The title Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire does not, perhaps, provide the best description possible for this book; at least, not in a modern appreciation for the word dictionary. Family Encyclopedia may be a more apt, if not perfect, description. Indeed, this book is laid out like a dictionary or encyclopedia, listing families alphabetically by surname. However, the real purpose of the book is to “document the lives and families of all the area’s inhabitants [Maine and New Hampshire] who settled there by 1699, with three generations of their descendants.”
This “dictionary” was first published in five parts between 1928 and 1939. The original idea for this book came from Charles Thorton Libby (1861-1948); however, its enduring value has prompted the New England Historic Genealogical Society to pull it from the archives and reprint it. The book has a new foreword, for a 2012 genealogical audience. This book is full of births, marriages, and deaths for three to four generations of families. Adding to this are sketches and notes on data, including, places of origin, residences, wills and deeds, court cases, and careers. More than just data, this book paints a picture of the time and the lives these ancestors led.
As mentioned, families are listed alphabetically. Many entries start with a sentence or two indicating possible or actual European origin. Male heads of house are listed alphabetically, denoted by number as reference throughout the text for said family. At 800 pages, this book is filled with hundreds of family surnames and 1,000s of individuals. It was Libby’s idea to scour and digest every possible pre-1700 primary records available. Based on the size of this work, it is clear he did a thorough job.
Foreword (Added for 2012 addition)
Extracts from My. Libby’s Prefaces
Additions and Corrections
Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire is available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $27.39.