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Department of the Secretary of State - Maine State Archives

General Search

Whenever you conduct a search, the system will also search a very broad index to records controlled directly or indirectly by the Archives. It includes all record series (groups of records such as automobile titles, corporate charters, bills introduced, etc.) either in the State Archives or currently under the authority of other State agencies. In addition to reports on specific database searches, an accompanying report will indicate other records that may be of interest, including the agency that created the records, the title and description of the record series, how long the records must be kept, and where to find them.

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Executive Council Records 1820 - 1840

This indexes the Executive Council Records from 1820 to 1840. The Executive Council assisted and advised the Governor on a wide variety of issues. State officials such as the Adjutant General, State Treasurer, Indian Agents and Land Agent filed their reports with the Council, as did the various County Treasurers. The Executive Council approved changes to the makeup of the militia system, recommended approval of pardons, and received reports of election results. The Council also had the financial responsibility of approving the payment of pensions and bills for various expenditures such as construction of roads, work on State buildings, education of the blind and deaf, etc.The index is composed of subject heading, description, year and file number.

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Legislation 1820-1865

The Legislative Index provides access to all of the Legislative records from 1820 to 1865. The Legislative records include all of the laws that have been passed, including Public Laws, Private and Special Laws and Resolves, as well as records from the Legislative Graveyard (the requests for laws that did not pass the Legislature). Information that can be found in this index includes laws governing the everyday life of the people of Maine (marriage, criminal activity, rules of the road), as well as incorporation of towns and businesses, people's requests for change of name, boundary changes, etc. In these records, you can also follow Maine's attempts to deal with many of the social issues that demanded their attention, such as slavery and prohibition. This index is composed of a subject heading, description, type of record (Resolve, Graveyard, etc.), year, and file number.

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Miscellaneous Filings of Municipal Records

The Miscellaneous Town Record Index is a collection of records found throughout many different State Agency files, including the Secretary of State, Adjutant General, Land Office, etc. Whenever records pertaining to a town were found, we entered the information into this database. The information covered by this index is as varied as the Agencies that collected the data. Information may include birth, marriage and death records, correspondence from towns during the Civil War, town boundaries, bounties paid on animals, pauper accounts, 1859 ship valuations, and photographs of public work projects during the depression, to mention just a sample. The fields in this index include the town, dates covered, description of the record, file number, and the source (Agency) that collected the information.

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Court Cases

This index is a result of combining 3 Court Indexes. They are Kennebec County Supreme Judicial Court (1799-1850), Washington County District Court (1839-1845), and York County Court of Common Pleas and Sessions (1695-1760). Searches can be done by the name of the Plaintiff or Defendant, Residence, or cause of the case (Debt, Murder, Divorce, Naturalization, etc.). The result of the search lists which Court, the Court Session (date), Cause, name, role (plaintiff or defendant), residence and vol/page where the case can be found. (Note to InforME - the result of the search should also list the other
person involved in a case (plaintiff or defendant) and the location (box & folder # where the original papers can be found). The Washington County Court index includes an index of people filing depositions in various cases Table: Court Depositions that might be included in a search.)

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The map index provides access to more than 8000 maps in the Maine State Archives holdings. These maps come from various agencies, such as the Land Office, Legislature and various courts. The data fields shown include the town, year, surveyor, description of information on the map, and the source (Agency) of the map. Searches can be made on all of these fields.

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Town Microfilms

The Archives has over 700 microfilm reels of town records, the vast majority of them having been filmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 1950's. The records of the earlier Maine towns date back to the seventeenth century and the microfilmed records for most of the towns end in the 1890's. They consist primarily of births, marriages, deaths, and marriage intentions but in some instances include town meeting and business matters.

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Various state agencies such as Agriculture and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have deposited motion picture films at the Archives. Those appearing in this index are now available for viewing in the Research Room. The subject matter ranges from fishing promotion in Maine to former Governor Edmund Muskie playing ping pong, to Richard Nixon meeting with state dignitaries.

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State of Maine Minor Civil Divisions Legal History Resources

This index traces the legal evolution from 1652 to 2000 of minor civil divisions from township, to plantation, to town or city, and sometimes back to township. It includes town, city, and plantation names (past and present), names of villages within them, dates and types of changes (incorporation, change of name, change of boundary, etc.).

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These photographs are primarily scenic images taken by George French for himself and the Department of Economic Development (1920's-1950's); and photo images of Maine Senate Presidents from portraits and photographs (1820-1980's). Virtually all are black and white. Only a small fraction of the 7,000 images indexed (approximately 200) have been scanned to provide examples of the collection's content.

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Newspapers in Maine

This database is the result of a statewide survey conducted in 1995-98. Cataloguing teams visited repositories (libraries, museums, and historical societies) and viewed and catalogued newspaper holdings. Records will be updated as time permits, but researchers should contact repositories before visiting to be sure that the newspapers are still available.

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