Don’t Forget Books – Sanford & Parsons in Wells county, North Dakota

Don’t Forget Books

When researching ancestors, particularly ones that settled a particular location early in that location’s history don’t forget to look for key books regarding the location.  
I’ve tried using Google Books first and OCLC’s WorldCat second, but, have found that WorldCat provides fewer false positives in the searches.  
First, I do a search on OCLC’s World Cat. As an example, I searched for: {“Wells County” “North Dakota”}  which yielded 257 potential candidate books. In this particular search the first two entries, Atlas of Wells County, and Soil Survey: Wells County weren’t of interest to me at this time.  The third entry certainly piqued my interest, The history of Wells County, North Dakota, and its pioneers : with a sketch of North Dakota history and the oregin [sic] of the place names.
I then highlight the title, copy the name and switch windows to books.google.com.  Generally, the book is listed on the first page of the google books search. I look at the book there, in particular look to see if an ebook is available.  I’m looking for the beautiful “  EBOOK – FREE  ” block.  If it is there, fantastic. In the search box below the book’s title I enter my desired search criteria, (typically a surname) and look to see if the book has anything I am looking for.  
If it is not there, I prefer to see the book myself and not rely upon others to do a lookup for me; so, at this I switch back to WorldCat and get the information I need to order the book/material via interlibrary loan.
Generally, in a couple weeks the book is at my local library where I can closely review the material for information pertinent to my research.  
In the case of The History of Wells County, North Dakota, and it pioneers… I received the book in a few weeks and reviewed it closely.  there was a nice seven paragraph biography of A. C. Sanford (Almond Sanford). The biography mentions his mother and father (my 3rd great-grandparents), a brother, and sister settled the area with him, at the same time.  Almond’s sister married William Wright. William Wright is covered in another biography in the book.  I also learned that A.C. had three cousins, Webster, Winfield, and Chas. E., who also settled the area at the same time. Elsewhere in the book, I learned that his uncle, Charles A. Sanford, was a major donor to the University at Jamestown, ND. So much so that a hall was named for him. (Sanford Hall). 
I was able to glean 11 source citations and a few dozen facts regarding the Sanfords and the Parsons that settled Wells County, North Dakota in the early 1880s from the book including this regarding my 3rd Great grandfather William Sanford: 

“Wm. Sanford and his sons, A. C. and George P. Sanford, located on Section 6 in northwestern Sykeston township in 1883.  Wm. Sanford was the father of Mrs. Wm. Wright of Cathay, and a brother of C. A. Sanford of Courtney, donor of Sanford Dormitory at Jamestown College.”
I am certain I will find more information in the three books I still have on request regarding Wells County, N.D., via interlibrary loan.  Hopefully, I will learn exactly how Webster, Winfield, and Charles E are related.

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