Probate Record – Ezra Sanford – Sales Paper – Part 1 of 2

Transcription Tuesday
Transcription by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am 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 1 of the Sales Papers;

We set off to the widow Mercy Sanford one piece of Pasture
Land lying east and adjoining the road which leads from the schoo
house to Isaac Kimbals & bounded East & North on the Widow
Cartwrights thirds containing about two acres, also a Meadow
lot containing about nine acres bounded as follows beginning
at a pine stump baked standing on the bank of the Branch
Brook thence E/O South to the Mill Brook thence uh the
Mill Brook to the foot of the Ridge, then on the line of the
lot Ezra Sanford bought of Jones Barber to Timothy Bar-
-ber land, then on Timothy Barber North line to the Middle
of the Branch Brook, thence down ?? Brook to the bound
began at; also the home lot containing about 27 Acres, born
did as follows beginning at the corner of the road by the
School house, thence down the road westward 68 Rods to the
East Line of the William Lot so called, thence southward on
the old william east line 82 Rods to Josiah Westcoats North
West Corner thence Eastward on ?? Westcoats Line to the road 22
Rods, thence Northward on the Road to the place began at, also
a wood lot on the East side of the Road containing about 15
acres lying on the North part of ??wood lot & ins to contain all
that remains after spliting off thirty acres on the south part off
?? Lot.

We also set to Electa Miller the following
discarded piece of land, beginning on the west side of the
Road in the Widow Cartwrights South Line, thence running
westward to the southwest corner of the widow cartwrights
lot, thence on the west line of ?? Lot 24 Rods to Isaac
Kimbals Land, thence westward and Northward on Isaac Kim
bale land to the center of the Brook, thence up the Mid-
-dle of the brook 63 Rods to a pine stump marked stand
-ing on the Bank, thence E to S. to the Mill Brook, thence
up the Mill Brook one Rod, thence eastward to the
West side of the Road, one Rod southward from the place
began at, thence Northward one Rod to the place of begin

We set to Sally Sanford the following piece of
land, beginning at Electa Millers South East corner thence West
ward on ?? Electa South line to the Middle of Mill brook



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

All dates based upon signed date (on page 2) of 20 September 1813.

Ezra Sanford Probate - Sales Papers, Page 1
Ezra Sanford Probate – Sales Papers, Page 1

Facts I learned

  • The Widow Mercy Sanford inherited several pieces of land from the estate of Ezra Sanford.
  • Electa married (Unknown) Miller before 20 September 1813.
  • Electa inherited a piece of land.
  • Sally Sanford was unmarried in 20 September 1813.
  • Sally inherited a piece of land.
  • Based upon this record I am changing Sarah Sanford’s preferred name to Sally and making Sarah an “also known as.”


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.


[i] Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 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).

Part 2 of 2

Probate Record for Timothy Munsell

Anamnesis Monday
Transcripts by Don Taylor

Cover page for Timothy Munsel Probate DocumentsProbate records are wonderful when you can find them as they provide so much detail and texture about an individual’s life.  I just loved learning that Timothy Munsell‘s family spent a dollar (6 shillings) for “Spirits.”  I also learned the things he had that were of importance. Apparently, no horse but he did have two hogs.

Ancestry.Com is a great resource for Wills and Probate Records. These images come from “Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999” original data from “Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts.” For all the images and higher quality images see Ancestry.Com. (You must have Ancestry account or be using a library account to access.)


Image 1204 – Inventory

Lyme Nov 20th 779

Inventory of Estate of Timothy Munsell

Late of Lyme Deceased

                               £  s  p

  • Wearing apparel 2-12-0
  • Bed & Bedding     2-10—
  • Pewter ware              6
  • Crockery Ditto         6
  • Iron ware                 16
  • Tables & Chairs      12
  • Cupboard & Drawers     6
  • Old Iron                     6
  • Wheel Skeel              3
  • 1 Old Case                 6
  • 1 Lanthorn                2
  • 1 Hogg  150 ?? ? 1-17-6
  • 1 Ditto 50 ??          12-6
  • 5 Bushels Corn     15
  • 1 Bible & Psalm Book     4
  • 1 Pair Heelyard     2
  • Forrage                  1-4
  • Land                       3


[Total]                   £ 16-0-0

Elisha Rice

Reynold Peck

Accept’d and called to the above amount execbty(?)
Only the land is allowed to the widow for ????
by order of the judge attest – L. Law Ats

Image 1210 – Receipt

Receipt – One Dollar for Spirits


Received Lyme Oct 27 – 1798

Elisheehia Munsell one dollar for spirits



If you have any suggested corrections to my transcriptions, please feel free to use the comment form below.


Amanuensis the Easy Way

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.A few years ago, I wrote a post about my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Lewis Bryan (1755-1830) and that he had purchased his land from Robert Bryan. That post received several comments. One included a clue from Gloria Knight who said, “I have found where a “Patent” was issued on 10 Dec 1760 to a Robert Bryan. Source: Halifax County N.C. Land Grants – Secretary of State – Land Grants Record Books 1693-1960. Grant # was 82; File # 14. 520 acres on Conotoe Creek.”

I had meant to find that reference and incorporate it into my information regarding Robert Bryan. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Her comment/clue reminded me of three significant resources matters.


So many of us want to be self-sufficient we tend to forget many researchers have been there before and we can and should build upon their work. For example, Gloria’s clue provided enough information that I could easily, and quickly build upon her work. Not just accept what she said but use it as a hint as a beginning point. I know that professional genealogists want every source to be quoted in a fashion identified in Evidence Explained. Sure, that is THE standard for citing sources.  However, rather than getting all twisted around the citation standards, I am most interested in having enough information about the source that I can find it for myself. In this case, a Google search for Gloria’s clue, “Halifax County N.C. Land Grants ” brought me immediately to North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Seeing Search Query on the page, I searched for Name: “Bryan” and County: Halifax. Six entries were returned, one the 520 Acres of Robert Bryan.  The page also had a link to an image in Book 14, Pages 114-115. There it was, an image of the original patent book. The key to me is Gloria had provided enough information regarding her source that I was able to find the source in less than a minute myself. To me that is the ultimate reason for citations and building upon or confirming her research is the ultimate purpose of networking.


I knew from previous research with this family line that Martin County was previously Halifax County.  There are many sites to learn that kind of information. However, I have found that Wikipedia is possibly the best and easiest way to confirm such information. On Wikipedia, just search <NAME> County, <STATE> and you get the appropriate wiki page.  In this case. I entered “Martin County, North Carolina” In the History section of the page returned said,

The county was formed in 1774 from the southeastern part of Halifax County and the western part of Tyrrell County.

I could have just as easily gone to the Halifax County, North Carolina page and learned that,

In 1774 the southeastern part of Halifax County was combined with part of Tyrrell County to form Martin County.

I think every county page on Wikipedia has a “History” section. I find that the County entries in Wikipedia to be a great asset. Besides quick history, there is a Communities section which shows the cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and townships within the county. Great information to have handy when reviewing Census and other records. I can be a real help in understanding that an incorporated community in your genealogy is near town that may have been their post office which may have been in a township.  So, when you see the names change in different documents, you can understand that your ancestors may have been in the same place even though multiple names were used.


Finally, I wanted to transcribe the patent information from the document. I’ll admit, I don’t like transcribing 18th century handwriting very much. I mean, I can do it, I just don’t like doing it. In this case, I could easily read the document started out “Robert Bryan Five hundred and twenty acres.” A Google search of those exact words led to one result. A quick review of the result showed it was a transcript of the document I wanted to transcribe. Dated the 10th day of December 1760.  Then, rather than transcribe the original text, all I needed to do is to read the transcription and see if I agreed with the transcription.  Much faster – much easier. Then, I added the transcript to my source documents identifying it:

Transcription by <Unknown>  found on site, BMGEN.COM
“Genealogy data relating to the Brian and Mitchell families.”

So, I have my copy of the original image, and I have my source for that image documented. I also have a transcription of the information, confirmed and reviewed by me. I am good with that and can move on to the next project.


Transcription by <Unknown> found on site, BMGEN.COM

ROBERT BRYAN five hundred and twenty acres of land in Halifax County.

