Place:Maine, United States

Alt namesMEsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 1256
Coordinates45°N 69°W
Located inUnited States     (1820 - )
Also located inNew England, United States     (1820 - )
Contained Places
Androscoggin ( 1854 - )
Aroostook ( 1839 - )
Cumberland ( 1760 - )
Franklin ( 1838 - )
Hancock ( 1789 - )
Kennebec ( 1799 - )
Knox ( 1860 - )
Lincoln ( 1760 - )
Oxford ( 1805 - )
Penobscot ( 1816 - )
Piscataquis ( 1838 - )
Sagadahoc ( 1854 - )
Somerset ( 1809 - )
Waldo ( 1827 - )
Washington ( 1789 - )
York ( 1625 - )
Inhabited place
Meduncook (Friendship) ( February 25, 1807 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Maine is a state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest, respectively. Maine is the 12th-smallest by area, the 9th-least populous, the 13th-least densely populated, and the most rural of the 50 U.S. states. It is also the northeasternmost among the contiguous United States, the northernmost state east of the Great Lakes, the only state whose name consists of a single syllable, and the only state to border exactly one other US state. Approximately half the area of Maine lies on each side of the 45th parallel north in latitude. The most populous city in Maine is Portland, while its capital is Augusta.

Maine has traditionally been known for its jagged, rocky Atlantic Ocean and bayshore coastlines; smoothly contoured mountains; heavily forested interior; picturesque waterways; and its wild lowbush blueberries and seafood cuisine, especially lobster and clams. Coastal and Down East Maine, especially in the vicinity of Portland, have emerged as an important center for the creative economy, which is also bringing gentrification.

For thousands of years after the glaciers retreated during the last ice age, indigenous peoples were the only inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine. At the time of European arrival, several Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited the area. The first European settlement in the area was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, founded by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. The first English settlement was the short-lived Popham Colony, established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate and conflict with the local indigenous people caused many to fail.

As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements had survived. Loyalist and Patriot forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, the largely undefended eastern region of Maine was occupied by British forces with the goal of annexing it to Canada via the Colony of New Ireland, but returned to the United States following failed British offensives on the northern border, mid-Atlantic and south which produced a peace treaty that restored the pre-war boundaries. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820 when it voted to secede from Massachusetts to become a separate state. On March 15, 1820, under the Missouri Compromise, it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki peoples, including the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot, Androscoggin, and Kennebec. During the later King Philip's War, many of these peoples would merge in one form or another to become the Wabanaki Confederacy, aiding the Wampanoag of Massachusetts and the Mahican of New York. Afterwards, many of these people were driven from their natural territories, but most of Maine's tribes continued, unchanged, until the American Revolution. Before this point, however, most of these people were considered separate nations. Many had adapted to living in permanent, Iroquois-inspired settlements, while those along the coast tended to be semi-nomadic—traveling from settlement to settlement on a yearly cycle. They would usually winter inland and head to the coasts by summer.

European contact with what is now called Maine may have started around 1200 CE when Norwegians are believed to have interacted with the native Penobscot in present-day Hancock County, most likely through trade. If confirmed, this would make Maine the site of the earliest European discovery in the entire US. About 200 years earlier, from the settlements in Iceland and Greenland, Norwegians first identified America and attempted to settle areas such as Newfoundland, but failed to establish a permanent settlement. Archeological evidence suggests that Norwegians in Greenland returned to North America for several centuries after the initial discovery to trade and collect timber, with the most relevant evidence being the Maine Penny, an 11th-century Norwegian coin found at a Native American dig site in 1954.

The first European confirmed settlement in modern-day Maine was in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, led by French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. His party included Samuel de Champlain, noted as an explorer. The French named the entire area Acadia, including the portion that later became the state of Maine. The Plymouth Company established the first English settlement in Maine at the Popham Colony in 1607, the same year as the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. The Popham colonists returned to Britain after 14 months.

The French established two Jesuit missions: one on Penobscot Bay in 1609, and the other on Mount Desert Island in 1613. The same year, Claude de La Tour established Castine. In 1625, Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour erected Fort Pentagouet to protect Castine. The coastal areas of eastern Maine first became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent. The part of western Maine north of the Kennebec River was more sparsely settled and was known in the 17th century as the Territory of Sagadahock. A second settlement was attempted in 1623 by English explorer and naval Captain Christopher Levett at a place called York, where he had been granted by King Charles I of England. It also failed.

