Surname Saturday – Chamberlin


The Chamberlin surname derives from an official title, “the chamberlain,” literally one who takes care of a chamber. The chamberlain often had charge of his lord’s receipts and payments.[i] Chamberlin is an English variant of Chamberlain.

My one known ancestor with the surname Chamberlin is fourth great-grandmother Almira Chamberlin, She married Ezra Sanford about 1819. She was born on 21 August 1804 in Bennington County, Vermont.[ii]

Map - Chamberlin Distribution in 1840 Census

The 1840 Census indicated the greatest number of households with the Chamberlin surname were in Vermont with 122 families[iii]. New York State had 115 Chamberlin families in 1840 as well. The 1810 Census, the first census after Almira’s birth, indicated there were 74 families in Vermont with the Chamberlin surname.

My Earliest Ancestors

Further research showed that only one family lived in Bennington County during the 1810 Census with the surname of Chamberlain. That was Benjamin Chamberlain. His household consisted of a woman over 45 (presumed to be his wife), one girl from 16 to 25, two boys from 10 to 15, and a female under 10, who could easily be our Almira. My initial presumption is that these were the children of Benjamin and his wife, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Almira Chamberlin married Ezra Sanford (1792-1855) in 1819. They had nine children. Their second child, William (1822-11915) is my 3rd great grandfather.


Marker: Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford
Marker: Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford in Saline, MI
Source: Find a Grave

Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford died July 7, 1845, and is buried in Benton Cemetery, Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.[iv]

My Direct Chamberlin Ancestors 

  • #202 – Benj. Chamberlain (Conjecture based on 1810 Census.)
  • #101 – Almira Chamberlin (1804-1845) – Generation 7
  • #50 – William M Sanford (1822-1915) – Generation 6
  • #25 – Marion Sanford (c. 1846-?) – Generation 5
  • #12 – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928) – Generation 4
  • #6 – Richard Earl Brown (1903-1990) – Generation 3
  • #3 – My mother – Generation 2
  • #1 – Me – Generation 1

My known relatives.

My records have 359 direct-line descendants identified over ten generations, which is 6% of my known Roberts/Brown Ancestors.



[ii] Google Books: Pioneer Society of Washtenaw County (Mich.), History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, pages 1408 and 1409.


[iv] Find a Grave: Memorial #54063730 – Almira Sanford –


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