Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tuesday's Tip On Thursday

     I just figured this one out, and couldn't wait five more days to share it with you.  Especially since those holiday gifts of DNA kits will be making their appearance on in the coming weeks.
     You know how you open your DNA page and find a promising match to your kit only to discover the other person has no family tree to compare with yours?  Sometimes there is a way around that.  Click on the kit anyway, and the box below will appear--

     Just because the match has no tree attached to their DNA kit doesn't necessarily mean they don't have one floating around somewhere on Ancestry which they have neglected to attach.  That's not always true, but in some cases it is.  See the blue box above?  If there is a tree, you can find it by clicking there.  If there isn't, the box will be green and prompt you to suggest to the other party they add one.  Slick advertising huh?

     Wishing everyone a wonderful, discovery filled New Year and many DNA matches!

Monday, December 12, 2016

When It All Comes Together

George & Mary A. Vincent Matteson With Children

     We here at Ellie's Ancestors Headquarters in snowy upstate New York are hard at work sorting out the children of my 3rd great-grandparents Thomas Vincent and Matilda Taylor.  I'm pleased to say another child has been accounted for, I'm 99% sure.  Best of all, there are tons of pictures of this person online!  I never find pictures, this is very exciting.

     Mary Augusta Vincent, born in 1838 was the seventh child in her family; she can be found with her mother Matilda and step-father Rockwell Rood in 1850 and 1855.  I cannot locate her in 1860, but in 1865 she is living with her sister Louisa Hurd and her family in Cohocton, Steuben County, New York.  After that the lady vanishes.  I searched census returns, Find A Grave, cemetery records, newspapers, all the data I have on her siblings--there was no trace of Mary Augusta after 1865.

     I ran broad searches on and Family with very little in the way of results, except in Ancestry Family Trees.  There, in several trees I found a woman of the right age named Mary A. Vincent who married George Washington Matteson and went homesteading in Nebraska.  Many of the trees said her parents were Abram and Mahala Vincent of Brant, Erie County, New York while a few claimed a David Vincent from England and his wife from Ireland were Mary's parents.  All available census records for Mary Vincent Matteson say her parents were both born in New York -- that ruled out David from England.  There was indeed a Vincent family in Brant, NY headed by Abram Vincent, with him were Mahala and a daughter Mary A. born in 1835. This was certainly the family indicated in the Ancestry trees, but was this Mary A.Vincent really the future wife of George W. Matteson?

     One way to prove she wasn't, (and help prove Mary Augusta was), was to figure out what had became of Abe & Mahala's Mary.  To do that I spent hours searching for clues.  I found that Mary Vincent of Brant did not appear in any census in New York after 1855.  Where was she in 1860?  The online trees all said Mary and George were married in July of 1865 and that seemed right, their first child was born in 1866.  I did find George Matteson in NY State's 1865 census taken in June, a month before his wedding, living with his parents in Cortland County.  If Mary of Brant had really married George in '65 she should have been in the 1860 census under her maiden name.  On the other hand, I couldn't find Mary Augusta that year either.  Two of the trees said the marriage occurred in Steuben Country, the sources being a pension record and a church record although neither was provided with the tree.  Still, remember who was living in Steuben County in 1865... Mary Augusta!

     Now, hoping that Mary of Brant had married and stayed local, I did a search of the 1860 census of Brant for any woman named Mary, no last name, born 1835 +/- 5 years.  Surprisingly, there were only a few after weeding out the ones who were still living with their parents.  I was able to narrow it down to three possibilities.  Two of them didn't pan out, but Mary the wife of James Stevens was another story.  I found the couple in Brant in 1860, then in Evans, Town of Angola just a few miles away for following censuses.  Find A Grave gave me her death date and the tantalizing clue, "Mary V. Stevens",  V for Vincent?  I discovered her children's names, obituaries and other articles, but nothing to indicate who Mary Steven's parents were, though her obituary in an Angola newspaper contained what would prove to be the break I needed.

Mrs. Mary Stevens, widow of James Stevens, died at the home of her daughter Mrs. Jesse Stone in Conneaut, Ohio at age 90...

      Using this information I was able to find her daughter Rachel Stone's death notice that indicated her passing took place in Ohio in 1940, which led me to Ohio Death Records at

     There, near the bottom, Mother-- Mary Vincent born at Brant, New York.  Proving that Mary A. Vincent, daughter of Abram and Mahala Vincent of Brant, NY did not marry George Matteson and the censuses over the years prove she did not move to Nebraska.

     Adding all these facts to others; like Mary A. Vincent Matteson naming her first daughter Frances (Mary Augusta's sister Frances had recently died), and naming her youngest daughter Ella Augusta, and not least-- there just weren't all that many women named Mary Vincent born about 1838 in New York; especially when one considers she married a bit later than most women, at age 26, and many of her contemporaries bearing the same name were Vincents only by marriage.  The NYS census of 1865 lists only ten women named Mary Vincent in the entire state who were born between 1835 and 1839.  Of that number, five are wives, one is a daughter with her parents, one is of mixed race and one is Mary Augusta.  The other two are unlikely due to location.  Given all this evidence, I do think I've finally found Mary Augusta!  Or, Mary Augusta Vincent Matteson!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tuesday's Tip/Another Way To Research


     Hello!  It's been awhile since I posted here, I've been engrossed in my Vincent research and meeting new cousins!  The tip I want to share today has to do with research.  As I've been amassing data on this family, I've found that I needed someplace to organize it all but I didn't want to put my theories into my personal genealogy software just yet, since they are only unproven theories, and because what if tomorrow all the un-filed photographs, folders, documents, and stacks of books that have built up on my desk were to suddenly collapse and crush me?  I wouldn't want my survivors looking at that software and being led down the wrong genealogical path.  (I think about stuff like that)

     My solution was Ancestry Family Trees.  I created a Vincent tree and unlike my other trees on Ancestry, I made this one private since it contains large amounts of unproven information.  The benefit of this is twofold -- firstly, everything is organized in one place and secondly, Ancestry looks at my tree and sends me hints.  Including birth and death certificates, census records, marriage records, military records, photos, fellow researcher's trees, and family stories so far.  As new databases are added to the site, Ancestry will automatically search them for my persons of interest.  I can tweak the tree, adding and changing names to see if more tips pop up, and then change it back. The tree needn't be detailed; names, approximate dates and a location if you have one will do.  And I can delete the tree at any time or make it public.

     It's made documenting this family and storing what I find much easier and quicker than searching Ancestry's mountain of databases manually, though I wouldn't rely on it entirely since oddball spellings do pop up.