1841 Tax Valuation Records

Museum Monday

Image of the Cover of the Scarborough, Maine, Tax Valuation book for 1841.
1841 Tax Valuation Book

It was a great week for me at the Scarborough Historical Society Museum. On Tuesday, three of us traveled up to the Maine State Library in Augusta and began working on scanning several Tax Valuation Books from the Town of Scarborough. They have a Zeutschel OS 12002 – it is a multi-camera book scanner that creates high-resolution images of bound and oversized materials. It is capable of correcting for page curvature as well as recognizing and indexing printed text. The scanned images were then combined into a PDF file. A “Scarborough Books” collection was created and the PDF file uploaded with some metadata information. Thank you so much for the assistance of Adam Fisher of the Maine State Library for his help and assistance in this Project.

The Valuation books provide information about property owners and voters who were Scarborough residents and some info about non-residents who owned property in Scarborough. If you have ancestors who lived in Scarborough in 1841, this book may provide information of interest. It gives things like how many acres of land they owned and how it was being used as well as how many horses, cows, and pigs they owned.

We also have Valuations Books for 1875, 1890, 1892, and 1900 digitized. I’ll be working on getting those images available online over the next few weeks.

  • The Scarborough Historical Society post about the 1841 image is here.
  • The actual download from Digital Maine is here.

The 1841 Scarborough Tax Valuation Book is a great resource to add texture to your family history and genealogical research.

Maine Marriage Records

By Don Taylor

photo of hole in a brick wall
Hole in Brick Wall – Photo by counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I recently had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster,” which is a person who helps someone break through their genealogical brick walls. They say teaching a subject helps the teacher learn the topic even more. Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein I learn so much more. Anyway, one of my querists wanted to know, How to find marriage records in Maine.

As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and ask the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis.

I prefer the Family Search wiki. http://familysearch.org/wiki.  It seems to always provide the answer to my research questions.  For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page about the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922.

The Ancestry Wiki: http://ancestry.com/wiki/ is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns”

http://network.mainegenealogy.net/profiles/blogs/maine-county-marriage-returns, which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist.

Scarborough Records

For Scarborough Records, the Cumberland County Marriages from 1786 thru 1886 may be browsed on the Family Search site at https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/553508. Look for the camera icon at the bottom right to see the images.

Image of Book Cover - Vital Records of Scarborough Maine.

There is a great book, Vital Records of Scarborough, Maine by James H. Wick published by the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). The book is currently out of print and unavailable from the MGS, however, Minerva indicates it is available at several libraries in the area, (See https://tinyurl.com/ycb5ga9x) including the Scarborough Public Library. We also have a copy of it at the Scarborough Museum which may be viewed at the museum.

Also at the museum, we have several boxes of microfilm.  As an example, one of the boxes, Number 225, is a reel of “Town Records Births prior to 1891 with some dates to 1908, deaths ca. 1819-1891, intentions of marriage and marriage records 1816-1879.  I need to find a way to get these digitized and available or, better yet, find where someone else has already digitized these records.

Do you know of additional Maine Marriage Record sources available?  If so, please let me know through the comment form below.

Digitize those Photos!

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I advocate digitizing everything that can be digitized, particularly photographs. I was recently speaking with a person at the museum about a photo that she had of the Cunningham family. She showed me the old, faded photo and I asked immediately if it was digitized. I learned it was not. “Oh my,” I said, “we need to fix that.“ I explained the importance of digitizing photos as I went to get the light set for photographing.

Besides the importance of having a backup copy of the photo, electronic versions are easy to share. You can easily send a copy to cousins that may not have the photo. You can also post the photos on-line at many sites including Flickr, Google, Picasa, blogs, and other places to act as “cousin bait.” Finally, electronic versions of a photo may be cleaned up and made much more viewable quite simply and easily.  That is what I suggested to my museum visitor.

I photographed a couple of the larger photos with my camera then scanned a few of the smaller photos with a Flip-Pal.  It does a nice job of scanning photos without needing a computer.

To me, it is important to rename files immediately.  Filenames like DSCN1234 or Scan567 are useless. I know many folks like to use meta data, but I find having key information in the file name is much better. I use the form of, Subject, Context/Action, Place, Source, Date, and Status. I leave out the Place and Source if they aren’t important. That is the date of the image, not the date of the scan.  But, sometimes an image’s date might be something like “c. 1930s.”

