Article about AncestryInk blog: published August 27, 2012
South Berwick woman unlocks the past through genealogy
By Suzanne Laurent
August 27, 2012 - 2:00 AM
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Jane Sweetland's curiosity about her maternal great-grandfather eventually led her to pursue a degree in historical genealogical research. She now writes daily on her blog, AncestryInk.
"My great-grandfather was never spoken of," Sweetland said. "I found out that he was a master mariner from Deer Isle."
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Sweetland said the family story was that her great-grandfather "had a woman in every port."
In her research she found he had divorced and remarried a couple of times.
Sweetland moved to South Berwick from Martha's Vineyard three years ago.
"I wanted to spend some time in the area and discover more about the place my ancestors came from," she said.
She took a six-month historical genealogical course online through Boston University. She also holds a creative writing degree from the school.
"I learned how to search databases and do effective research," she said.
Sweetland said she started her blog last year primarily to point out what great local research resources there are in Maine.
"The historical societies' history rooms at the local libraries have been a real source of information," she said.
Sweetland said she wanted to share her knowledge of her research and tell stories on her blog about her findings.
"It's learning about communities and finding the connecting factors," she said. "I especially like finding out about the migration across the states."
She found in her research that Maine's lumber supplies were depleted in the 1800s, and the shipping trade grew out of the need for lumber.
She is currently working on a nonfiction book about an event that happened on Deer Isle in 1846 related to the shipping trade.
"I also do some volunteer work for FindAGrave.com," she said.
"I was very excited to find this resource."
Sweetland said people from around the world search for their ancestors on Find A Grave and they can request to see a photo of the grave site.
Volunteers from the area where the grave is located take photos to post on the site.
"I've been to the old cemetery in Rollinsford (N.H.) a lot for people looking for graves," Sweetland said.
She also uses her knowledge to do genealogical research as a business, she said.