Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses

Brown-Sanford
Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One essential action in researching an ancestor is to find that individual in all of the census records during their lifetime.  Ezra Clugston Sanford was a frustration for me.  He died on 22 Jun 1813, in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont, so he should be in the 1810 census.  Search as I would, I couldn’t find him. Finally, I used a FAN (Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors) search technique and found something quite interesting.

1800 Census

Looking for Ezra in the 1800 Census was a success[i].  I found:

1800 Census – Ezra Sanford – Pownal, Bennington, Vermont

Ezra is the 7th entry down from the top.

Ezra Sanford in the 1800 Census

Ezra Sanford || 1 – – 2 – || 2 1 – 1 –

1800 Males in Household

  • Under 10     = 1       Ezra (Junior) would have been 8.
  • Age 26-45 = 2       Ezra (Senior) should be 47.
  •                                     Unknown male.

1800 Females in Household

  • Under 10     2       Lucy would have been 1
    Sally/Sarah should have been 4.
  • 10-16            1        Electa would have been 10.
  • 26-45           1       Mercy would be 39.

So, the 1800 Census shows all of the children of Ezra and Mercy that I would expect. It does suggest Ezra is two years younger than he probably is, but I’ll accept that. Finally, an unknown male was living with Ezra and Mercy in 1800.

1790 Census

Ezra and Mercy married in 1786. I would expect the Ezra Sanford Household of 1790 to consist of:

1 (or 2) Free white male(s) age 16 and up and two white females.

Ezra was born in Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut, but he married Mercy in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Finally, the couple lived in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont in 1800, so I would expect Ezra and Mercy to most likely be in one of those three locations in 1790.

A search for Ezra on Family Search yielded three results for the 1790 Census.

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut – 1 – 0 – 3.

Litchfield and Sharon are about 25 miles apart so, and this is possibly them.

Ezra – Redding, Fairfield, Connecticut – 2 – 1 – 3.

Reading and Newtown are about 11 miles apart. Likewise, this is a possible location.

Ezra – Warwick, Orange, New York – 3 – 1 – 7.

Warwick, New York is about 85 miles from Sharon and Newtown and over 150 miles from Pownal.  Also, their having a household with seven females would make this a very complex household.  Based upon the location and household makeup, I’m sure the Warwick Ezra is not mine.

Which is my Ezra – The one living in Litchfield or the one living in Reading?  To clarify, I went to the 1800 Census and looked there for Ezra. (Mine was in Pownal, VT) It shows an Ezra Sanford living in Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 1800, so my Ezra must be the one living in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1790[ii].

Ezra Sanford in the 1790 Census

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut

Ezra Sanford   1  || 0  3.

  • Free white male 16 or older = 1 – Ezra.
  • Free white females = 3           Mercy
  •                                                 Electa (probably born in 1790)
  •                                                 Unknown daughter (probably born 1787-1789)

1810 Census

I returned to searching for Ezra in the 1810 Census.

A search for “Ezra” in Bennington County yielded 11 results. None of them had a surname beginning with San…. or ending in …ford.

A search for “Sanford” in Bennington County yields six results. Four were in Sandgate, and two were in Dorset township. I found it interesting that NONE of the findings included anyone in Pownal. I then browsed the 1810 Census records on Ancestry.Com. There, various townships were listed, but Pownal was not one of them. I manually reviewed all of the pages of a group under, “Township not listed.” I was not successful finding anyone resembling “Ezra Sanford.”

Finally, I looked at the names in the 1800 census that were near Ezra. They included people like Obadiah Dunham (who we’ll see named in Ezra’s probate actions) and Israel Osborn. I was able to find them enumerated in Peru, Bennington County, Vermont. Peru?  Peru is a town at the opposite corner of Bennington County from Pownal could this really be?

<<Insert Peru/Pownal Image>>

Pownal misidentified as Peru on Ancestry.Com

Then I noticed that although the search and Ancestry  Page designation indicated it was Peru, the top of the actual page indicated it was Pownal. Very near in the 1810 Census record for Obadiah Dunham is an entry for “John Samford.”[iii]

John Samford – 1 – – 1 || – 2 1 – 1

This looks like “John Sanford” to me.

My view of the name indicated that “Sanford” was just as likely, if not more likely, as “Samford.” So, I wondered, could this be Ezra? The household consisted of the following:

    • Male 10-16     Ezra (Junior) would be 17 ???
    • Male >45         Ezra (Senior) would be 47
    • Female 10-16  Lucy would be 11
    • Female 10-16  Sally/Sarah would be 14
    • Female 16-26  Electa would be 20
    • Female >45     Mercy would be 49

So, the location and family unit for Ezra Sanford appears to fit John Samford/Sanford. John does not show up in Bennington County, Vermont, in either the 1800 nor the 1820 Censuses, so I believe that “John Sanford” in the 1810 Census is Ezra Sanford. I don’t know if Ezra’s full name was “John Ezra Sanford” or “Ezra John Sanford” or if the census enumerator just got his name wrong, but I am fairly certain that John is Ezra, and that the location of Pownal is correct. Thanks to looking into Ezra’s neighbors, I was successful finding who I believe to be Ezra.

My goal to find Ezra Sanford in all of the census records during his life is successful.  Another good day.

Continue reading “Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses”

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers

Transcription Tuesday
Brown/Sanford
by Don Taylor

This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am continuing my review of the Probate of Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)[i]. The first section of the Inventory Papers are images 4, 5, and 6 of the 19 images contained in the probate file.

Image 4 (391 – Cover)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers (front)

Ezra Sanford
Commission to
O. Dunham to appraise.

Image 5 (392 – Cover – left side)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers – Front Page Notes

Bennington County fs Pownal 10th July 1813 Personally appeared Obadiah Dunham before me and was duly sworn to the faithful performance of his duty as directed in the within commission before me.

Samuel Wright, Justice of Peace

Bennington County fs Pownal 10th July 1813

Isaac Kimbell was sworn to the faithful discharge as his duty as a commissioner on the estate of Ezra Sanford estate, late of Pownal deceased, according to the ?? Commission. 

Before Me —- Obadiah Dunham Justice Peace

Image 6 (393 – a standard printed form with blanks filled in*)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers – Appraisers assigned to do inventory.

To Obadiah Dunham & Isaac Kimbill of Pownal in the district of Bennington good and sufficient freeholders.

GREETING.

By virtue of the authority vested in me, by the laws of this state, I do hereby appoint you the said Obadiah & Isaac commissioners to appraise the estate both real and personal of Ezra Sanford late of Pownal deceased, and you are hereby directed and empowered to apprize the same according to its true and just value in cash, according to your best judgment, and to make a true Inventory thereof under oath of your fidelity therein, and the same return into the registry of the court of probate for the district of Bennington together with this commission under your hands, and a true copy of said inventory to give to the administratrix of such estate on or before the first Monday of August 1813.

Dated at 5th this day of July 1813

Josiah Wright PROBATE JUDGE

Attest, B Edwards

Register. Protem.

Facts I learned

I learned that Obadiah Dunham and Isaac Kimbill were likely family, friends, or neighbors of Ezra Sanford. I had seen Obadiah’s name before, but it was clearer and more readable in this document then it was in previous documents.

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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, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.

* Handwritten entries are in bold.


Endnotes

[i] Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Ancestry. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com  Operations, Inc., 2015.