Was Your Ancestor a Maine Alien in 1940?

Quite a question, I know! Given the paranoia of the times, Gov. Lewis O. Barrows ordered that every “alien” (adult of another nationality) in Maine be registered. The executive proclamation went into effect on June 14, 1940, citing such things as “subversive influences” , “un-American acts” and “threat of sabotage”, and the need to know where every non-native lived and worked. (See Report of State of Maine Registration of Aliens, September 21, 1940). Undoubtedly this must’ve been demeaning to those involved, but it did result in a goldmine of information for anyone seeking 20th century data on their predecessors. The single-page forms required name, address, length of time in the U.S., place and date of birth, number of children, occupation and employer, languages used, military service and citizenship status. The really great news is that these records, all 35,243 of them, are available online through Digital Maine: http://digitalmaine.com/alien_docs . You can search by name, town or county, or a combination of these terms with the advanced search feature. Download to your heart’s content! What a resource! Until next time…

Emily Schroeder

About Emily Schroeder

Greetings to everyone who’s into genealogy! I’m Emily Schroeder, and I’ve been at Maine State Library since 1980. My latest incarnation has transformed me into the genealogy specialist, which means I get to visit other libraries and do genealogy workshops, have classes onsite, teach adult ed., write newsletters, join genealogy groups, and generally try to keep myself “in the know”. I’m hoping that through this blog we can share ideas, review resources and databases, and maybe introduce something new to readers in the genealogy field. You can always e-mail me at: emily.schroeder@maine.gov.