Searching for Almira Chamberlain’s Parents

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Finding the parents of early 19th century women is always a challenge. So, I knew that determining the parents or my 4th great-grandmother, Almira (Chamberlain) Sanford was going to be difficult. Almira married Ezra Sanford in 1819 when she was only 15 years-old. She had nine children and died quite young, at only 41 years of age.

All the information I have about her life is from secondary sources. First, The History of Washtenaw County, Michigan states:

William Sanford, Farmer, was born in Genesee Co., N. Y., March 30, 1823. His parents were Ezra and Almira Sanford, the former born in Bennington Co., VT, Aug 19, 1792, and the latter born in the same place, Aug. 21, 1804. They were married in 1819, and were blessed with 9 children, 5 of whom are living.[i]

The other source I have is the death record for William Sanford, which provides his parents names as Ezra Sanford and Almira Chamberlin (or Chamberlain).[ii]

If I believe that these two records are accurate, then I can hypothesize three scenarios.

  1. Her family was in Bennington County, Vermont in 1810 when she was five-years-old and there will be evidence of her in the 1910 Census records.
  2. Her family was in Bennington Co. in 1800, four years before she was born.
  3. In 1820 her family was either in Bergen, Genese, New York where she and Ezra were in 1820 or they are still in Bennington Co. Vermont.
  4. Finally, it is possible that her family came and left Bennington County after 1800 and before 1810 making it impossible to determine the family from these census records.

1810 Census

The 1810 Census is clear. There is only one Chamberlain household in Bennington County, Vermont.

The Benj. Chamberlain household consists of three males and three females. Excluding the oldest male (clearly Benjamin) and the oldest female (most likely his wife) who are both over 45 year of age that leaves:

  • Two males, from 10 to 16 years of age,
  • One female under 10 and
  • One female from 16 to 16.

In 1810, Almira would have been five years old and fits into the one female under ten.

1800 Census

With the 1810 census findings kept in mind, Benj. Chamberlain should be found in the 1800 census.  His age could be either 26 to 45 or over 45. His wife would be the same. But there should be at least two males under 10 and one female under 10 in the household.

The only Chamberlin in Bennington County in 1800 is a Calvin Chamberlin. He appears to be 26 to 45 but the children in the household are all older than 10. So, there is no way this can be the same household with a different first name being used.

Next, I looked for a Benjamin Chamberlain in the 1800 Census anywhere. The search yielded 14 results on Ancestry.

Location Children Under 10 Status 1810 Status
Brattleboro, Windham, VT 3 boys, 1 girl Possible Still in Brattleboro.
Chelmsford, Middlesex, MA None
Dalton, Berkshire, MA 2 boys & 1 girl Possible Likely
Glastonbury, Hartford, CT 2 boys, 3 girls
Greenfield, Hillsborough, NH None
Newbury, Orange, VT 1 boy, no girls.
Philadelphia, PA 2 boys & 2 girls Unlikely
Plymouth, Windsor, VT None
Schenectady, Albany, NY 3 boys & 1 girl Possible Still in Schenectady.
Standish, Cumberland, ME None
Thetford, Orange, VT None
Thetford, Orange, VT 1 boy & 1 girl
Turner, Cumberland, ME 2 boys & 1 girl
Windham, Greene, NY 1 boy, 1 girl

Of those 14 Benjamin Chamberlains, only four had a combination of at least two boys and one girl, however, one of those seems unlikely due to location.

Back to the 1810 Census

Then, I look at the 1810 Census again. Two of the Benjamin Chamberlains were still in their 1800 location during the 1810 Census. Only the Benjamin Chamberlain living in Dalton, Berkshire, MA was no longer found in Dalton. Dalton is only about 20 miles south of Bennington County, so that move seems possible, even likely. Certainly, much more likely than moving 250 miles northeast from Philadelphia to Bennington County.