Original scan of Charle & Carrie Cunningham & Family (in PNG Format)

In the case of the first photo, I knew that it was a Charles and Carrie Cunningham Family group photo. My guess is that the context might be something like 50th wedding anniversary of them; if so, it would be from 1928. Alternately, the clothes look to be from the early 1930s. So, I’m going to hazard a guess of c. 1930. So, I used the filename Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family – c. 1930.

I use different file extensions for different purposes. I use TIFF format for all my original scans and photographs. I then use JPEG format for all working and shared images. Finally, I use PDF for any images with text after I have run optical character recognition (OCR) on the image. The file types immediately tell me if the image is an original or if it has been edited. Occasionally, I use PNG for original files, particularly if I need to share an original. PNG files use compression to be smaller than TIFF files in size. I use them on images that are particularly large, typically more than 50MB as a TIFF. To give an idea of the various sizes, the following table shows the file sizes for the Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family – c. 1930 file.

TIF/TIFF PNG JPEG/JPG
Uncompressed Lossless Compression Lossy Compression
30.2MB 11.1MB 5.6 MB (Edited)

Next, I open the original file. I use Preview on a Mac.  It is really quick and it is easy to do almost everything I’d like to do. Windows computers have many other photo and/or image products which work very well also. After the file is opened, I immediately export it to JPG format. I then close my TIFF file and open the JPG file. I only ever manipulate or edit the JPG file.

I like to rotate the file and crop the file as appropriate.  If I can leave a ½ in border on the bottom during the cropping process, I do so.

For scanned black and white photos I set the saturation to 0; that eliminates any greens, or other weird colors from the image.  Next, I adjust the image exposure and contrast to provide the best possible image for the faces of the people.  Once I am happy with that image, I raise the sepia to a level that is easier on the eyes than a stark black and white.  Then I save the photo again. Just these few steps only take me about a minute and provides a much higher quality image to use and share, yet maintains the original in an untouched state so the process may be duplicated if desired.

Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family edited.
Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family edited.

I mentioned earlier about leaving a ½ inch border on the bottom of the photo.  That is to add a caption if possible.  In the case of a photo of Thomas Burdwood, the original was smallish and had aged pinkish over the years. Once again, I duplicated the photo, cropped it, set color saturation to 0, adjusted the exposure and contrast and sepia level.  Once I was done with that, I added text to the image of the individual’s name (based upon what was on the back of the photo) and saved it.

Thomas Burdwood Original Scan

Drawing of Thomas Burdwood
Thomas Burdwood edited

Of course, once a photo has had its initial edit, you can use many other image enhancement tools to remove creases, spots, or otherwise improve the photo.

Scanning photos greatly increase the likelihood that they won’t be lost. Keeping your original scan pristine means you can always return to the original and manipulate the image again. Finally, the manipulated and compressed version not only make the photo nicer to view it makes the image more shareable.

Ancestor Biography – Martha Angeline Libby (1863-1938)

Whitten Project
Whitten/Libby Line

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ever since I started volunteering at the Scarborough Historical Society I’ve been hearing stories that all the Libby’s in Maine are descended from one person – John Libby. According to several accounts, John Libby settled in Scarborough about 1630 and was one of the earliest settlers.  Naturally, I was excited when I learned that my sister-in-law’s great-grandmother was a Libby.  Would I be able to connect her Libby ancestor into the long line of famous Maine Libby’s?

Whitten Project – Ancestor #9

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Herbert Winfield Whitten
  • 1st Great-grandmother: Martha Angeline Libby
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Charles G. Libby

Martha Angeline Libby (1863-1938)

Martha Angeline Libby[i] was born in March of 1863[ii], in Limerick, York County, Maine. She was probably the third child of Charles G. and Jane H. Libby.

Childhood

The 1870 Census is key in understanding her childhood. The census shows her father is a farm laborer and her mother is keeping house.  Also, living with them is Marietta, a 13-year-old girl who is working in the woolen mill and is also attending school. The 1870 Census does not include relationships, but I’m assuming she is an older sister unless I learn otherwise.  Also, is her older sister Harriett, who likewise is attending school. Seven-year-old Martha doesn’t appear to have begun school at that time.[iii]

The 1880 Census finds the 17-year-old Martha still at home in Limerick with her parents and her sister Hattie (Harriett). Her father is still a farm laborer.[iv]

Marriage

In 1882, Martha married Daniel Winfield Whitten[v]. And the family stays in Limerick and they begin to have children.