Beginning at a Pine, his corner on Conneto Swamp running thence up said swamp to a Maple at the mouth of Wild Cat Branch; then up said branch to a Poplar in said branch; then W 62 poles to a Red Oak; then S 160 poles to a Pine; then W 40 poles to two Sweet Gums in a branch; then S 280 poles to a Pine; then W 88 poles to a pine in MOSES HORN’s line; then along his line S 23 E 174 poles to a White Oak, his corner on Conneto Creek; then down said creek to a Pine, JOHN HORN’s corner on said creek; then along his line N 17 E 142 poles to a Pine, his corner in said BRYAN’s line; then along his line W 16 poles to a Pine, his corner; then along his line N 270 poles to a Pine, his corner on a branch; then down the branch, his line, to the first station.

Dated 10th day of December, 1760


  1. Pay attention to hints from anywhere – check them out for yourself.
  2. The North Carolina Land Grant site is an awesome resource. Be sure to include it in your resources.
  3. Don’t forget Wikipedia County searches can be helpful.
  4. Check Google (or Bing or Yahoo) to see if the words you want transcribed  have already been transcribed.









Memories of Martha Barnes Conner

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

It is always amazing when you can find the voice of an ancestor. Thanks to Timothy Foulkes’ contribution to Family Search of the “History of Martha Barnes Conner,” we can read the words of Martha Barnes Conner, the youngest daughter of my 2nd great-grandparents, Nelson and Mercy Eliza (Taft) Barnes. The document posted appears to be a transcript of the original but seems to be faithful to the original because of the archaic spelling and other features of the transcription, such as Hridge (instead of Bridge) and Heron (instead of Merom).

Covered Wagon from period

I can so visualize the plight of Nelson and Mercy in 1842 — Living in their covered wagon with their young child, out of money and relying on the credit from others. Just a rocking chair, a bushel basket for a stool, and a trunk as both a table and to hold their bedding, it was clearly a bleak life. Yet, over the years they purchased their own property and added to it. A true story of pioneer success. There are side stories: One about the wagon that carried mail (and presumably) supplies the 31 miles from Terra Haute and one about a man who dies and was buried near the old Dodd school house.

Document Image

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft

Transcription of typed image transcription.

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft were married Oct 31, 1839 in New York 
state and came to Indiana with their baby in a covered wagon in 1842 and 
camped near Fairbanks they were out of money  he ask a farmer for work 
and went in debt for a bu of corn and a side of bacon, they had sold 
their household goods a piece at a time untill they had nothing left
but a rocking chair a chest that they kept their bedding and clothes in 
and used it also to eat their meals on and a half bu measur that my 
father sat on and also fed his horses in.  he worked for farmers for 
several year and then bough a little piece of land near Dodds Hridge
he kept adding to the farm untill he had a good sized farm at the time of 
his death  I am the youngest child of nine children and the only one 
living  I hays 80 achers of land that my father gave me that he entered 
from the government he rode on horse back to Vincanzes to make the
deed. at the time they only got mail once a week a hack pulled by 
two horses made the trip from Terre Haute to Herom ever other day 
down one day and back to Terre Haute the next and in winter and the roads 
were bad  they stooped and changed horses at a farm house that was 
owned by Hessie Rigs also travelers got their meals there. there 
was where we went to get our mail. I remember hearing my father 
telling of a sick jentle man that was on this stage coach.  that he 
was put off with a man that was taking care of him  the man had a 
contages diseas but was too sick to travel  he died and was burried on
the bluff north of the Dodd school house  my father and a neighbor by the 
name of Mckee made a rough box and took it in talking distance to burry 
him  I remember when I went to school at the old frame school house how 
we children put flowers on the grave  it is marked with a rough stone. 
The frame school house was replaced with a brick and now is not used 
any more 

written by Martha Barnes Conner

(from handwritten note by Martha Barnes Conner, wife of Frank Conner and mother of Garland Conner)

[Note: Martha Ellen (Barnes) Conner died on 16 Feb 1949.  This transcription of the transcription image is by Don Taylor.]


I would love to see the original document if Mr. Foulkes or anyone else has it available. Also, I have been unsuccessful in finding information or photos of the Dodd School House. I would be very interested in learning much more about it as well.


