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!


  1. Wow---great detective work! It would have been so easy to grab the wrong Mary, but your persistence paid off. And how exciting to find pictures! Every once in awhile I add a picture, but like you, that is a rarity.

    1. Thank you Michelle. Sometimes my nitpicky-ness pays off.

  2. It sure sounds like you've found your Mary, Ellie, you've certainly ruled out the other two potentials. Great work! I love when it all comes together in the end. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and good health (and many new discoveries) in 2017.

    1. Thank you Dara, I hope you also have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.

  3. By now you may already have seen this information that confirms your research, but just in case it helps... First off, I am not related, but came across this information while researching Enos Dake. The Family Tree had one person being both Dake‘s wife and the wife of George W. Matteson. When I find one woman living concurrently in 2 different places with 2 different husbands and 2 different sets of kids, I am compelled to locate primary sources and unravel the knots. I was successful with locating documents to prove the Mary Vincent who married Enos Dake and to prove the separate Mary Vincent wife of George Matteson. During my research I came across your post. Thanks to your help I was able to link Matteson’s pension file to the couple. Thank you!
    In case you need it, here’s what I found to support your research…
    The daughter of Abram Vincent and wife Mahala is indeed the one who married James Stevens. Proof is the petition Mahala as widow submitted to probate her husband's estate. The list of next of kin identified their surviving child as Mary, the wife of James Stevens. James was also co-administrator of Abram's estate. I followed the family members through census and other records all the way to Mary (Vincent) Stevens’s death certificate to be sure, and all the puzzle pieces fit. The probate document is at
    The Mary A Vincent you found as daughter of David Vincent and Rosanna, of Clinton County, NY, was the spouse of Enos Dake. The proof for that is in census and probate records as well as in newspaper obituaries.
    Thank you for your blog and for encouraging other researchers!

    1. How gratifying to learn I helped your research in some small way. Thank you for letting me know, and for passing the probate record on. Now if I could only get the tree owners on Ancestry to look at the proof and change their trees. ;)