The treasure today is the death records of Zachariah Hildreth, and his wife Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth, in Townsend, Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1857. I found that I don't have a death "certificate" from the town for them for some reason...but I do have the death record entries from the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 collection found on www.AmericanAncestors.org.
I actually have a two-fer here, because they died in the same year and are listed in lines 2 and 3 on the page above.
Here is a snippet of their entries:
The summary of the information for them is:
Date of Death: Jany 13 
Name and surname: Hannah Hildreth
Age: 67 [years]
Place of Death: Townsend
Disease or Cause of Death: Parylitic
Sex and condition: Female Married
Place of Birth: Brookline NH
Names of Parents: Josiah & Hannah Sawtell
Date of Death: Jany 22 
Name and surname: Zachariah Hildreth
Age: 73 [years]
Place of Death: Townsend
Disease or Cause of Death: Consumption
Sex and condition: Male Widdow
Place of Birth: Townsend
Names of Parents: Zachariah & Betsy Hildreth
This is, of course, the very same information that I would receive in an "official" death "certificate" for a fee from the Townsend town clerk.
A source citation for Zachariah Hildreth would be, for the record above:
"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," online image, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org : accessed 25 April 2012), citing original data at Massachusetts State Archives, Deaths, Volume 112, Page 173, Townsend, Line 3: Zachariah Hildreth entry.
The information above provides the death date, age, cause of death, place of death, occupation, birthplace and parents names of Zachariah and Hannah. Only the death date, cause of death and place of death are primary information. The rest of the information is secondary information. This is a derivative source (being an image copy of a microfilm copy of a page submitted to the State Archives based on an original handwritten record in the town clerk's records). It is direct evidence for the death date, cause of death, place of death, occupation, birthplace and parents names.
I have other evidence for the birth of Zachariah Hildreth, and for their marriage, but I don't have a source with primary information about the birth of Hannah Sawtell.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/04/treasure-chest-thursday-zachariah-and.html
Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver