American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS

Ask a Genealogist

RSS Feed

Ask a Genealogist: Early land records in Maine.

 Permanent link


Where would I look to locate early deeds for land in Maine between 1749 and 1759? Will I have to hire a local researcher in Maine? Which county? Or are they perhaps at the Massachusetts Archives?


The 18 published volumes of York Deeds include only instruments that were recorded as of early 1738. After that period, it is necessary to consult the later (manuscript) deed books and their accompanying grantor and grantee indexes (the original indexes at the courthouse cover the years from the 1630s to 1885). These are at the York County courthouse in Alfred, Maine. They have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and can be borrowed at nominal cost through their network of local Family History Centers. There is also a set of these microfilms of deed books and indexes at NEHGS.

If the property in question was in the South Portland area and the conveyance took place between 1749 and 1759, the conveyance should have been recorded in the York County deeds. Prior to 1760, York County had jurisdiction over all of what is now Maine (a somewhat nebulous area geographically at that time). In 1760, the new counties of Cumberland (covering the Casco Bay area from Scarborough to Merrymeeting Bay and everything to the north) and Lincoln (covering the coast from Bath eastwards and everything to the north) were created. If the property in question was conveyed between 1749 and 1759 but not recorded until after 1760, the deed would have been recorded in Cumberland County. These records have also been microfilmed by the FHL, as above, but NEHGS unfortunately does not have copies. The originals are at the Cumberland County courthouse in Portland.

I would start by searching the indexes for York County. If you do not find the record(s) in question, then check the same for Cumberland County.
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society