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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Oxford County Government

Most of the county offices for Oxford County are located in the courthouse on Western Avenue in South Paris. The Registries of Deeds (Eastern District) and Probate are on the first floor at the front of the building. Both offices welcome researchers.

Vital records in Maine are not kept by the county, but by the town and state. More information may be found on the Oxford County Vital Records page.

Probate Court

Register of Probate
PO Box 179
26 Western Ave.
South Paris, ME 04281
Telephone: 207-743-6671
Fax: 207-743-7346

In probate records one will find wills, administrations, inventories, adoptions, guardianships, name changes, and some early naturalizations. Records for Oxford County exist from the county's formation in 1805. Records prior to 1805 will be found in York County (most Cumberland County records were destroyed by fire in the nineteenth century). These records have been collected in two volumes: John Eldridge Frost, Maine Probate Abstracts. (Camden, Me.: Picton Press, 1991); and Joseph C. Anderson, II, York County, Maine Will Abstracts 1801-1858. (Camden, Me.: Picton Press, c1997).

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Registries of Deeds

Register of Deeds: Eastern District
26 Western Ave.
South Paris, ME 04281
Telephone: 207-743-6211
Fax: 207-743-2656

Register of Deeds: Western District
Fryeburg, ME 04037
Telephone: 207-935-2565
Fax: 207-935-4183

Oxford County's two registries of deeds hold records of "Deeds, mortgages, discharges, liens, abstracts of divorce, abstracts of probate, land installment contracts, powers of attorney, court papers, and anything affecting the ownership of land including subdivision plans and standard boundary surveys." The South Paris office also holds copies of the records of the County Commissioners, useful to those researching the location and construction of county roads.

The Western District registry holds records for the towns of Stoneham, Stow, Lovell, Fryeburg, Brownfield, Denmark, Porter and Hiram.

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Criminal and Civil Courts

Clerk of Superior Court
26 Western Ave.
South Paris, ME 04281
Telephone: 207-743-8936

District Court: South Paris
26 Western Ave.
South Paris, ME 04281
Telephone: 207-743-8942

District Court: Rumford
145 Congress St.
Rumford, ME 04276
Telephone: 207-364-7171

The Supreme Judicial Court, Court of Common Pleas, District and Superior Courts, have all held terms in Oxford County. District and Superior Court records are kept onsite for a period of years, then at the State Records Center for a time, and finally are sent to the Maine State Archives. The retention schedule varies by court.

Divorces were granted prior to 1929 by the Supreme Judicial Court, afterwards by the Superior Court, and since 1961 by the District Courts. District Court divorce docket books and file papers are held onsite for a minimum of twenty years before being turned over to the Maine State Archives. Abstracted returns of divorce records have been filed with the state since 1892, and may be viewed at the State Archives.

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