Tips and Tricks

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Old Newspapers in Houlton, ME

When you live in area that was once part of the wilderness, finding records can be a challenge!

When an area is first being settled, there is no town and no one required to records the settlement records. This was true of the Caribou area. Caribou early town records are mainly marriage records and few at that. This is where the old news papers of the time can be a big help. When I went to the Courthouse in Houlton and I was given permission to look at their old newspapers stored in the attic. In the old North Star paper that covered the Presque Isle, Caribou and Fort Fairfield area, I found a death record that I had been hoping to find but did not expect to find. My ancestor was an ordinary farmer, not one of movers and shakers of his day.

I knew that he was alive in 1870 because he was in the census for Caribou. Through Land deeds I know that he was still alive in July of 1871 when he sold off property, but that he was dead by 1880 when his wife is listed as a widow.

In the North Star paper for early January 1873 there was a small notice in the paper that told of death of my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Laurence Kelly who died on January 9, 1873. Now I no longer list him that he died before June of 1880 i.e. the 1880 Census when his wife Elizabeth is listed there as a widow.

The North Star papers and other newspapers that are stored at the courthouse have not been microfilmed or photocopied (digitized). Perhaps at some point a grant could be acquired to get these value resource either microfilm or digitized so others would able to make use of these old newspapers. Road trips to Houlton are done on my day off from work. It would be great to view them closer to home.