Ancestry.com has added collections of Maine birth, marriage and death records with images dating from the earliest days of European settlement to 1922. The description of each collection notes that "records were not standardize[d] and therefore are sparsely recorded" prior to 1892, but that the records from 1892-1922 are "comprehensive."

 

 

Update: Here's a glimpse at what you can find in these collections.

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Amazing! These are the same records that I spent hours searching for on microfilm at New Engalnd Historic Genealogical Library in Boston last summer. What happened to the new Maine law restricting records?
Good question. These records were microfilmed and distributed long before the law went into effect, and the microfilms apparently are still available through the Family History Library. The state can prevent town clerks and the state archives from allowing access to these records in the future, but I don't know what they can do to limit access through third parties like Ancestry.com or NEHGS. Which just underlines how foolish and overreaching the law was to begin with.

Yes, NEHGS said they had no intention of giving up their film. They told me of a court case in another state. The state tried to take vital records from a library after a new law was passed and the court sided with the library and they were allowed to keep the records.

I have recently found that some town offices don't go by the new law.

I just want to mention that the Ancestry Maine marriage records are missing the back page that gives info on the parents. Also, the death record is missing the back page that gives the place of burial.

  

I've been exploring the databases for the first time this evening, and found that the back pages are usually found on the next image. Ancestry.com probably should have mentioned that.
Yes, I just figured that out. Thanks
I have a notarized copy of my father's birth certificate (b. 24 Dec 1916) from Portland, Maine, but can't find his birth in the Maine VR through 1922. That's not a problem, however, my great grandmother had 6 children all of them born in Freeport before 1901, and I can only locate records for 3. My grandmother is not among them. Do you have any suggestions?

I don't have an Ancestry subscription at the moment, but is this your father?

 

I can't explain why your great-grandmother's children don't appear in Maine VRs. Some births recorded at the town and city level were never returned to the state. Birth records for illegitimate children are withheld by the state, but presumably that shouldn't be the case for your grandmother. The most common reason for missing records is misfiling or misindexing. The Ancestry indexes are full of errors, so one has to be creative in constructing searches. Do all of your great-grandmother's children appear in Freeport town records?

I think that two of the missing children on the Maine birth index probably have their information withheld  because they were twins who were given up to the Home for Friendless Boys at birth in 1897. One appears on the 1900 federal census living at the home as a 3-year-old. They twins were Nicholas Woodman and Philip Richard Woodman. Thanks, for locating that other record. That was, indeed, my father. I can't find the following Woodman children: Mabel Elizabeth, b. abt. Jan 1900.  She is my grandmother and has the record I'd most like to find. Charles Chester b. 1891 also is missing. I did find Gladys Belle b. 15 Dec 1900, George K. b. 25 Jul 1895 d. 11 Sep 1898, and Leslie b. 3 Oct 1896 d.13 May 1898. Are the Freeport town records online or do I have to write for them. All 6 of the children were born at their paternal grandparents' home (Samuel K. Coffin and Elizabeth F. Winslow) in Freeport.

Birth records were hit or miss prior to 1892, and weren't required to be returned to the state, but Charles may show up in Freeport town records. Here's how to contact the town clerk.

 

I wonder if Mabel's birth record was, for some reason, withheld with the others. If so, you might have better luck getting a copy from the town than from the state.

Ijust located Mabel Woodman's notarized birth certificate in an overlooked file that I received it from the Freeport Deputy Town Clerk last December. Time to reorganize my files! Ms. Howe also sent records for Mabel's grandfather (Sam'l Coffin) both his birth and death and also Thomas W. Winslow (Mabel's great-great grandfather). Thanks for your endless patience. It is very much appreciated.

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