How to find birthplace and parentage of Maine individuals given known details of 19th Century death?


I am looking for the birthplace and parentage of Ambrose Sayward , born cir 1805 and died in Burnham, Maine 14th Mar, 1875. He is buried in the Reynolds cemetary in Burnham, Maine.

Carol Bradford

Posted 2012-10-17T02:41:57.593

Reputation: 41

5Carol, welcome to the new Genealogy StackExchange. This site works in a question and answer format, so your post should be edited so it reads as a question rather than a statement. Also, your question should include information about what research you have already done in attempt to locate this information. This way, those who answer you can offer specific suggestions for further research. – efgen – 2012-10-17T02:59:14.157

1I am not up or down voting this question. However, I think we have to decide whether we want this kind of question on this site. This is a basic query. I had the impression that this group was intended to be at a more "meta" level than just queries. If the collective judgement of the group is that queries like this are fine, then that's fine with me also. But it may still be a decision we should make. – Tom Wetmore – 2012-10-17T03:41:17.340

1@TomWetmore - See discussion on the meta site. – efgen – 2012-10-17T03:58:35.633


This is the meta discussion that @efgen refers to - in the meantime I will try to turn the title into a Question

– PolyGeo – 2012-10-17T07:06:39.577

Hi @TomWetmore, you might find this discussion interesting as well and may want to weight in:

– jmort253 – 2012-10-17T07:22:02.767

1I've answered this on the basis that it will eventually be reworded as a question seeking advice on how to track down the information sought about the individual's birth. – None – 2012-10-17T11:47:04.363

We are all working to discover the criteria for inquiry styled questions. In that spirit, this questions should be improved by (1) providing clear references for any facts that are the basis of the inquiry, and (2) a logical summary, with references, about the work that has been done to solve the problem. – GeneJ – 2012-10-17T17:16:28.160

I'd love to see this question re-constituted, Carol, but as it stands, the information in the body of the question is unreferenced. As written, it leaves us to our own resources to determine the nature of the problem you are facing. It is that problem that we hope is conveyed in the question we will seek to answer. – GeneJ – 2012-10-17T22:52:31.823

As I tend to be working on such issues from time to time, his POB on one son's death record is listed, also, as Burnham. However, on the other son's death record, it is listed as Union. There are numerous Sayward families from Union, Knox County, Maine. I've tried to see if I could "fit" Ambrose into any of them, but no luck, so far. – Jared Handspicker – 2019-05-24T15:31:30.177



First step, since you know the date and place of death is to research the place of death for other clues or relations.

Burnham, Maine has an information page that has various links that may be of interest. If I go to the 2nd page of the death record, I do see four people named Sayward who passed away between 1916 to 1934 who may have been relations. If they were, their birthplaces may lead to the birthplace of Ambrose.

If this is the picture of Ambrose's cemetery stone, then it identifies Ambrose's birth as around July 1805 which narrows it down a little more. His wife would then have been Martha Sayward. Can you find information about Martha? Maybe you can track down where they were married?

There might be records with the church or cemetery where he is buried.

These are a few ideas that might allow you to go further.


Posted 2012-10-17T02:41:57.593

Reputation: 16 148

Since the death was in 1875, it is not so likely that there is a death certificate. The vital records at that time were kept by each town, and may be limited to the name and death date. – RobertShaw – 2012-10-17T06:53:28.923

@RobertShaw - Looking further, you are likely correct. Prior to about 1892, if there was a death certificate issued, it would not be with the state but with the Town Clerk at Burnham. – lkessler – 2012-10-17T12:46:38.753


You don't say what research you've already done.

If you haven't done so already, you should search for him in the US censuses. Don't be too prescriptive about the birth date or the spelling of his name. is one place you can search free of charge. Even though the censuses don't give you detailed information about his birth, they can help you locate him in different places through time, which may help. I would also investigate what other Saywards were living in and around the same place as Ambrose; if you can identify a likely sibling, that gives you another route to identify the parents.

You should also search for a marriage record for Ambrose, which should also contain useful information. (I presume he was the Ambrose Sayward who married Martha Sayward also buried at Burnham, Maine).


Posted 2012-10-17T02:41:57.593