I’m a Mainer. I have lived my entire life in two Maine towns. I married my hubby here and we raised our family here and hopefully will return to dust here.

I go to bean “suppahs,” make whoopie pies and needhams, eat “original” Italian sandwiches, red hot dogs, lobster rolls with mayo and fried clams in batter – with bellies! I remember Old Orchard Beach from the “good ole days,” when pier fries were actually sold on the pier and Noah’s Ark was a bigger attraction than the arcade. And yes, I walked to school through 3 feet of snow, and put on my bathing suit to play in puddles after summer thunderstorms. And sometimes wore socks with my sandals.

My mom was born in Maine to French-Canadian parents. She and they lived the rest of their lives here. My dad was born in Indiana, but returned to Maine with his Maine mom and Indiana dad when he was 10. They lived the rest of their lives here.

I didn’t know much about my dad’s family, so about three years ago I started doing ancestry research to learn more. Ancestry research is like solving a puzzle with a lot of the pieces missing. Sometimes you get lucky and someone has already done a lot of the work. Sometimes you find the missing pieces in the most unexpected places.

I got lucky with my dad’s mother’s maternal line, thanks to existing genealogy records. Those ancestors came from England to New Hampshire, and then to many Maine towns before the seventh generation ended up in Scarborough.

My search for her paternal trail was more difficult until this happened:

Wanted: A volunteer to help create a one-room schoolhouse experience and play the part of schoolmarm/schoolmaster in Windham, Maine.

This sounded like fun. I had spent my entire 65 years living in Maine. I had lots of experience as an educator and working with children, and loved history. It seemed a perfect fit. For 45 years I had lived in Windham’s first settlement area – New Marblehead.

I knew a bit of its history, but other than raising my family here did not feel a connection to its past. I was familiar with many of the names of the original families – Chute, Manchester, Mayberry, Elder – and historical sites. But I wanted to know more so I started digging into the past.

Like turning over those missing pieces of a puzzle, I came across a name already in my family tree, and then more fell into place. Four of the original settlers of New Marblehead fit into my family tree! They came from England and Ireland to Massachusetts and New Hampshire and then Maine.

So am I “from away” or a real “Mainah”? Why? Because of where I or my ancestors were born? Or when we settled in Maine?

Whatever you may think, I consider myself a real “Mainah”!

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