|Maine Archives Interactive|
Tips for Searching Maine Archives Interactive
Maine Archives Interactive offers two approaches to finding records at the Maine State Archives. The General Search is a reference for the types of records available ( e.g., bills introduced in the legislature); the other approach searches a limited number of specific records, providing information about a particular legislative bill, map, document, or photograph .
The General Search, conducted automatically, will provide leads in addition to those found in the particular indexes noted below. It provides information primarily about records created by State agencies, searchable by 1) the name of the agency (department, bureau, division, commission, etc.), 2) general descriptions of the records (corporate charters, court records, field notes, township files), and 3) by specific descriptions with phrases such as "York County court cases," "copy of title and survey," bonds, deeds, etc.
Some of these records are at the State Archives. Others are under the control of the State agency that created them. That distinction will be noted on the results you see.
Results from this Guide usually do not refer to a specific record. Rather they indicate the existence of Audit Reports - County or Audit Reports - Superior and District Courts for specific years, records of the now defunct Executive Council containing information about pardons, or records about State departments.
Searching for Specific Records
The second type of search will return information on specific records that have been individually indexed and that are in the Archives. Since the Archives has over 93 million documents, this includes only a small proportion - about 200,000 - of them. After selecting one or all of these indexes (maps, photos, legislation, etc.), you can search them by keywords or phrases.
If you want to know if the Archives has either photos or maps of Farmington, select the photo and the map indexes and search on Farmington.
Searching with Words or Phrases Generally
Using a single search term will undoubtedly return a huge number of hits, many unrelated to your interest. An initial strategy might be to search by several words or phrases: court and York; Bangor and bridge; mental health and "children.
It is extremely unlikely that a personal name, other than that of a public figure, will return information of interest. If unsure of a person's name, select the last name only.
Since State agency names change and the same names are expressed differently (AMHI, Augusta Mental Health, Augusta Mental Health Institute, the State Insane Hospital), the researcher must be imaginative in the search process. Using an acronym only (CAP or NRC) may give unexpected results (Civil Air Patrol and Community Action Program, or Natural Resources Council and Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and miss those entries where the acronym was not used. As our experience with this system matures, the Archives will provide guidance on alternate search terms.
Consider using and as well as &: e.g., IF&W, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Assuming one wishes to determine what State records exist regarding a particular subject, consider the following sample search terms (search disregards capitalization):
Tips for Particular Indexes
(These tips supplement the brief descriptions found on the welcome page .) Entering a town name in indexes with a "town" field will return all records for that town.
The search is conducted on the "title" and "summary" fields. Terms may be a personal name, the name of a town or city, or a subject, such as "pardon," "pension," "canal," or "militia."
The primary search is on the title of the legislation. Avoid the words act or law which appear in most titles. To find businesses, consider terms such as incorporate, company since related titles are phrased as An Act to incorporate the XXX company. Annually, an act was passed to change the legal name of many people who had applied for that privilege. The words name AND change should find these items.Miscellaneous Filings of Municipal Records
The search is conducted on the "town" and "description" fields. Township names are abbreviated, so Township 11 Range 1 WELS should be entered as T. 11 R. 01 WELS .
Municipal Records on Microfilm
The search is conducted on the "town" and "content" fields. The content field indicates the types of records on a film: cemetery, church, militia, or other types of town records.Court Cases
The key fields search offense, names and residences of plaintiffs and defendants. A list of common offenses is available HERE.
The key fields search the name of the town, the surveyor, and the description field. Descriptions contain words such as "cemetery," "public lot," and "mill." Township names are abbreviated, so Township 11 Range 1 WELS should be entered as T (space) 11 (space) R (space) 1 (space) WELS .
The primary search is on the descriptive name given the photograph based on its content, e.g., two men fishing in a canoe with a dog. One may also search on a broad theme such as agriculture, fishing, industry, etc.
All images are generated in an 8" x 10" standard photograph copy format. For special orders, please contact Archives.
The primary search is on the descriptive name given the film or video, based on its content.
Maine Towns Legal Histories
A search on the name of the town, city or plantation will return a chronological listing of the dates of the following: status prior to organization or incorporation (if available), organization or incorporation, name changes, ceding or acquiring land, changes in status (plantation, town, city).
Newspapers in Maine
This search is generated by entering the title, town, or county of newspaper publication in the "Search for" box. Choose a "Search Type" from the dropdown list, and, if desired, years of publication in the form, for example, 1850-1950, or 1917, or 1900, 1905, 1910.
To list all newspapers published in a Maine city or town, select "Town of Publication " as the "Search Type," and enter the town name in the "Search for" box: "Augusta" "Portland" "Camden".
To list newspapers published in a particular city outside Maine and held in a Maine repository, select "Town of Publication" as the "Search Type," and enter the city name followed by a comma in the "Search for" box: "Boston," "New York," "Chicago,". If the city is also the name of a Maine town, both will be listed.
To list all newspapers published outside Maine and held in a Maine repository, select "County of Publication " as the "Search Type," and enter "Not Maine" in the "Search for" box.
Results will return a listing of the repository locations for these holdings. Entering a specific year, list of years, or range of years, may narrow searches. If you need to broaden your search, try fewer words in the title Search box, use the county instead of the town, or broaden the date search.
The years of publication are given in the results. A year with no brackets is a certain year of publication; a year in brackets indicates that the actual publication year is not known, but that year is the earliest/latest found by this newspaper project.
Dates of holdings are coded according to OCLC standards. The range of dates is expressed using the format "YYYY:MM:DD-DD,DD," where YYYY is year, MM is month, and DD is day of the month. Thus 1917:1:3-5:23, 6:6/27, 7:11-8:15 may be read as 1917: January 3-May 23; June 6-27; July 11-August 15. The listing 1930:12:3-1931:2:4 may be read as 1930: December 3 through 1931: February 4.