Records Office (DHHS) at 207-287-3771.
The Maine State Archives has many record groups containing information which can be of use to those pursuing family history. These records, many of them on microfilm, can be viewed by the public in our Research Room.
The registration of vital records in the State of Maine dates back, in some towns, to the Seventeenth Century. When seeking records for family research in Maine, the important date to remember is 1892. This was the year in which a comprehensive state-wide system of vital records registration was incorporated. Not only were more records kept from that time on, but records began to bear more information, such as parent's names, occupation, and places of birth.
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. Marriages and death records, for example, rarely listed parent's names or the party's place of birth. Some towns kept good records, some kept no records, and some kept adequate records only to have them lost to fire, flood, or storage in private homes.
In the 1920's, the State requested copies of pre-1892 vital records from the towns, to which only about 20 percent responded. Those for which the Archives has these Towns are on the Delayed Vital Records Microfilm.
The Maine State Archives has become one of the centers to which the state's vital records, both originals and copies, have been gathered.
Genealogical Resources in the Maine State Archives (doc) - gives a list of some of the types of records available for genealogical research.
- Archives Digital Records on Family Search - To access these records: create a free account; click Search, then Catalog; search by Last Names, Titles, Subjects or Keywords. Family Search resources include:
- Military Records
Maine military records, 1700-1940; Maine militia records, 1812-1814, 1820-1850; Maine World War I records, 1917-1919;
Maine, Civil War military rolls, Maine Volunteers, 1861-1866; Maine, Lincoln County, Revolutionary War, pensioners applications, 1820-1824, 1818-1824; Veterans cemetery records
- Maine Naturalization Records by County 1800-1990 – including Declarations of Intention and Petitions
- Court Records
Maine, Common Court of Pleas
Franklin County, 1838-1839; Hancock County, 1790-1839; Kennebec County, 1799-1838; Oxford County, 1805-1840; Penobscot County, 1816-1839; Somerset County, 1809-1839; Washington County, 1791-1822; York County, 1695-1800
York County, record of the courts, 1636-1852
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Franklin County, 1839-1927; criminal records, 1859-1927; equity records, 1891-1927; executions, 1883-1928; Hancock County, 1801-ca. 1931; Kennebec County, 1799-1929; Knox County, 1860-1929; Oxford County, 1821-1833; Penobscot County, 1903-1927; equity records, 1926-1928; Sagadahoc County, 1854-1929; equity records, 1903-1957; Somerset County, 1821-1929; Waldo County, 1828-1899; Washington County, 1821-1929; case files, 1821-1891; York County, 1798-1929; equity records, 1913-1918
- District Court
Franklin County, Western District, 1840-1852; Hancock County; Kennebec County, Middle District, 1839-1852; Oxford County, Western District, 1840-1851; Penobscot County, 1839-1852; Somerset County, Middle District, 1839-1852; Washington County, Eastern District, 1839-1848; case files, 1839-1852
- Maine, Hancock County, court index
- Probate records (Norridgewock, Maine); Probate records (Skowhegan, Maine); Probate records (Somerset County, Maine), 1810-1916
- Military Records
Civil War Records
- Civil War Sesquicentennial - stories and primary source records of Maine Civil War soldiers
- Civil War Officer Photos - CDVs currently available to view on MSL/Digital Commons
- Other Civil War Records - information available from our website
Due to limited resources, Maine State Archives staff cannot undertake genealogical research for patrons. The incomplete, unindexed nature of pre-1892 vital records does not allow us to search them for specific information.
A list of local professional genealogists, not connected with the Maine State Archives, will do more extensive research for a fee.
- Getting Started on Your Family Tree (doc) - Tips to prepare and plan your research.
- National Resources to Start Your Research
- Starting Genealogy and Family History Research - from the National Archives
- Beginning Genealogy - sponsored by MyFamily.com, Inc.
- Treasure Maps - The How-To Genealogy Site - contains tutorials, guides and links to resources
- What To Do (doc)
- Alternative resources if you can't get to the Maine State Archives
- Maine State Library - The researcher may wish to begin by consulting records in the Maine State Library, (also in the Cultural Building), where many published town and family histories, microfilmed newspapers, and much more material can be found.
- Also available on the Maine State Library web site are Genealogy newsletters, web resources and upcoming classes.
- Maine Historical Society