Maine Church Records
Church baptism, marriage, and burial records are a major source of information about people from Maine.
Before 1829, a few churches kept birth and death records, but most kept marriage records. For this time period there are almost no Methodist records and few Episcopal records. You may find some records by writing to the church in a town. Records for the Congregational Church and Society of Friends (Quakers) are in the Maine Historical Society.
Before 1900 the largest religious groups in Maine were the Congregational, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Methodist Episcopal churches. The Family History Library has some published and microfilmed church records for these groups.
A helpful list of churches existing in 1940 is:
Historical Records Survey (Maine). Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations in Maine. Portland: Maine Historical Records Survey Project, 1940. (Family History Library book 974.1 K24h; film 1035515 item 13.) These records show locations of over 1,700 churches and religious organizations in Maine and give a brief history of the beginning of the various religions in Maine.
Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. Many records of the Congregational and Society of Friends churches are at the Maine Historical Society. The following archives also have important collections of Maine church records:
American Baptist Samuel Colgate Historical Society
1106 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14602
THE DROUIN COLLECTION:
Drouin Collection 1621-1967 at Ancestry.ca. When searching these databases, be creative in the spellings as well as the various focuses in searching for an ancestor. The French language has many possible spellings for a name, as well as there are errors in the indexing.
This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries; they were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. In Quebec, under the French Regime, there were two sets of records kept: a copy for the civil government archives and a copy for the ecclesiastical church archives. The Drouin collection is a civil copy of these entries. Please note that the cutoff date of this collection is in the early 1940s; only a small percentage of entries were covered from 1948 to 1967.
This collection is divided into six databases: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967 2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. For details about these six databases, see "The Drouin Collection: Six Databases" at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/The_Drouin_Collection:_Six_databases .
Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954: This database only contains the French Catholic parish records from the United States; in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian.
The Archives of the Diocese of Portland
P.O. Box 11559
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, ME 04104-7559
The diocese includes the counties of: Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock County, Maine, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo, Washington and York
The Congregational Library
14 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Archives of the Diocesan House
143 State Street
Portland, ME 04101
Boston University School of Theology Library
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215