My great grandmother was given up for adoption in in 1869 or 70 in Jonesport Maine by a woman named Cora Comeau

+3 votes
We do not know what happened to Cora Comeau after that.  My great-grandmother was adopted by Andrew Jacksom Church and married Henry Mansfield, the dentist in Jonesport.
in Genealogy Help by

Your great grandmother (who was adopted by Andrew Jackson Church and his wife Juliet Hinckley Church) was born in MA February 1869.  They named her Mabelle Groves Church.  Check the 1880 US Census.  She is shown there with that name and over the top of the name something is written, the   first part I can't make out, but the last part shows "Aud ----- J. Comeau".  So it looks to me like her original name is listed over her 'official' name if you can make it out.

Census shows she was born 25 DEC 1869.  Source;  page 89 of Early Jonesborough Families of Washington County, Maine.

Thank you for this Chris!  Since I posted the original question about Mabelle's biological mother I have visited the records office in Machias and have learned that she was never actually adopted by Andrew Jackson Church and Juliette Hinkley.  You might be interested in an article I wrote for Memories of Maine Magazine two summers ago about the Schooner Edward King, which was lost at sea around the same time as this ship,  - see excerpt of my article below…Are you also related to this Captain James Hinckley?  I know the spelloing of the name is a little different….

Let me know if you want to see the entire article or the one on the steeple restoration at Sawyer Memorial Church.

Laura Mazza-Dixon

In 1875, James Hinckley and his brother Horace sailed out of New York on the brig ALBERTA carrying a cargo of grain to Europe and were never heard from again.  James' daughter, Alberta, was ten years old at the time.  She would grow up to marry Bion Bibber Mansfield, who was ten years old when he lost his two big brothers, Daniel and Levi.


Since both the Mansfield and Sawyer families were involved in building and sailing the schooners that sailed up and down the Eastern seaboard in the 1800's, they were well aware of the dangers of the sea. Still, the tragic loss of the two Mansfield brothers must have affected them deeply.


On the mantelpiece in the Mansfield house in Jonesport rests a wooden cross that Lois White Mansfield decorated with cowrie shells.  Sea captain's wives passed the time when their husbands and sons were at sea working on projects like this. It serves now to remind us of all the families who waved goodbye to loved ones headed out on long voyages and of the courage of those who sailed the high seas.


The powerful storm that blew up off Nantucket that autumn and overpowered the Schooner Edward King took the lives of four young men from Downeast Maine. But without the contributions of generations of reporters, archivists, historians, and genealogists, those few lines inscribed about them on that tall grey stone would have been a mystery impossible to solve.

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3 Answers

+1 vote
If you are certain that the adoption occurred in Maine, you might gain some leads into Cora Comeau's life by researching that specific event further. During the 1870s, many children were adopted great distances away from their birth parents (that was not always the case of course).

But there were a number of charitable organizations which operated "orphan trains" in which children were taken from urban areas and sent to adoptive families elsewhere, often in small communities or rural locations. At the time, many cities were unhealthy environments, so it was considered helpful by some reformers to send the children to reside in other places.

Literally hundreds of orphan trains transported children for adoption from the mid-1800s into the 1920s. Sometimes children were placed with childrens homes by parents who expected to return for them later, and they were sent by train and placed with foster or adoptive families long distances away. In other cases, the parents intended to leave the youngsters for adoption and they granted permission for the adoptions right from the start when the children were conveyed to the childrens homes.

So, if you can locate the court records of the adoption, you might obtain some leads into the birth mother's location. Did she sign the papers in Maine, or were the permissions relayed there by a social worker or other intermediary acting on her behalf? Studying the records closely might reveal more information, if records are available (sometimes record keeping was not as meticulous in the 1800s as now, however).

Hope this is helpful. Best wishes to finding more info.
by Dorothy M G2G Crew (990 points)
+1 vote

Your relative (adopted daughter of Andrew Jackson Church) is related to me he was my 3rd great-uncle.  Your great grandmother's ? adopted name was Mabelle Groves Church (1865-1955).  She DID marry Henry Augustus Mansfield (1868-1966).  Both of them are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Jonesport, Maine.

See Find a Grave for them at this link:  However under 'parents' this is what is shown:  Parents:  Juliet E Hinckley Church (1831 - 1902)

They had four children. 


Chris Gilbert


0 votes
Comeau is a fairly common French Canadian and Acadian name in New Brunswick, Canada, and Maine is home of a large number of Americans of French Canadian ancestry.

She could have disappeared back to Canada after giving the baby up.
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (877k points)

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