Workshop – Resources and Handouts

ancestry-logoThanks to the folks who attended our workshop, last week. Despite a change of presenters, it seemed like everyone left happy and with a little more information about the use of this great research tool (and more). As promised, here are the handouts we made available at the workshop, as well as information about digitizing and sharing your own personal materials.

Comments? Questions? Feel free to email us: <>.

Top 10 Search Tips
Tips for success: Military records(1)
Tips for success: Military records(2)
Tips for success: Passenger lists
Tips for success: Religious records
Tips for success: Death records
Tips for success: Census records(1)
Tips for success: Census records(2)
Guide to researching African-American ancestors
Guide to researching American Indian ancestors
Guide to researching Canadian ancestors
Guide to researching German ancestors
Guide to researching Swedish ancestors
Guide to researching Immigrant ancestors

Internet Archive – (Community Texts and beyond!)
History Pin

19th century fashion history at McArthur Library


If you haven’t been into the library lately, be sure to stop in before December to check out the text/image exhibit we have on loan from the Victoria Mansion in Portland. You’ll find it up on the second floor near the Carroll Room (looking out over Main Street).

The exhibit, “The Way We Wear: Fashion & Industry in the 19th Century“, was on view at the Victoria Mansion Carriage House Gallery through the 2016 season, and featured materials from numerous organizations, including McArthur Library.

This exhibit explores the connection between industrial changes and shifting styles of dress in the Victorian era, and visitors will learn about the influence by exploring topics including Fashion, Manufacturing in Maine, Department Stores and Ladies Magazines.

In compliment to the exhibit, a display case of artifacts from the Biddeford Mills Museum is located adjacent to the Victoria Mansion text/image panels. Thank you to the Victoria Mansion for loaning us the material, and we hope to see you this fall at the library!


New additions to Internet Archive!

We’ve added two interesting items to the Internet Archive: our first edition of the pamphlet “Cochranism Delineated”, written by Ephraim Stinchfield in 1819, about the free love movement which swept the area during that time…

“Diary of a Voyage from New Orleans to St. Petersburg, Russia”, which is the transcription of the diary kept by a sea captain’s wife when she sailed with her husband in 1838…

You can access and download these interesting items from our Miscellaneous Collection/Small Manuscripts (MS999) in a variety of formats via Internet Archive. Enjoy!

Sunshine work?

newspaper articleHere is an interesting mystery! I came across this article in the August 11, 1924 issue of the Biddeford Daily Journal. Naturally the “M’Arthur” caught my eye, and I also knew the the Universalist Church was the McArthur family’s church…so what is this article about? I don’t know! So let’s put this out to the community, and see if they can answer the questions:

What was the “McArthur Class” at the Universalist church?

What was meant by the term “sunshine work”?


The Langlais Art Trail = art in your backyard

Who? BERNARD LANGLAIS (1921-1977) was an award-winning Maine artist and sculptor.

What? THE LANGLAIS ART TRAIL is, in essence, an art installation on a state-wide scale. A network of over 50 institutions in over 40 Maine communities allow the public to access and enjoy thousands of works created by this prolific and important Maine artist. Made possible by the Colby College Museum of Art and the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

When? FOREVER! The Langlais Art Trail is a permanent installation, and can be accessed whenever the host locations are open to the public. (Note: Some locations are free, some charge admission–best to check before you go.)

Where? ALL OVER MAINE. But your local Langlais Art Trail participant is Biddeford’s McArthur Library. The wild and whimsical pieces are on permanent display in our Children’s Room, to be enjoyed by art lovers of all ages!

Why? Because access to art makes us all richer people, and this trail gives many opportunities to access art for free. And not just any art, but works by an important and well-regarded artist, who did his own thing in his own way. Art historian Daniel Kany sums it thusly: “…it’s undeniable that the tremendously talented Langlais changed the Maine art landscape and that his late sculptures successfully achieve a raw and intentionally primitive power.”

To Learn More:

Boston Globe: Building an art trail through Maine

Portland Press Herald: The whole Bernard Langlais at the Colby Museum of Art


Bernard Langlais at the Colby College Museum of Art
Bernard Langlais at the Colby College Museum of Art

“Bernard Langlais at the Colby College Museum of Art”…  borrow from your local library, or purchase at your favorite local bookseller.

Your Family Stories: Learn, Preserve, Share, Repeat.

Picture2[Part II of McArthur Library’s Family History Month 2015 series.]

An important part of preserving your family treasures is to preserve the CONTEXT of those materials. How many of us have stacks of old photographs that were handed down, yet we have no idea who the people are in the pictures?

Unless there is someone or something in the background that may clue you in, not knowing the who/what/why of the things we keep negates the keeping of them in the first place. This should be reason enough for taking the time to label your images/files/other materials that don’t obviously tell you why they matter or who they are about.

New York Public Library’s Carmen Nigro gives us “Twenty Reasons Why You Should Write Your Family History

The resurgence in popularity of scrapbooking has had the great effect in that folks are not only labeling their images, they take the time to write a little blurb about them too, preserving the story that they want to tell about themselves and their loved ones. There are many ways today, via the Web, to connect with people to solve the mysteries of your family history. The use of social media allows us to interact with and share with friends and family anywhere in the world, and is a great way to figure out who that guy is in the picture with Great Aunt Edna from the 1978 family reunion. Numerous genealogy sites allow you to view the work of and connect with people whose family tree intersects with your own.