Do a search on the Congregational Library and Archives Hidden Histories project. This is about early Congregational Church Records online. It’s an ongoing project. You can see a list of mostly Massachusettes towns that are being worked on. It does have a listing for Sanford, Maine since we were part of Massachusettes.

The NEGHS now have a new searchable database: the 1916-1920 Massachusettes Vital Records through their partnership with Family Search. This also includes amendments to the Vital Records from 1841 to 1920.

Don’t forget to check out family associations. They may have genealogical information helpful to you. Many have family reunions or picnics etc. Some associations are for descendants of early settlers of a specific geographical area.

You may want to consider searching for digitized papers by town. There may be information out there that you can access without paying a fee. Don’t forget that new information is going online all the time.

Don’t assume that because your ancestors were poor that there aren’t records of them. Check out records from prisons, almshouses, orphanages, charity societies, and advertisements for runaway indentured servants.