Discovering New Relatives through Hometown Searches: Jeremiah Sanborn

Travel was much more difficult in 19th century America than it is today – you couldn’t simply hop on a plane and find yourself across the country in just a few hours. Because of this, it wasn’t uncommon for people to be born, married, live, and die all within a few miles’ radius. This is why many small towns and villages in early America were made up of large extended families, and almost everyone in town was related somehow.

Knowing this, I wanted to see what new ancestors I could discover who lived in the same places as other members of my family tree. I know I’m related to multiple people with the last name “Sanborn” in Sanbornton, New Hampshire, so I decided to search GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives using the keyword “Sanbornton.”

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for "Sanbornton"

This search brought up 168 marriage records, meaning there’s a good chance I have lots of relatives in Sanbornton.

Looking over the search results page, I noticed that the second entry is a marriage notice from May 1854: “At Sanbornton, by Rev. Mr. Ware, Mr. Jeremiah Sanborn of Gilmanton, to Miss Martha Durrell of Sanbornton.”

Marrriage notices, New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette newspaper article 17 May 1854
Source: GenealogyBank, New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 17 May 1854, page 3

Jeremiah Sanborn (1791–1862) of Gilmanton and Martha Durrell of Sanbornton are almost certainly distant cousins of mine. I searched my family tree on FamilySearch – and sure enough, I found Jeremiah and Martha in my family tree and added the exact date of their marriage that I found in GenealogyBank:

A marriage record for Jeremiah Sanborn and Martha Durrell, from FamilySearch
Source: FamilySearch

Jeremiah’s page on FamilySearch also gave me another interesting detail: Martha was Jeremiah’s second wife. His first marriage was to Abigail Bean in 1845.

A marriage record for Jeremiah Sanborn and Abigail Bean, from FamilySearch
Source: FamilySearch

I wanted to find out a little more about this first wife, so I did another search in GenealogyBank for her.

The second result gave me the grim news of her death by suicide.

An article about the suicide of Abigail Sanborn, Boston Herald newspaper article 4 December 1851
Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts), 4 December 1851, page 2

I knew from my family tree that Abigail’s maiden name was “Bean” – so it is very likely the “B.” in this death notice stands for her maiden name.

To be sure this was the same Abigail Bean who was married to Jeremiah Sanborn, I checked my family tree for Abigail’s death date. Sure enough, Abigail died on that date in 1851, just six years after her marriage to Jeremiah.

Genealogy Tip: Use GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives to discover new relatives you never knew about, or to fill in the gaps for the ones you have already found.

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