Adulthood

  • Life map of Martha Libby Whitten
    Martha Libby Whitten lived her entire life in York County, Maine

    Herbert Winfield Whitten was born on 3 September 1883 in Limerick.[vi]

  • Charles Libby Whitten was born in January 1886 in Limerick.[vii]
  • Muriel Arvella Whitten was born 7 Sep 1890 in Limerick.[viii]

The 1900 Census indicates that Martha had had three children and all three were alive, she and Herbert had been married for 18 years, and were then living about 15 miles south in Shapleigh, ME.

  • Newsen Whitten was born about 1901
  • Leland W. Whitten was born about 1904.

The 1910 Census indicates that Martha had had five children and all five were alive. The couple had moved to Kennebunkport and lived on Kennebunk Road. All the kids were living with them and were either working or attending school.[ix]

The 1920 Census shows Daniel and Martha Angeline “Angie” living on Portland Road in Kennebunk[x].  Herbert and Charles had moved on, so Muriel, Newsen, and Leland were the only children remaining at home.

The 1930 Census shows Daniel and Martha still on Portland Road in Kennebunk. Their daughter, Muriel, had moved in with her husband John Hayes.

Death

Marker of Daniel & Martha A. Whitten
Marker – Daniel & Martha A Whitten
Photo by “Airborne Steve” via Find a Grave.

Martha Angeline (Libby) Whitten died in 1938.[xi] She was survived by her husband, Daniel Winfield Whitten and at least four, if not all five, of her children. She is buried in Highland Grove cemetery in North Shapleigh, York County, Maine.

Libby Family Search

I then just had to look at The Libby Family in America 1602-1881 by Charles T Libby. Would I find Martha Angeline Libby.  Yes! She was listed. I now had an entry point into THE Libby family for Martha.  The book shows, on page 399, Martha Angeel Libby born on 23 March 1863 in Limerick, whose parents are Charles Gardner Libby and Jane H. Warren. It also shows an older sister, Hattie. Definitely, the right person.

Based upon The Libby Family in America 1602-1881, we learned that Charles’s father was William Libby, born in Limerick, Me., 21 June 1811; married, 28 Nov. 1830, Martha Libby.

Whose father was Joseph Libby, born in that part of Kittery, Me., which is now Eliot, 13 May 1767; married, 1795, Sarah Staples, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Mendum) Staples of Scarborough.

Libby Line followed

Whose father was Azariah Libby, born 1740, in Kittery, now Eliot; Married Dec. 1762, Elizabeth Paul.

Whose father was Matthew Libby, born probably during his father’s stay in Portsmouth, 1690-1700; married 3 Sept. 1730, Mary Nason.

Whose father was Matthew Libby, born in Scarborough, in the year 1663 ; married Elizabeth Brown, daughter of Andew Brown, one of the principal inhabitants of Black Point.

Whose father was John Libby – the Immigrant (1602-1682) and the 8th great-grandfather of my sister-in-law. How fun is that.

UPDATED List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Herbert Winfield Whitten
  • 1st Great-grandmother: Martha Angeline Libby
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Charles G. Libby
  • 3rd Great-grandfather:  William Libby
  • 4th Great-grandfather:  Joseph Libby
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Azariah Libby
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Matthew Libby
  • 7th Great-grandfather: Matthew Libby
  • 8th Great-grandfather: John Libby

Endnotes

[i] Martha Angeline Libby is identified as Martha in the 1880 and 1910 Censuses and as Angie M. in the 1900 and 1920 Censuses. Overall, Martha is used more frequently than Angie and is the name on her grave marker, so I prefer Martha in my use.

[ii] 1900 Census (FS), Danel [Daniel] W. Whitten – Shapleigh Town, York County, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMG4-D6W.

[iii] 1870 Census, 1870 Census – Charles Libby – Limerick, Maine. http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/1870usfedcen/33125883/printer-friendly.

[iv] 1880 Census (A), Charles G. Libby – Limerick, York, Maine – Page 27, ED 197. http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/1880usfedcen/16254166/printer-friendly.

[v] 1900 Census (FS), Danel [Daniel] W. Whitten – Shapleigh Town, York County, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMG4-D6W.

[vi] Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921, Family Search, Herbert Winfield Whitten, 1883. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HKQ-Y3Y.

