Maine Genealogical Society's

2016 Annual Fall Conference 

with featured speaker  

Judy Russell, JD, CGsm, CGLsm


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jeff's Catering
15 Littlefield Way
Brewer, Maine 

A Quick Overview

Once again, Maine Genealogical Society has planned its annual Fall Conference with a number of interesting and educational lectures. This conference starts with an interesting keynote address by Judy Russell, JD, CGSM, CGLSM, who will discuss: “Staying Out of Trouble-The Rights and Responsibilities of Today’s Genealogists.” Ms. Russell, also known as The Legal Genealogist is a ‘genealogist with a law degree.’ A native of Colorado, Judy resides in New Jersey. She is a Certified GenealogistSM, a Certified Genealogical LecturerSM and member of several state and national genealogical societies.

The rest of the day’s lectures consists of three sets of breakout sessions, all interesting but sometimes difficult to choose which to attend. There will be vendors and exhibitors on hand, all of whom we encourage you to visit and support. A query board will be available for anyone interested in posting a query. This has been a popular spot at past conferences! So bring your query--you may find a connection. As always, you will be able to purchase MGS Special Publications at the conference which is a great way to save on shipping costs.

Watch for moments throughout the day as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Maine Genealogical Society.


To stay up to date on all the conference activities or to learn more about the Maine Genealogical Society, visit our blog

Day At A Glance



Registration & Exhibitor Time


Welcoming Comments
MGS Vice President, Brian Bouchard 

Keynote Address 

Staying Out of Trouble - The Rights and Responsibilities of Today's Genealogists
Judy Russell

As genealogists and researchers, we must understand today's laws as much as yesterday's. Modern law impacts our rights as researchers— rights of access to vital records, to information, and to places where information can be found. And it impacts our responsibilities, as well, particularly the need to respect another's copyright.


Session 1

How Old Did He Have to Be...?
Judy Russell, JD, CGSM, CGLSM

Is this man John the father or John the son? Could that man be my ancestor who married in 1802? Knowing a person’s age is often the key to distinguishing between two people of the same name. But if no record gives a birthdate, how do you know how old someone was? The law can often give the answer.


Session 2

Bringing To Life Those Dead Ancestors: The Resources Available to Get To Know and Write the Lives of Our Ancestors in New France (1604-1760)
Father Robert Parent

After a quick survey of the basic resources of French- Canadian and Acadian genealogy we will take a more in-depth look at the wealth of notarial and other documents available which allows one to flesh out the personal and family life and times of our ancestors living in New France.



Luncheon Buffet
Vendor Time
MGS 40th Anniversary Celebration



MGS Annual Meeting & Vendor Time


Session 1

Dowered or Bound Out:
Records of Widows  and Orphans
Judy Russell

Widows and orphans have always had a special place in the law. But it’s not always the place that 21st century researchers might expect. An orphan in the early days wasn’t a child whose parents had died, but rather a child whose father had died. The law didn’t care much about the mother. She was just the widow, entitled to her dower rights and generally not much more. Learn more of the way the law treated widows and orphans, and what the records may tell us about them.

Session 2

Ambiguous Allegiances in Revolutionary Maine:
The Importance Of Local History
Liam Riordan

The dominance of a national perspective has obscured our ability to understand how the American Revolution fractured communities in Maine and to see the close ties and circumstances that local people shared with colonists in Nova Scotia. This illustrated lecture reconsiders Revolutionary developments in Machias, Portland, and Castine to explore the uncertainty that war brought to the region and the often ambiguous political allegiances that it shaped


Session 1

Where There Is - or Isn't - A Will
Judy Russell 

Where there’s a will, there’s a probate. And often when there isn’t a will, there’s still a probate. Understanding the process and finding the records created when our ancestors died  an help break through those brick walls.

Session 2

Treasures In The Cemetery
Cheryl Willis Patten

The date of birth, the names of the parents, and the date of death are often listed on gravestones. That information is often used by genealogists as a starting place for further research. However, many cemeteries offer much more information for the dedicated genealogist. This presentation explores some of the genealogical treasures that can be found in cemeteries.


Closing Remarks
L.L. Bean Gift Card Raffle
Door Prizes