“History by Martha Barnes Conner”
CONTRIBUTED BY Timothy Foulkes to Family Search

Virginia Memory Chancery Records Index

John P. Williams vs Admr of John P. Price – Case: 1836-011

Peter Howell Deposition

Amanuensis Monday

Finding records for ancestors in antebellum Virginia are always a treasure.  One of my favorite record sets is the Chancery Records Index available through Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia.  Although it says it is an index, it is much more.  Not only does it provide a search capability of an index, once you find a record you may also download the original document images. They even provide a batch download of all the images in a set as a ZIP file instead of needing to download all the files one at a time – A very handy feature when a record has 90 images.

I was recently looking for records regarding my wife’s 4th great-grandfather John Price and looked at the Virginia Chancery Records Index for possible information. Sure enough, a search for anyone with the surname Price being the plaintiff in a case between 1779 (when John was 21 years old) and 1840 (a few years after his death). There were 11 records returned and four of them related to a John Price as the plaintiff.

A similar search for Price being the defendant returned 12 records with three of the results relating to the administrator of John Price’s estate being the defendant. With these records, I thought I’d look at the details of the John Price cases to see what might be there.

Woo-hoo! One of the cases includes testimony from Peter Howell, whom I have been searching for information regarding for quite some time.  Would his affidavit show anything new? Here is my transcript of the document.

Image of the Peter Howell Deposition in the John P. Williams vs John P. Price 1839 Virginia Chancery case.
Peter Howell Deposition

Virginia Memory – Chancery Records – John Williams vs. John P Price – Page 0030 – Transcript

The Deposition of Peter Howel of lawful age. Taken agreeable to notice
on Thursday the 31st day of March 1836. At the house of William Newton in
The County of Buckingham, Virginia. to be read as evidence in a certain
Suit defending in the Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery in
Cumberland County Va on the Chancery side of said Court. In which
John P Williams is Plaintiff and William D. Price as administrator
of John P. Price. deceased, is defendant. This deponent being
duly sworn deposits and saith that I recollect that
Mr. John P Price and Mr. John P William came to my
house sometime between the first and 15th of June
1830 on about that time at which time Mr. Williams
applied to me for [???d] dollars which I owe him
for the reason of an irmaue[?] in the spring of 1829
to his Hames and upon appreciation I present to Mr.
Williams a thirty dollar note it being the smallest
I had at that time Mr. William informed me that
he had no small money and could not change
the note I forwarded in in convergence of which
Mr. Williams turned to Mr. Price and told him
he would leave a receipt with him and get him to collect
the money and after the 16th of June 1830 Mr.
Price told me he was able to change the note I
offered to Mr. Williams I paid him the Money
on the same day and took a receipt
which I have now in my possession and further this
deponent saith not.

Peter Howell

Sworn to transcribed before me this 31st day of April 1836

Benj. D. c Induson[?]


  • John P Price and John P Williams came to Peter Howel’s home in June 1830.
  • Peter Howell testified (was living) on 31 March 1836.
  • William Newton lived in Buckingham County in March 1836.
  • William D. Price was the administrator of the estate of John P. Price.

Peter’s deposition doesn’t provide any important new information regarding him or his life. However, there are 90 pages within this Chancery case, and the Peter Howell deposition only provides two of those pages.  There is a lot more to look at and see what I can learn.  There is a deposition from a “William Holman.” I’ll bet this is the William Holman that married Peter Howell’s half-sister?  If so, maybe that will provide fresh new areas of inquiry. There are also several other documents in Virginia Memories Chancery Records that should be reviewed closely. Ninety pages of transcribing hard-to-read 19th-century handwriting is always a chore (for me), but it has the potential of opening new areas of research.

Future Research:

There are some 23 Chancery cases from Cumberland County, Virginia, that might apply to my wife’s Price ancestors; I need to review them and glean any new facts I can find.


Use Virginia Memory  Chancery Records Index to look for Virginia ancestors who lived in Virginia between 1750 and 1912.  Be sure to check by specific county and/or city to your research processes to avoid searching for information from counties not covered by the index.