This impeccably prepared guidebook teaches us how to find ancestors on both the Maine and New Brunswick sides of the Upper Saint John River Valley. Mr. Findlen focuses on the individuals who began the Madawaska Settlement, beginning with the blended Acadian/French-Canadian families who moved there in 1785. The region ultimately became home to the indigenous Maliseets, Acadians, French-Canadians, Irish, a few Scots, and a few (mostly English) Loyalists.
The author begins with a fascinating historical overview commencing with the aftermath of the American Revolution. Mr. Findlen concludes with the resolution of the Aroostook timber rivalry that ultimately established the border between Maine and New Brunswick along the St. John River in 1842. The extant records of the valley (found in both local and distant archives) extend from 1792 to the 20th century, and Mr. Findlen devotes the bulk of his narrative to an inventory of them. The researcher will find separate chapters devoted to each of the following record categories: church registers (probably the most valuable of all records), vital records, marriages, cemetery records, censuses, land records, will and probate documents, newspapers, as well as the various record repositories themselves. Subsequent chapters discuss the holdings of genealogy clubs, related published resources, and selected web sites.
Readable, thorough, and to the point, the Genealogist’s Handbook for Upper Saint John Valley Research will no doubt remain the principal guidebook on its subject for years to come.
George L. Findlen
(2003), 2004, 88 pp.