History Room Live

History Room Live is a series of hour-long Zoom sessions where History Room staff discuss local history and genealogy with our patrons. Zoom is a free virtual meeting software that lets us share our screens for web-based instruction. The small group setting makes for great discussion and individualized research assistance.

Register to receive a link to upcoming sessions here!

Past sessions are available to watch below and on our YouTube channel.

Coming Up October 30: Costume Hour

October is both Family History month and the time for costumes and ghoulish stories, so we’re having Coffee Hour with a twist: Costume Hour! Join us for a lighthearted chat about the skeletons in our family closets. Karen will start us off with a tale of murder. Jill has a story about a woman whose engagements never ended well. Come prepared with your own eerie story, come in costume, or simply join us with a cup of hot tea or cider.

To promote a relaxed and accessible atmosphere, this session won’t be recorded, so be sure to register!

Coming Up October 23: Old Ladies’ Home Collection

Have you ever heard of the Old Ladies’ Home? Once located at 800 High Street in Bath, the uncommon institution served elderly women for nearly a century. History Room intern Maegan Rice will tell us what it was like to research, arrange, and describe the Old Ladies’ Home collection, housed at Patten Free Library. She’ll show us some of the records and papers that reside in the collection (including residents’ applications, treasurers reports, and diaries) and discuss how they can help us learn more about local women’s lives.

October 16: Family History Blogging

If you’ve ever you considered starting your own genealogy blog, this session is for you! Genealogist and blogger Craig Siulinski will share tools and tips for family history blogger. Craig has been blogging about his roots – which stretch back to Maine and beyond – since 2009. Join us to learn how blogs are a great way to share family history!

October 2: Maps Near and Far

Maps are a terrific resource for all kinds of research, whether you use them in print or online. Jill and Karen show where to find some of these digital resources, and talk about how to discover the wonderful collection of maps we have right here in the History Room!


September 25: Using the Maine Register for Social History & Genealogy

If you haven’t heard of The Maine Register, you’re missing out on some fabulous historical information! Join Karen as she explores these annual publications, which are rich with social history. Discover fascinating details about almost every aspect of life, providing insight into the world and daily life through time. Learn which businesses, schools, newspapers, and other organizations existed during each year; who held various offices (across the state and nationally); incorporation, census and other information about the towns, and much more!

Presentation Slides and Handout


September 18: Digital Maine Library

You’ve heard of Ancestry Library Edition, but do you know about ProQuest’s Maine News or Gale’s U.S. History Collection? Jill will introduce you to these and other online databases for historical research, available free to all Mainers through Digital Maine Library.

Presentation Slides

September 11: Coffee Hour

On the occasion of 9/11, we discussed commemoration and memory.

August 28: Working in the Bath Custom Office

Whether you miss your workplace or you’re happy to be somewhere else, you’re invited to Zoom back in time with us to the early days of office work in Bath. Nathan Lipfert is your guide through the ever-changing world of the Bath Custom Office. Meet past employees of the Bath Customs District who worked at the front and center of Maine’s maritime trade, and learn about the essential work that inspired one of the city’s stateliest landmarks.

August 21: Architectural History Part 2

“How to Look at Buildings” is Part 2 of Jack Martin’s introduction to architectural history! Jack offers guidance on how to look at buildings, and we share a fun activity for eagle-eyed architecture enthusiasts.

How to Look at Buildings Scavenger Hunt (Don’t forget to share your finds on social media, #HistoryRoomHunt2020)

August 14: Coffee Hour

This week we’re chatted about the power of Queer/LGBTQ+ archives. Coffee Hour sessions are not recorded.

August 7: Using Ancestry for Beginners

Karen shares basic tips for navigating Ancestry.com and Ancestry Library Edition. She discusses methods of using the different search features effectively and covers the free services available through both sites.

Ancestry Library Edition is always available in the library and is available to Mainers for home use through September 30, 2020.

