By Don Taylor
It seems that the surname “Vinson” has two separate origins. First is that it comes from the “son of Vin or Vincent.” The second is that it is a corruption or variant of “Vincent.” It does not appear that my wife’s ancestors were from a patronymic society, so Vinson is more likely a corruption of “Vincent.”
When in doubt, I’ll now use Vincent as the preferred surname, unless there is some uncontroversial reason for using Vinson. That plan suggests I need to relook carefully at my wife’s great-grandmother, Susan R Vinson, whose parents were John and Lenora Vincent.
Worldwide there are approximately 283,936 people who bear the Vincent surname.
It is most prevalent in France, with the United States having the second-highest incidence, with over 67,000 Vincent’s in the US.
My Wife’s Earliest Vincent Ancestors
All of my wife’s Vincent ancestors lived in North Carolina. Her earliest known Vincent ancestor was Philip Vincent. It is not clear where he was born, but during the 1800 Census, he was over 45, suggesting he was born before 1755. He lived in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, in 1790. In 1840, Philip’s son, Burkett Vincent, was living in Halifax County with a household consisting of 5 people. His was one of only 22 Vincent families living in North Carolina during 1840. Burkett’s son, John Vincent was born about 1816 in Halifax County and died sometime before 1870. His daughter, Susan R. Vincent (aka Susan Vinson) was born on 22 August 1848. She married Peter Fletcher Howell shortly after the Civil War, on 10 December 1866.
Direct Vincent (Vinson) Ancestors
- Great-grandmother: Susan R Vinson (aka Vincent) (1848-1910) Family Search
- 2nd Great-grandfather: John Vincent (1816-1870) Family Search
- 3nd Great-grandfather: Burkett Vincent (1779-1850) Family Search
- 4rd Great-grandfather: Philip Vincent (bef. 1755-c.1807) Family Search
My records have 155 direct-line descendants of Philip Vincent identified, which is almost 5% of my Howell-Darling Research.
By Don Taylor
The 1790 Census drives home the notion that Vinson and Vincent seem to be interchangeable in this family line. The Philip Vinson of the 1800 Census is clearly Philip Vincent in the 1790 Census. His family unit consists is identified as 1 3 4 0 2 10. That is 1 male over 16, 3 males under 16, and 4 females. All three males between 10 and 26 during the 1800 Census are represented in the males under 16 in the 1790 Census. Likewise, all the females listed in the 1800 census are represented in the 1790 Census.
Philip Vincent 1 3 4 – 2 10 (Left Column – 11th entry down)
So, from the two censuses I believe:
- Philip Vinson/Vincent was born before 1755. (He was over 45 during the 1800 Census)
- The suspected wife of Philip was also born before 1755. (She was also over 45 during the 1800 Census.)
- They appear to have had six children, three boys and three girls.
- 1 boy born 1790 to 1800
- 1 boy born 1784 to 1790
- 2 boys born 1774 to 1787 – One appears to be Burkett (born between 1775 and 1780)
- 3 girls born 1784 to 1790 – No names.
The 1790 Census also includes five households with the surname Vinson. Willis is clearly the same as Willys in the 1800 Census.
- Willis Vinson – 1 1 4 – – 6 (right column – 15th from bottom)
- John Vinson – 1 1 1 – – 3 (left column – 3rd from bottom)
- Benjamin Vinson – 1 2 2 – – 5 (right column – 2nd from top)
- Charles Vinson – 1 3 2 – – 6 (right column – 10th from bottom)
- Hanna Vinson – 0 0 4 – – 4 (right column 14th from bottom)
Note: The numbers above represent Free White Males 16 and up, Free White Males under 16, Free White Females, all other persons, slaves, and a total number of people.
If Burkett was born between 1775 and 1780, I would expect him to be reflected in this census as a Free White Male under 16 years of age. All of the households have male members that fit that criteria except for Hanna Vinson.
Based upon the 1800 Census[i], I had tentatively considered Philip to be Burkett’s father. There is nothing in the 1790 Census that would dissuade me from that hypothesis.
If you have evidence that Burkett’s father is not Philip, I would love to hear from you and learn what you have.
[i] Internet: Don Taylor Genealogy – Article “Burkett Vincent in the 1800 Census” posted 25 April 2019. http://dontaylorgenealogy.com/2019/04/burkett-vincent-in-the-1800-census.html/