Sanford, York County, Maine Genealogy

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Brief History[edit | edit source]

Sanford is a small city located in York County in the state of Maine.  It is situated on land originally purchased in 1661 from the Abenakis, a Native American tribe, by Major William Phillips.[1]  On February 27, 1768, Sanford was first incorporated as a town and remained a town for 245 years.[2]  In 2012, voters in Sanford gave approval to re-incorporate the town as a city with a mayor, which took effect in January of 2013.[3]  As of the 2010 census, Sanford is the seventh largest municipality in the state of Maine.[4] Additional data on Sanford, Maine can be found in WikiPedia: the Free Encyclopedia.

Sanford was originally known as the “Phillipstown Tract” after Major William Phillips who purchased the land from the Native Americans.[2] Later it was renamed Sanford; this name came from the son of Major Phillips’ third wife, Bridget Hutchinson Sanford.[5] Settlement of Sanford was delayed until 1739 by the French and Indian Wars, and the town was not incorporated until 1768.[6]

Situated within the borders of Sanford is a section of the Mousam River which soon became the source of power for industry.  The first sawmill was built by Captain Market Morrison above Springvale, a village within the town of Sanford.[1] Textile manufacturing, including carpets, cotton and woolen goods, became the dominant industry after the Civil War.  Shoe manufacturing was another large industry in the town.  Thomas Goodall, a British-born industrialist, established the Goodall Mills in 1867 beside the Mousam River.  This mill manufactured carriage robes and blankets and later expanded to make plush railroad seat upholstery, carpets, drapes, fabrics for automobiles, military uniform fabrics, and summer fabrics for suits.  Because of this manufacturing, the town’s population swelled in the thirty years from 1880 to 1910.  Textile manufacturing was the dominant industry until 1954, when Burlington Mills purchased the Sanford Mills and moved the looms to its southern plants in Georgia, closing the mills in Sanford and leaving one-third of Sanford’s population unemployed.[7] Some of the buildings have been removed while others now house other industries.[8]

In 1965, Sanford was called “the town that refused to die” by Life magazine because of its efforts to attract new industries.[7] Sanford attracted diversified industries for a time, including manufacturing aircraft parts.[1] Today, Sanford focuses on its quality of life and its natural assets of being situated close to the Atlantic Ocean, nearby lakes, and the mountains in New Hampshire.[7]

Go to to find published materials for this town.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Historically, the largest religious groups in Maine were the Congregational, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Methodist churches. For general information about Maine denominations, view the Maine Church Records wiki page.

To see the churches in Sanford, visit FamilySearch Places.

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. The following are church records available online for the town of Sanford:

City Directories[edit | edit source]

Land Records[edit | edit source]

The following are online land records for the town of Sanford:

Libraries and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

The following are online maps of the town of Sanford:

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In Maine, most probate records are kept at the town level. The following are online probate records for the town of Sanford:

Town Histories[edit | edit source]

Town Records[edit | edit source]

In Maine, most records are kept at the town level and generally began being kept at the founding of the town. These records may include the following:

  • Births
  • Marriages
  • Deaths
  • Burials
  • Cemetery records
  • Appointments
  • Earmarks
  • Estrays (stray animals)
  • Freemens' oaths (men eligible to vote)
  • Land records
  • Mortgages
  • Name changes
  • Care of the poor
  • School records
  • Surveys
  • Tax lists
  • Town meeting minutes
  • Voter registrations
  • Warning outs (of town)

The following are Sanford town records available online:

Town Clerk[edit | edit source]

The town clerk is responsible for these records, and so most originals can be found at the town clerk's office.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

The town of Sanford kept annual town reports. These reports often contained birth, marriage, and death information. Below is a list of years when Sanford kept town reports. (NOTE: Occasionally, these town reports missed vital statistic information from the end of the year. If you don't find your ancestor's vital information, check the following year's town report to see if your ancestor's information was recorded later.)

Births[edit | edit source]

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Deaths[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wikipedia, (,_Maine : accessed 7 September 2016), "Sanford, Maine."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Maine, An Encyclopedia, ( : accessed 7 September 2016), "Sanford."
  3. "Voter turnout largest in years; Town clerk releases Sanford's official election results," online article, ( : accessed 31 October 2016).
  4. "Age Groups and Sex: 2010 - State - Place and County Subdivision (GCT-P2): Maine," U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder ( : accessed 31 October 2016)
  5. Geo J. Varney, History of Sanford, Maine:  From A Gazetteer of the State of Maine, Published by B. B. Russell, 1886, Transcribed by Betsey S. Webber, ( : accessed 31 October 2016), Sanford.
  6. “History of Sanford-Springvale,”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Preserve America, ( : accessed 7 September 2016), “Preserve America Community:  Sanford, Maine.”
  8. Having grown up in the shadow of the empty Sanford Mill buildings, I can attest to their still being there. (The author.)

Adjacent towns: York Co.: Lebanon | Newfield | Sanford | Shapleigh | Carroll Co.: Wakefield | Strafford Co.: Milton