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Monday, October 7, 2013

Joseph Vincent – Who were You?

Today, October 7th, was my second great grandmother’s 161st birthday. That is if she was still living today but she died at age 68 many, many years ago.

Though I never came close to meeting her when I think of Grandma Sarah Eliza Vincent I always wonder about her father. You see, he is the endpoint of the third shortest branch on my family tree.

What we actually know about third great grandfather Joseph Vincent can be counted on one hand.

1. His name was Joseph Vincent.
(Notes copied from a second great aunt to a cousin to us say his name was Joseph or John. But as far as the actual documents found it has only been given as Joseph.)

2. He died 3 months before his second daughter Mary E. Vincent was born in 1855/1856.
This would be useful information if we knew the birth month of Mary along with an exact year. But Mary is almost as elusive as her father. He may also have died from a lumbering accident. But I have to verify where that part of the story initiated.

The rest of the story we were told was that Sarah and Mary’s grandparents helped raise them. The 1861 Canada census seems to confirm this. Sarah and Mary are listed in the household of their maternal grandparents, Seneca and Martha Rider in Madoc Township, Hastings County, Canada West, which later became Ontario. Their mother Mahala or Mahalia Rider Vincent has not been found on this census. We’ve looked near and far. We’ve used various spellings, initials and the maiden and married name in the search. From her father’s probate we know she did not remarry at this time.

We can guess about some information about Joseph but they are only guesses not facts.

1. Joseph Vincent and Mahala Rider likely married after 11 January 1851 and before 7 October 1852.
Why? Mahala is single on the 1851 census and from what we know Sarah was not illegitimate.

2. Joseph Vincent’s birth was possibly sometime before 1830 possibly as early as the 1810s.
This is only a guess assuming Joseph was near the age of Mahala who was born in 1830. My real guess is Joseph was born sometime in the 1820s but again it is only a guess.

3. Joseph and Mahala lived in Hastings County, possibly in Madoc Township.
This guess comes from Sarah’s birthplace given in her obituary. Since the actual source (Sarah herself prior to death, a document, etc.) is unknown I am not sure of this information’s reliability.

Despite having a likely location we have not turned up any further information on Joseph. Church records for this time period are scarce. (I have not yet learned if the early records of the nearest church still survive.) Joseph does not appear in land records nor probate records in Hastings County. Widening the search location has not turned up any further leads yet.

Looking for potential candidates for Joseph in the area prior to marriage has turned up a couple Vincent families but no definite candidates standing out from the few available. But there is no guarantee that he was from a family in the area.

Unfortunately, there is still too much unknown about Grandpa Joseph Vincent. I hope to someday figure him out. At least I have a name … I think.

Happy Birthday Grandma Sarah and D.!

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