Conclusion

Armed with these census facts, I feel comfortable enough to hypnotize that Benjamin Chamberlain, who lived in Dalton, Massachusetts during 1800, is likely the father of Almira Chamberlain and lived in Bennington County, Vermont in 1810. As such, I’ll create a tentative relationship and continue researching this as a possible family unit.

Endnotes

[i] History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, William Sanford – Pages 1408 and 1409. Chas. C. Chapman & Co. (1881). History of Washtenaw County, Michigan: Together with sketches of its cities, villages, and townships … and biographies of representative citizens: history of Michigan. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co. https://archive.org/details/cu31924028870520.

[ii] Michigan Death Certificates, William Sanford (Birth 30 Mar 1823 – Death 05 Jul 1915)- Charlotte, Eaton, Michigan.

Probate Record – Ezra Sanford – Sales Paper – Part 2 of 2

Transcription Tuesday

Brown/Sanford

Transcription by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I continue looking at the Probate Record for Ezra Sanford of Bennington County, Vermont[i], who died in 1813. The “Sales Papers” consisted of a cover page and two handwritten pages. The cover page indicated that this was the “Division of Ezra Sanford Estate. Recorded Book 5th Page 234 to 237 by Jona E Robinson, Register.” It also indicates that it was received, examined, allowed and ordered to be recorded on October 4th, 1813.

Page 2 of the Sales Papers:

 

There up ?? brook to the foot of the Ridge, there over the ridge
on her Mama;s East line to Timothy Barbers land, thence East
ward on ?? Barber & Isaac Henshals Line to Road at the foot
of the Ridge, thence up the North line of the Road to the Road
that leads Northward to Isaac Heshels & thence Northward
on the West Line of ?? Road to the ??? began at.

We also set to Lucy Sanford the following piece of Land, beginning
at a stake on the south side of the road in the East Line
of the old Williams Lot so called, thence on the East Line of
?? Lot southword to Josiah Wentwout Northward corner
& so in southward on ?? Wistcounts line to Benjamin Bakers Land
Thence on ?? Barber Land westward to the Road thence North
aly on the Road to Timothy Barber Land thence Eastward
by an ?? Timothy Line to the Mill Brook thence down
the mill brook to the Mill, thence on the Mill lane to
the road, then easterly on the south side of the road to the
first bound,

also we set to Lucy thirty acres of wood
land lying on the south side of the wood lot & east
of the line that leads by Elis Dunhams lying in a regular
form __ __ __ __

Ezra Sanford had received one thousand
one hundred and thirty three dollars and ninety in credits
Electa Sanford had received sixty five dollars & forty seven
cents in advance.
Sally Sanford had received seventy nine dollars and thirty three cents
& Lucy Sanford had received sixty-one dollars and eighty three cents —

??? 20th September 1813 we have attended to the business
of our appointment and decided the landed estate of Ezra
Sanford late of Pownal deceased as above described & have also
dre?? the personal estate amongst the widow and lawful
heirs.

We the undersigned ??? { Jos?? Blackinton }
our ratification to this division by { Jebadiah Faunhan }
countersigning the same { Isaac Kimbell }

Mercy Sanford
Sally Sanford
Lucy Sanford
Ezra Sanford

—————

Comments:

Paragraphs above are mine for my clarity, not the original writer.

  • —————

Facts I learned

  • Ezra Sanford left a large estate, many parcels of land and over $1000 in cash.
  • Lucy Sanford inherited two pieces of land.
  • Ezra, Electa, Sally, and Lucy all received money.
  • I noted: Electa did not sign the division agreement.
  • Mercy, Sally, Lucy, and Ezra were all living on 20 Sep 1813.

==============================================

NOTE:  The Cambridge Dictionary defines “transcribe” as to “make a complete written record of spoken or written words.” My transcriptions are seldom perfect but I do my best to convert handwritten documents into typed words for my genealogical purposes.  If you see anything that I have incorrect or can interpret the words I have ??ed, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.


Sources

[i] Ancestry.com. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Vermont, Bennington County, Bennington District, Probate Records; Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Entry for Ezra Sanford Probate – Page 16 (00404).