[vii] Daniel W Whitten – Kennebunk Town, York County, Maine.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] 1910 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Daniel W Whitney [Whitten] Kennebunkport, York County, Maine.

[x] 1920 Census (FS), Daniel W Whitten – Kennebunk, York, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MF8W-K7Y.

[xi] Maine, Faylene Hutton Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1990, Family Search, Maine, Faylene Hutton Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1990 – Daniel W Whitten. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKM1-WJ33  : United States, Maine State Library, Augusta; FHL microfilm 1,787,567.

My Best of 2016 & Expectations for 2017

Happy New Year - 2017

Happy New Year – 2017

My Best of 2016

I changed my blogging platform during 2016. Switching from Blogger to WordPress was a challenge and switching from blog.dtaylorgenealogy.com to www.dontaylorgenealogy.com was even worse.  My former domain, dtaylorgenealogy.com was supposed to redirect to the new domain, but it never worked reliably.  I don’t know why. Eventually, I just let the old domain lapse. Anyway, because of the changes, statistics are not available in one place but rather are spread between the two like apple butter and orange marmalade. Both are good on toast but don’t go together at all.

WordPress

As I mentioned, in September I switched to WordPress from Blogger. It has taken much longer to rebuild my direct following then I expected. I still have more “followers” via Blogger than I do via WordPress. As I am no longer posting to the Blogger site, anyone subscribing to via Blogger should subscribe using WordPress using the widget Right Column – Top instead. Actually, if you want to follow my genealogy blog, that is the best place to do so.  Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter are nearly as reliable to follow with.

Looking at the site statistics on the WordPress site, interestingly, the number one posting in views is a 2013 article regarding the McAllister Murder – Murder Suspect and Wife – Jan 20th. [Darling Research]

My number 1 article from 2016 is an April article posted on the Blogger site and moved to the WordPress site regarding the MGS Spring Workshop. [Reviews]

Finally, the number one posting since I made the switch to WordPress is about the Birth Record of Patience A. Roberts. [Roberts Research]

Google Search is, by far, the most common referrer to my site. FaceBook is a distant second.

Blogger

The review of Family Tree Maker Mac 3 that I did in 2013 is still, by far, my most read posting on Blogger. [Reviews]

My most viewed family history posting on Blogger was an article about my William Price (1782-1846). [Howell Research]

Finally, my most read Blogger post, and my most read posting of 2016 was Compulsive Searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949).  That is an article about my excitement regarding researching my grandfather, show name I only determined a few weeks before.[Roberts Research]

Again, Google was the most common referrer to my site, and Facebook a second. Ow.ly was the third most common referrer. I post links to my site to Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter using HootSuite which uses ow.ly as the URL to shorten the link.

I think the most interesting posting I have done during the past year are was Compulsive Searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949). [Roberts Research]

2017 – The Future

Certainly, my five major research lines will take the majority of my effort.  These are my ancestors on the Brown and Roberts lines and my wife ancestral lines of Darling and Howell.  Also, the vaudeville career of my grandmother, Donna Montran, will be a major thread in my activities.  I’ll probably drop activity regarding the “Great War” as a major category and move it under “Other.”

My volunteer work at the Scarborough Historical Society has been growing.  I’ve developed a website for them and expect that I’ll post quite a lot there. Check it out at scarboroughhistoricalsociety.org.  I suspect that much of my work that I post there I will cross post here. So, look for SHS as a new major topic on my Blog.

I am also involved with the Maine Genealogical Society and the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society. I anticipate that I will be posting content regarding them, their activities, and my participation in those activities.

I have several projects that I am working on. I expect to continue working on many of them and posting about them.  I may break active projects out of “Other” into its own category.

DNA – Genetic Genealogy is a really important part of my research. It has provided clues to determining my biological father. It has also provided the starting point for connections to cousins I might otherwise have never gotten to know. I also have a significant project to learn the biological father of my half-sister Glennis.  I think I am zeroing in on potential candidates. This is a very exciting project for both Glennis and me.

Finally, I still have my food and travel blog, D. Taylor’s Food and Travel. I don’t spend a lot of energy on it, but you might find it interesting.

My blogs are:

Blogs I maintain for others:


Please let me know what you would like me to focus upon on my blog posting activities.  Are there specific areas you would like me to focus upon?  If so, please let me know.  Are there any of my posts that you found to be particularly interesting? Please use the comments form below. If you do not want your comments made public, please add “Please do not publish” to the first line of text in your message.

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