Maine Historical Society



Holdings of the Library at Maine Historical Society:

Sources relevant to genealogy research. This list is only a sampling.

On this page:   Catalogs & Indexes  | Published Genealogies  | Published Histories  | Reference Books  | Biographical Resources  | Lineage Society Records  | Vital Records  | Census Records  | Obituaries  | Cemetery Records  | Town Reports  | Directories  | School Records & Yearbooks  | Military Resources  | Periodicals  | Newspapers  | Land Records  | Probate, Wills, Court Records  | Voter Registrations  | Atlases, Maps, Gazetteers  | Church Records  | Immigration Records  | Manuscript Collections  | Databases & CDs  | Canadian Resources  | Ethnic Resources

Since 1822, Maine Historical Society has served as a nationally recognized research center for the study of the history of Maine and its people. Its collections are arranged in four categories: Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Museum, and the Wadsworth–Longfellow House & Garden.

Catalogs and indexes:

Published Genealogies

State, County, and Local Histories

We have a substantial collection of state, county and town histories for Maine and other communities throughout New England.

Reference Materials and Research Books

Over 1,000 genealogy and family history "how-to" books.

Biographical Resources

Lineage Society Records

Vital Records

United States

New England is the home of the oldest set of vital records in the United States. Most towns kept records of births, marriages, or deaths from their founding. Below is a sample of these records available in the Research Library.



Barbour Collection of 136 town vital records up to about 1850


Rhode Island

New Hampshire

Census Records

United States Federal Census

Canadian Federal Census

Census Indexes and Guides

A variety of census indexes are available for many states


1900–1941, 1964–1996

Maine obituaries from Portland area newspapers organized in chronological scrapbooks and indexed on cards


Maine obituaries from Portland area newspapers organized on index cards alphabetically

1997 — 2006

Maine obituaries from Portland area newspapers; index located on inhouse computers

Other published obituaries

Cemetery Records

National Society of the DAR

Maine cemetery inscriptions of many Revolutionary War soldiers; also includes church records, family bibles, and wills


Annual Town Reports

We have a substantial collection of town reports from all over Maine but primarily southern Maine. The collection is most complete since 1900. Town reports tell the activities of the town for that year and often contain vital records. Town reports are offsite and require one week's advance notice.


MHS has an extensive city directory collection for Maine, including:

City Directories

Other Directories

School Records and Yearbooks

School Records


We have a large collection of yearbooks from various schools and colleges in Maine, including:

Military Records



New Hampshire

Adjutant General's Report, New Hampshire, 1865, 1866, 1868




Maine History, formerly the Maine Historical Society Quarterly, 1961–present. Full Text searchable. Available to members online.

Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 1831–1916

The Maine Genealogist

York County Genealogical Society Journal

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847–present

National Genealogical Society Quarterly, 1912–present

The American Genealogist (TAG), 1922–Present

New York Genealogical & Biographical Record, 1869-present

Historical Journals

Ethnic Periodicals

Other Periodicals

Newspapers (originals, hard copy)

Newspapers (microfilm)

Land Records

Probate, Wills, and Court Records

Voter Registrations

Atlases, Maps, and Gazetteers

Maine Church Records

Immigration Records

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript holdings may be searched via Minerva. Here is a list of highlights.


Canadian Resources

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia


Ethnic Resources




Vertical Files

We have many clipping files related to Maine towns, subjects, and family names as well as ethnic groups such as, including: