Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maine 1870 adoption records

From: lckuber at comcast.net
I would like to establish if records for adoptions occurring in the 1870's in Atkinson, Maine were kept, and if so, how I might access these records or a reliable substitute for adoption records.

The family of interest is John Calvin and Mary Eunice Sweet. John was born in 1836 in Corinth, Maine. He married Mary Eunice Collins (2nd wife). 7 children are listed in the 1880 census for this family: Betsey E, Hattie Baxter, Effie B., J Edwards, Cora E., George Thomas, and Calvin Arthur. Due to the proximity of the birth dates for Hattie Baxter and Effie B., I suspect that one of them may be adopted. (Hattie and Effie appear to have been born within a few weeks of one another in early 1874, unless the census taker erred).   I also have family correspondence that hints strongly at the possibility that either Hattie or Effie was adopted by the Sweet Family.

Absent information that might be gleaned from adoption records, I'd greatly appreciate hearing advice on how I can obtain additional information about this family, preferably using online resources. The children all appear to have been born in Atkinson, Maine but at least some of the family members moved to the Dover-Foxcroft region.  I have reviewed the most obvious census records (searching on John Calvin and Mary Sweet), but may have not seen all relevant records.  I've written to historical societies in the region as well seeking information.  In the past, I've had very little luck with the Maine town clerks (generally, they are not responsive to queries).   I've also reached out to local libraries (in Maine) with little success.   The Maine Archives is likely a good source of information, but it's too far for me to travel to readily.     

Additional information: I believe the Sweet family is connected to the Baxter and Newcomb families through family correspondence; details aren't known, but are of high interest.  I located a Newcomb record on Rootsweb that corroborates some of this information.  
Although many original document record groups are available on the web, 99% of our work is still accomplished offline at courthouses, archives, churches and libraries in the areas where our ancestors once lived.
The resources of the New England Historic Genealogical Society may prove useful to your work. Find information about their library online at www.AmericanAncestors.org. I would check there to see if anyone has already done work on your Sweet, Baxter and Newcomb family lines.

Be sure to review the Maine research suggestions at FamilySearch.org. Here you'll learn about record groups even if they aren't available through the Family History Library. A cursory review of this wiki explained that Atkinson is in Piscataquis County, Maine.

There are nearly 9,000 record collections at Ancestry.com with references to Maine. By narrowing my search to Piscataquis County, Maine, there were 9 hits in particular several local histories of note.

You'd have to know the exact date of adoption (at least within a 5 year period) before contacting the court to determine if the adoption record still survives.

It may be that the "adoption" was unofficial, and therefore unrecorded.

Keep looking, and let me know if any of these suggestions are helpful.

Perhaps my DearREADERS have other suggestions.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt    :)
Your friend in genealogy.


1 comment:

  1. My ancestor was "taken in" as a child, and I found her 1876 guardianship record at the FHL from some court records. I would assume guardianship would be much more likely than formal adoption.