By Don Taylor
Following families in the early census records is always difficult and when a census’s information is completely unexpected, it makes things really difficult. Such is the case concerning Burket Vincent and the 1830 Census.
Burket died about 1847 and the 1850 Census shows his (apparent) widow[i] and daughter living in Halifax County, North Carolina. Next door to the widow is his oldest (Known) son, John, John’s (apparent[ii]) wife and three children.
Going through the census records for Burket, I have found the following:
The 1840 Census is very straight forward. Burket’s surname is Vinson in this Census, and most of his children appear to be enumerated.
- Males – 60 thru 69: 1 – Presumed to be Burket Vincent
- Males – 20 thru 29: 1 – Presumed to be either John or James, Age 23 or 22. (b. 1816 or 1817). John is not seen living next door, so this is most likely John, but it could be James.
- Males – 15 thru 19: 1 – Presumed to be Burket (Jr.?), born about 1824.
- Females – 50 thru 59: 1 Presumed to be Elizabeth (wife)
- Females – 15 thru 19: 1 Presumed to be Nancy, age 15 (b. 1825).
- Elisha would be 20; I assume she was elsewhere; likewise, 18-year-old Susan appears to be moved out by then.
- William, who would be about 13 is not enumerated, I believe he passed before the 1830 Census.
In the 1830 Census, all of the children seem incorrect. Burket and his wife seem to be there just fine. However, the children are NOT as I would expect. It seems that they are all 10 years too old. Certainly, it is possible the Census Taker got it very wrong, but I don’t think so.
What I see in the 1830 Census:
- Under 5 0 William Appears Missing.
- 5-10 0 Burket Appears missing.
- 10-15 0 John & James appear missing
- 15-20 1 Unknown
- 20-30 2 Unknown
- 30-40 1 Unknown
- 50-60 1 Presumed to be Burket b. 1770-1780 – Right Age.
- Under 5 0 Nancy appears Missing
- 5-10 0 Susan & Elisia appear missing.
- 10-15 1 Unknown
- 15-20 1 Unknown
- 20-30 1 Unknown
- 40-50 1 Presumed to be Burket’s first wife.
For a while, I thought I might have the wrong family, the surname change between Vinson and Vincent occurred several times for this family line and maybe this wasn’t one of those times. However, a look at the neighbors during the 1830 Census found several of the same people are still neighbors in the 1840 Census, so I’m sure it is the right family unit. That and Burket is such an unusual name.
The 1820 Census[iii] shows the family as I would expect to see them based upon the 1830 Census results.
- under 10 2 Unknown
- 26-45 1 Presumed to be Burket (1775-1795)
This census entry indicates Burket’s birth to be between 1775-1780 (vs 1770-1780 that I had previously).
- under 10 2 Two unknown females
- 10-16 1 Unknown
- Over 45 1 Unknown (Elizabeth should be 35)
To me, these census records suggest a first wife much closer in age to Burket. With her, it is possible that they had three daughters, and two sons all born before the 1820 Census. One of the daughters might be Elisia and the two sons are possibly John and James.
The 1830 Census only makes sense if Burket had a first wife who died sometime after 1830 and his new wife, Elizabeth, had Burket, Nancy, and Susan with a previous husband. This would also suggest that Burket and Elizabeth had no children together.
The 1810 Census supports my two wives theory. It shows:
- Males: 26 to 45 Clearly Burket Born 1765-1784
- Females Under 10 1 Unknown Female born 1800-1810 (This would be the same unknown female over 10 years old during the 1820 Census.)
- Females 26 to 45 1 Appears to be his wife born 1765-1784
I have the following hypotheses:
- Burket Vincent (of Halifax County, NC) was born between 1775-1780.
- Burket had two wives Unknown and Elizabeth.
- With wife 1, Burket had 5 children, two males and three females none of whom are the names known.
- Elizabeth had 7 children when she married Burket. They were John, James, Elisha, Susan, Nancy, Burket, and William. (None of those children appear to be in the 1830 Census but all appear to be enumerated in the 1840 Census.)
The biggest ramification of this hypothesis is that the father of John Vincent, my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather, may not be Burket Vincent as I’ve believed for many years. Rather, it would appear that John’s mother was an unknown woman who had John during a previous marriage.
- Do a complete family unit study and determine if this hypothesis is correct.
- Search for probate and land records for Burket and see if those records provide insight into the relationships.
- I should further research Burket’s 2nd wife, Elizabeth, further and determine her first marriage.
- “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHTJ-T71 : 24 August 2015), Burket Vinson, Halifax, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 2, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 362; FHL microfilm 18,094.
- “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH59-67P : 22 August 2017), Brkett Vincent, Halifax, North Carolina, United States; citing 321, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 121; FHL microfilm 18,087.
- “United States Census, 1820,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHGS-FNW : accessed 18 September 2018), Perkit Vincent, Halifax, Halifax, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 168, NARA microfilm publication M33, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 85; FHL microfilm 162,801.
- “United States Census, 1810,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLM-2NW : accessed 22 September 2018), Burpet Vincent, Halifax, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 121, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 38; FHL microfilm 337,911.
[i] The 1850 Census does not indicate widows or widowers.
[ii] The 1850 Census does not indicate relationships.
[iii] Neighbors are undeterminable because there is an alphabetical arrangement of entries in the 1820 Census.