The 1622 patent of the Province of Maine was split at the Piscataqua River into the Province of New Hampshire to the south and New Somersetshire to the north. A disputed 1630 patent split off the area around present-day Saco as Lygonia. Justifying its actions with a 1652 geographic survey that showed an overlapping patent, the Massachusetts Bay Colony had seized New Somersetshire and Lygonia by force by 1658. The Territory of Sagadahock between the Kennebec River and St. Croix River notionally became Cornwall County, Province of New York under a 1664 grant from Charles II of England to his brother James, at the time the Duke of York. Some of this land was claimed by New France as part of Acadia. All of the English settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Province of New York became part of the Dominion of New England in 1686. All of present-day Maine was unified as York County, Massachusetts under a 1691 royal patent for the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Central Maine was formerly inhabited by the Androscoggin tribe of the Abenaki nation, also known as Arosaguntacook. They were driven out of the area in 1690 during King William's War. They were relocated to St. Francis, Canada, which was destroyed by Rogers' Rangers in 1759, and is now Odanak. The other Abenaki tribes suffered several severe defeats, particularly during Dummer's War, with the capture of Norridgewock in 1724 and the defeat of the Pequawket in 1725, which significantly reduced their numbers. They finally withdrew to Canada, where they were settled at Bécancour and Sillery, and later at St. Francis, along with other refugee tribes from the south.

Maine was much fought over by the French, English, and allied natives during the 17th and 18th centuries. These natives conducted raids against settlers and each other, taking captives for ransom or, in some cases, kidnapped for adoption by Native American tribes. A notable example was the early 1692 Abenaki raid on York, where about 100 English settlers were killed and another estimated 80 taken hostage. The Abenaki took captives taken during raids of Massachusetts in Queen Anne's War of the early 1700s to Kahnewake, a Catholic Mohawk village near Montreal, where some were adopted and others ransomed.

After the British defeated the French in Acadia in the 1740s, the territory from the Penobscot River east fell under the nominal authority of the Province of Nova Scotia, and together with present-day New Brunswick formed the Nova Scotia county of Sunbury, with its court of general sessions at Campobello. American and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, with the British occupying eastern Maine in both conflicts via the Colony of New Ireland. The territory of Maine was confirmed as part of Massachusetts when the United States was formed following the Treaty of Paris ending the revolution, although the final border with British North America was not established until the Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Maine was physically separate from the rest of Massachusetts. Long-standing disagreements over land speculation and settlements led to Maine residents and their allies in Massachusetts proper forcing an 1807 vote in the Massachusetts Assembly on permitting Maine to secede; the vote failed. Secessionist sentiment in Maine was stoked during the War of 1812 when Massachusetts pro-British merchants opposed the war and refused to defend Maine from British invaders. In 1819, Massachusetts agreed to permit secession, sanctioned by voters of the rapidly growing region the following year.

Statehood and Missouri Compromise

Formal secession from Massachusetts and admission of Maine as the 23rd state occurred on March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, which geographically limited the spread of slavery and enabled the admission to statehood of Missouri the following year, keeping a balance between slave and free states.

Maine's original state capital was Portland, Maine's largest city, until it was moved to the more central Augusta in 1832. The principal office of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court remains in Portland.

The 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, under the command of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, prevented the Union Army from being flanked at Little Round Top by the Confederate Army during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Four U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Maine, most famously the armored cruiser , whose sinking by an explosion on February 15, 1898 precipitated the Spanish–American War.


1607English Colonists sponsors Plymouth CompanySource:Wikipedia
1790Maine's first censusSource:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1820Maine becomes 23rd StateSource:Wikipedia
1839Aroostook WarSource:Wikipedia

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 96,540
1800 151,719
1810 228,705
1820 298,335
1830 399,455
1840 501,793
1850 583,169
1860 628,279
1870 626,915
1880 648,936
1890 661,086
1900 694,466
1910 742,371
1920 768,014
1930 797,423
1940 847,226
1950 913,774
1960 969,265
1970 992,048
1980 1,124,660
1990 1,227,928

Note: Although geographically separate, Maine was legally part of Massachusetts from early Colonial times until March 15, 1820, when it was admitted as a separate State. The far northern portion of Maine was in dispute with Canada until the present boundary was agreed to in 1842. Census coverage included virtually all settled portions of Maine from 1790 on, with the Maine counties reported separately from those of Massachusetts proper.. Populations for 1790-1810 are totals of the counties in the present area of Maine, then legally part of Massachusetts but reported separately.

Research Tips

Births, Marriages, and Deaths

At, subscribers can access the following Maine vital records databases: has a variety of collections available for free online:

Research Guides

Outstanding guide to Maine family history and genealogy (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, wills, deeds, county and town records, archives, Bible records, cemeteries, churches, censuses, directories, immigration lists, naturalizations, maps, history, newspapers, and societies.

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