Presentation Slides [PDF]

July 31: A Place in the Army of Maine: African American Soldiers from Bath in the First Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment

Tim Richter and Brenda Cummings of Bath Historical Society present new research in their talk, A Place in the Army of Maine: African American Soldiers from Bath in the First Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment. Two thousand two hundred men served in the First Maine Heavy Artillery regiment during the course of the Civil War. Twenty-eight of those men were credited to Bath, and three of those twenty-eight were African Americans, making the First Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment perhaps the only Civil War regiment where Black and white men served together.

July 24: Architectural History, Part 1

Join us on Zoom for an introduction to architectural history! Jack Martin will show how local architectural styles relate to trends in art history, and introduce a few vocabulary words that you can use to impress your friends on your socially-distanced walks around town.

July 17 – Coffee Hour

This week we asked: What are you reading?

Coffee Hour is a chance for local history and genealogy enthusiasts to meet casually on Zoom. Coffee Hour sessions are not recorded, but we did write down What We’re Reading on the History Room Blog.

July 10, 2020 – Organizing Your Genealogy Research

Genealogy is a lot of fun, but keeping track of all those ancestors is hard work. Karen shares tips and tools for staying organized on paper and on your computer.

Presentation Slides [PDF] and Handout [PDF]

June 26, 2020 – House History at Home

Jill shows how the History Room holds the keys to your property’s history. Then, she explains how to start the research process from the comfort of your home, using free and public online databases.

Presentation Slides [PDF] and Worksheets

June 19, 2020 – Oral History From the USM Franco-American Collection

The History Room welcomes Anna Faherty from USM’s Franco-American Collection. Anna explains how oral history interviews preserve local culture and individual experiences, shares oral history recordings from the Lewiston-based collection, and offers a few tips for conducting your own oral history interviews.

Browse oral histories from the Franco-American Collection here.

Presentation Slides [PDF]

June 12, 2020 – Coffee Hour

Coffee Hour is a chance for local history and genealogy enthusiasts to meet casually on Zoom. Coffee Hour sessions are not recorded.

June 5, 2020 – Genealogy Drop-In

Karen hosts an interactive genealogy drop-in session, where she will talk briefly about getting started in genealogy using your own family photos, papers, and artifacts! Participants are invited to come prepared with research questions and to share a piece of their own family history.

Genealogy Drop-In sessions are not recorded to protect patron privacy.

May 29, 2020 – A Brief Walk Through History

Jack joins Karen and Jill to take us on a walking tour – from home! “Bath, ME: A Brief Walk Through History” is an interactive map featuring photographs and information about many of the historic buildings in Bath. Jack created the StoryMap from a similar tour of Bath written in the 1870s by Levi P. Lemont. All the sites are within walking distance of each other, so you can try it out after the presentation! See the StoryMap.

May 22, 2020 – Telling Your Story

Karen shares tools and tips for writing about your personal life experiences, and Jill presents an update on the How’s Your Week Going? COVID-19 Story Archive.

Presentation Slides [PDF]

May 15, 2020 – Coffee Hour

Coffee Hour is a chance for local history and genealogy enthusiasts to meet casually on Zoom. Coffee Hour sessions are not recorded.

May 8, 2020 – Postcards Past and Present

Jill presents a short history of postcards in honor of National Postcard Week and shares some historic postcards from the History Room collections. Amanda demonstrates DIY postcard making, and participants share postcards from their personal collections.

Presentation Slides [PDF]

April 29, 2020 – Karen’s Tips for Learning Genealogy Online

Karen shares new and established educational opportunities that you can access at home for free, whether you’re a student learning about history, or a genealogist researching your ancestors. Then, she talks about how you can help others by sharing your own knowledge of local history and genealogy on FamilySearch.org.

April 22, 2020 – Exploring Ancestry for Families

History Room staff Karen and Jill discuss temporary free access to Ancestry resources through Digital Maine Library. Karen presents a brief tour of Ancestry Library Edition and show off a few fun-for-all-ages Ancestry collections, including one baseball-themed collection. She also demonstrates how to find free resources at Ancestry.com available for a limited time, such as NARA records and K-12 lesson plans that can be used for homeschooling.


News & Updates