Researching your family history? Writing about the our region? Here are some resources to get you started.
Our Digital Collections
History Trust Digital Archive
The History Trust online archive provides finding-aid access to our member organizations’ collections. The archive stores and presents images and information about people, places, events, organizations, and objects associated with coastal Maine’s Blue Hill and Frenchman Bay communities. It presents historical collections in a way that makes it fun and easy to learn about local history. Our open-source web application was designed and built by George Soules and Janice Kenyon of AvantLogic.
“Here’s How” to Use Digital Archive
- Here’s How to Change the View in Digital Archive
- Here’s How to Find Items About Places in Digital Archive
History Trust Newspaper Archive
The History Trust provides editions of three local papers—Bar Harbor Times (1902-1968), Bar Harbor Mount Desert Herald (1881-1889), and Bar Harbor Record (1887-1962)—that are fully searchable for FREE by keyword and date, making it easy to quickly explore historical content.
Some History Trust members, such as libraries, can accommodate onsite research at their locations during regular hours and may offer research assistance. Others have seasonal museums, can only accommodate research requests by appointment, or have limited physical access. Each organization’s capabilities differ due to staffing and other constraints.
After checking our digital historical collections in the archive, above, you may discover what your looking for in one of the following virtual collections. Listed alphabetically, they are known to have material related to coastal Maine’s Acadia region.
A & B
- Abbe Museum online collections database (https://abbemuseum.pastperfectonline.com).
- Acadia National Park, William Otis Sawtelle Collections and Research Center (https://www.nps.gov/acad/learn/historyculture/collections.htm).
- Bangor Historical Society online collections (https://bangorhs.pastperfectonline.com/).
- Bangor Public Library Digital Commons online collection of photographs, books, maps, and more (https://digicom.bpl.lib.me.us/).
- Bowdoin College Library special collections and archives (https://library.bowdoin.edu/arch/collections/digital-collections-and-projects).
C & D
- Champlain Society Resources at MDI Historical Society (https://mdihistory.org/champlain-society).
- Digital Commons full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide, including Maine; e.g., search term “Mount Desert Island” (https://network.bepress.com).
- Digital Commonwealth photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, and other materials from consortium of libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts, of which Maine was a district until 1820 (https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/).
- Digital Public Library of America catalog for public domain and openly licensed content held by U.S. archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions (https://dp.la/).
E – L
- Ellsworth American historical newspapers are available in two online resources.
- Hancock County Registry of Deeds houses records regarding ownership of real property, much of which is searchable online (https://www.hancockcountydeeds.com/search).
- HathiTrust Digital Library, e.g., search term “Mount Desert Island” or Historical Researches of Gouldsboro Maine, a 1904 local history compilation (https://babel.hathitrust.org).
- Hudson Museum at University of Maine online collections database of ethnographic and archaeological objects (https://hudsonmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/).
- Internet Archive, e.g., search term “Mount Desert Island” (https://archive.org).
- Library of Congress digital collections of maps, photographs, letters, diaries, newspapers, audio and video recordings (https://www.loc.gov/collections/).
M & N
- Maine Memory Project, e.g., search term “Mount Desert Island” (https://www.mainememory.net).
- Map List at MDI Historical Society (https://mdihistory.org/maps).
- Mount Desert Island Historical Society Collections Overview & Catalog (https://mdihistory.org/research).
- Newspapers.com claims to be the largest online newspaper archive; unlike the FREE access to Bar Harbor papers offered by The History Trust—see above—subscription is required to access the following.
- Bangor Whig and Courier 1832–1900 (https://www.newspapers.com/paper/bangor-daily-whig-and-courier/399/).
- Bangor Whig Courier 1893–1894 (https://www.newspapers.com/paper/bangor-whig-courier/1084/).
- The Bangor Daily News 1900–2011 (https://www.newspapers.com/paper/the-bangor-daily-news/23487/).
- The Weekly (Bangor ME) 2001–2011 (https://www.newspapers.com/paper/the-weekly/23575/).
O – Z
- Penobscot Marine Museum (https://penobscotmarinemuseum.org).
- Rockefeller Archive Center online collections and catalog (https://dimes.rockarch.org/xtf/search).
- Smithsonian Institution Collections (https://collections.si.edu).
- Seal Harbor Library collection of old photographs and glass plate negatives (https://www.sealharborlibrary.me/wp/).
- Town of Bar Harbor Archives (http://archives.barharbormaine.gov).
- University of New England archival materials, including Maine Woman Writers Collection (https://library.une.edu/library-resources/find/archival-materials/).
- William Otis Sawtelle Collections at Acadia National Park (https://www.nps.gov/acad/learn/historyculture/collections.htm).
Many local libraries have subscriptions to additional online databases that allow you to search for free.
- Bangor Public Library has free library cards for any Maine resident that give access to their digital library content (https://www.bangorpubliclibrary.org/).
- Maine State Library Online Library Card provides free access to online databases for any Maine resident (https://www.maine.gov/msl/services/libcard.htm).
Online Genealogical Databases
- Ancestry requires a paid account but is free if accessed at many local libraries (https://www.ancestry.com/).
- Family Search is free, though requires users to create an account (https://www.familysearch.org/).
- Findmypast requires registration and offers both free and paid access to newspaper archives as well as genealogical records in the US and UK (https://www.findmypast.com/).
- Find A Grave is free resource with records about more than 20 Mount Desert Island area cemeteries (https://www.findagrave.com/).
- MyHeritage offers a free trial, but requires a paid account to continue (https://www.myheritage.com/).
Books, articles, and other physical resources are available at libraries and similar locations.
- Books for Sale from Tremont Historical Society (https://www.tremontmainehistory.us/booklist/).
- Beatrix Farrand Society Library at Garland Farm (http://www.beatrixfarrandsociety.org/library-collections/).
- Chebacco annual journal from Mount Desert Island Historical Society (https://mdihistory.org/shop).
- Founders and Followers: Movers and Shakers Who Built Gouldsboro on the Eastern Frontier from Gouldsboro Historical Society; 160-pages, illustrated, and indexed (https://gouldsborohistory.org/founders-followers).
- Publications Order Form from Islesford Historical Society (https://islesfordhistory.org/publications/).
- MaineCat is the most comprehensive online Maine library catalog which scans more than 4.6 million unique titles and nearly 8.9 million items. All 100 participating local, university, and government libraries allow remote requests for borrowing (http://mainecat.maine.edu/). Includes books at several relevant island libraries, but not those in the list of 200 Maine Libraries below.
- WorldCat searches more than 10,000 library catalogs in the US and worldwide; 2,500 records returned for “Mount Desert Island” search (https://www.worldcat.org/).
- 200 Maine Libraries not included in the MaineCAT catalog (see above) with contact information; accuracy not guaranteed. A few relevant library catalogs in the non-MaineCAT list, i.e. not online, include Ellsworth, Islesford, Great Cranberry, Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, and Somesville.
Ask A Research Question
Did you find an item in Digital Archive that you wish to learn more about? Can’t find answers from the resources listed above? Wish to inquire about procedures for visiting a member’s on-site collections?
Ask A Research Question and we’ll see if any History Trust members have helpful information.
– Image: “Prints, photographs, oral histories for GCI Portrait Project 2009,” Great Cranberry Island Historical Society, …view item