Greater Portland Chapter

of the

Maine Genealogical Society


The purpose of this chapter is to collect, exchange, preserve and publish genealogical records, related documents and information, and to promote and encourage interest and scholarship in genealogy and family history in the greater Portland area.

Who we are

We are a friendly group of people who meet via Zoom (during COVID) every month (Sept. - June, but not December) on the first Saturday of the month at 1:00. Starting sometime in 2022, we are hoping to be meeting in person again at the First Congregational Church UCC at 301 Cottage Road in South Portland. We'll keep you posted! Meetings are free and open to the public. Please join us for our next meeting!

We will not be meeting during the summer. Perhaps you'd like to take this time to try a challenge. Here are some suggestions:

Genealogy challenges: non research related

  • Try a food from your ancestors homeland. (Find family recipes from ancestors)

  • Watch old family movies

  • Record a favorite family story

  • Write about one family tradition:do you know how it started or by whom and when?

  • Do you have an ancestor who played a musical instrument? Were they in a band?

  • Write the stories about a family trip and include photos

  • Create a cost of living comparison with a living relative

  • Create a genealogy deck of cards - play with family members. Cards can have photos and short bio on them

  • Start the story of your life to be added to your research

  • Search for church directories for your female relatives

  • Find a family history blog that is related to your research

  • Declutter your family photos. Choose those attached to your research (add a variety of ages)

  • hoose an artifact or object from an ancestor. Write about it and that ancestor.

  • Choose a relative and learn about their leisure time activities: did they fish, write, volunteer, quilt, etc.

  • Organize your paperwork you are holding on to ie birth, death marraige records

  • Record a family member telling a family that recording to your family tree.

  • Plan a research fact finding trip! Where? Why? What information are you searching for?

  • Which family members were involved in sports? is there a trend in your family? Any stars?

  • Do you have a colorful ancestor? Write their story.

  • Do you have a relative who had a scary event happen in their life? Tell that story.

  • Is there a family profession? if so what is it and which relatives followed this path.

Genealogy challenges: research related

  • Pick a relative and research their schooling records - what kind of student?

  • Learn about the origins of the odd name in your tree.

  • Write about the relative that traveled on a ship to this country. Learn more about the ship and it's conditions.

  • Locate a letter or postcard written by an ancestor.

  • Send an email to one of your DNA matches.

  • Search Facebook based on surname for a family genealogy group.

  • Pick a relative and create a timeline for them.

  • Clean up your family tree - create a research to do list for those members who are missing information.

  • 1890 census brickwall buster - search for land records surrounding the 1890 date.

  • Choose an area your relatives have lived and look for a Plat map to locate where they lived in the county.

  • Take a trip to a family cemetery and photograph family headstones.

  • Create a family honor roll for those who served.

  • Watch a YouTube video on a new topic in genealogy, share what you learned with someone else.

  • Start indexing your research, creating a system that works best for you.

  • 1950's census - help check names and help edit :

  • Choose a relative that you don't have information on and find 3 documents related to them.

  • Order civil war records of your relatives from the National Archives.

  • Create a list of research goals for the fall.

  • Start a family newsletter to be sent out to family members to share your research - a great way to update relatives - tree, newest collected information, choose one relative to highlight - send annually (think those Christmas family newsletter cards)

  • Which family member left the general area that your ancestors settled? Why and where did they go?

  • Create a residence record file - include address, photo, taxes, mortgage record, maps/survey, probate and related census records.

And be ready to tell us all about it when we return to meetings in the fall!

Events you might like - 2022

August 19-27, 2022 - Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Three Online Virtual Conferences

Registration opens on March 27, 2022. Go to to learn more.

August 25, 3:00 p.m. - A free online webinar Presented by John G. S. Hanson

Reading the Gravestones of Early New England

Virtually all genealogists have an appreciation for old graveyards: inscriptions often reveal birth and death dates, family relationships, and other details. Yet the epitaphs inscribed on early New England gravestones are too often dismissed as sentimental doggerel. Every single epitaph was chosen for a reason of utmost importance—to memorialize the death of a loved one. Knowing the literary context can increase our understanding of these historic epitaphs and even shed light on the lives of the deceased and their family members. Epitaph expert John Hanson will discuss how to understand the source of inspiration and meaning behind these passages, and what they really say about our ancestors. Register at: