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Thankfully for anyone looking into Maine genealogy, there have been settlements here from the 1600s. Official record-keeping by the state started in 1892 but there are decent collections of records well back into the 1700s if you know where to look. The main sources of genealogical material are the vital records, which are made up of birth, death and marriage records.
Maine Vital Records
Because of the long history in this state, you may have more than one stop to make in your search for vital records.
The Office of the Vital Records in Augusta holds material from 1923 until the present. To get any vital records from them, you have to submit a completed form (downloadable from their website). You can mail your forms, or visit their office for while-you-wait service. The costs to get a copy are $15 for all 3 types of records, and you will want to pay that by check or money order (issued to the Treasurer - State of Maine).
For all records older than 1923 but only until 1892, then you will need to visit the State Archives (see below). Those records are freely accessible to the public and can be copied at no charge, except for photocopy fees.
For even older material past 1892, you can find vital records at the individual town clerk's offices where the various events (births, deaths, etc) took place. For these documents, you will have to contact the office and see what their procedures are for making a request. Also try church records or newspaper archives for material from this time period.
Of course, not all documents are open to the public, which will further complicate things. All vital records are considered private for 100 years. Exceptions include immediate family members as well as any generation of descendant.
Maine State Archives
As mentioned, you can get certain years of vital records at the State Archives but there is much more Maine genealogy to be found there. You can also do research through legal records, land office records (deeds and maps), military documents for both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, and a large number of judicial court papers. They have some databases available online for searching, though only the indexes are visible.
The archives are located Augusta, in the Cultural Building at the State House Complex and they are open most typical business hours from Monday to Friday.
Though both the Vital Records offices and the Archives can hold a great deal of Maine genealogy information, you can also further your research by getting in contact with one of genealogy groups for the state.
The Maine Genealogy Society and Maine Historical Society are the two that cover the entire state, though the second one doesn't have the same focus on genealogy. There are also smaller groups for individual counties or even local city groups (such as the Bangor Historical Society or the Kennebunkport Historical Society). These groups have a special insight into their respective areas and can be a great deal of assistance when looking for hard-to-find documents.
State Resources Sites