Surname Study – Vinson – Halifax County, NC – Part 2

Surname Saturday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.During Part 1 of this study, I followed the Vinson family through the 1880 and 1870 Census records. In doing so, I established four Vinson family units in Halifax County during the 1880 Census.

1870-1880 Family Units

Looking at the 1870 and 1880 Censuses together I previously identified the following families:

Widow Elizabeth Vinson (b. 1815-1817)

  • Littleburg Vinson (b. 1857-1858) Married J. D. Unknown (b. 1858-1859)
    • Unnamed Vinson girl (b. 1879 – d. April 1880)
  • William G. Vinson (b. 1858-1959)

J. Robert Vinson (b. 1847-1848) – Wife, L. N. Vinson (b. 1853-1854)

  • R. Vinson, (b. 1871-1872)
  • Fannie Vinson, (b. 1872-1873)
  • H. Vinson, (b. 1873-1874)
  • Emmett Vinson, (b. 1876-1877)

Robert Vinson (b. 1824-1825) – Wife, Martha, (b. 1828-1829)

  • John H. Vinson (b. 1850-1851)
  • Thomas L, (b. 1853-1854)
  • Albert L. Age 14 (b. 1855-1856)
  • Laura E “Lizzie” Vinson (b. 1865-1866)

Littlebury Geo Vinson (b. 1815-1816)

1860 Census

The 1860 Census again shows the names of individuals in a household; however, it does not provide relationships.  The following individuals were identified, the relationships are either guessed by me or come from subsequent Census records:

Littleberry Vinson

Halifax County, North Carolina.

There were three Vinson families during the 1860 Census.  The Elizabeth Vinson of the 1870 Census is with Littleberry Vinson during the 1860 Census. This seemed extremely strange to me.  Upon further investigation, it appears that the Littlebury and Elizabeth Vinson were enumerated on two separate pages during the 1870 Census and were not noted as such.  That suggests that Littlebury of the 1870 Census was still with his wife and children and Elizabeth was not widowed until after 1860. With that in mind I have consolidated the Littleberry (b. 1815-1816) entries.  The 1860 Census adds two more children to the Littleberry and Elizabeth Vinson family.

A second connection is also apparent from the 1860 Census.  Robert Vinson, age 12 appears to be the same person as J. Robert Vinson of the 1870 Census.

Littleberry Vinson      44        Connected
+ Elizabeth Vinson        44

  •             Laura Vinson             14        New
  •             Robert Vinson             12        Connected
  •             Littleberry Vinson      2
  •             William Vinson          11/12

Robert Vinson

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The Robert Vinson Family adds Turner Vinson as a youth.  It appears that Turner may have died before 1870. Another interesting entry for the family is that a Susan Wilson is living with them. Her age is 22 and she is a seamstress.  Her relationship is unknown. She might be old enough to be a sister of Robert. Hopefully, the 1850 Census will shed light on her place in the family. The Robert Vinson family unit is:

Robert Vinson (b. 1824-1825)
+ Martha, (b. 1828-1829)

  • John H. Vinson     (b. 1850-1851)
  • Thomas L,             (b. 1853-1854)
  • Albert L. Vinson   (b. 1855-1856)
  • Turner Vinson   (b. 1858-1859) – New
  • Laura E “Lizzie” Vinson (b. 1865-1866)

John Vinson

This family group is the really important group for my research. John Vinson is my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather. None of the individuals in this 1860 Census appear in the 1870 or 1880 Census records for the Vinson surname in Halifax County, North Carolina.  The 1860 Census indicates the following:

John Vinson                43
+ Ellenior Vinson          35

  • Virginia Vinson          14
  • Elizabeth Vinson       13
  • Susan Vinson             12
  • James Vinson             8
  • Benja Vinson              5
  • Barkhead Vinson       2

Elizabeth Vinson       75

This family unit appears to be a husband, wife, six children, and John’s mother. The question is where are they in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses?

The family unit is “Vincent” in the 1870 Census. The 1870 Census shows the head of the household is Leanora living with five children,

  • Elizabeth, Age 23
  • James W., Age 17
  • Benjamin I, Age 14
  • Joseph B., Age 12
  • Ellen B., Age 9.

With that in mind, the new John Vinson/Vincent family consists of

John Vinson              (b. 1816-1817)
+ Ellenior/Lenora [Vinson]  (b. 1824-1825)

  •             Virginia Vinson       (b. 1845-1846)
  •             Elizabeth Vinson     (b. 1846-1847)
  •             Susan Vinson           (b. 1847-1848)
  •             James W. Vinson     (b. 1851-1852)
  •             Benjamin I. Vinson (b. 1854-1855)
  •             Joseph Barkhead Vinson   (b. 1857-1858)
  •            Ellen B. Vinson        (B. 1860-1861) (from 1870 Census

(It is also likely that John is the son of Elizabeth [Vinson]. I will pencil that in for now.)

Elizabeth Vinson     (b. 1784-1785)


I was able to reduce the Vinson Family lines in Halifax County from four to three in the 1860 Census.  My wife’s Elizabeth/John/Susan Vinson line (bolded below), A Robert Vinson line. Robert is the correct age to potentially be a brother to John. Thirdly, a Littleberry Vinson line which is also potentially a brother to John.  Next time, I’ll roll the 1850 Census into the study.

Vinson Families in Halifax County 1860 thru 1880.

Elizabeth Vinson     (b. 1784-1785)

  • John Vinson              (b. 1816-1817)
    + Ellenior/Lenora [Vinson]  (b. 1824-1825)

    • Virginia Vinson          (b. 1845-1846)
    • Elizabeth Vinson       (b. 1846-1847)
    • Susan Vinson           (b. 1847-1848)
    • James W. Vinson        (b. 1851-1852)
    • Benjamin I. Vinson    (b. 1854-1855)
    • Joseph Barkhead Vinson       (b. 1857-1858)
    • Ellen B. Vinson           (B. 1860-1861)


  •  Robert Vinson (b. 1824-1825)
    +Martha, [Vinson] (b. 1828-1829)

    • John H. Vinson           (b. 1850-1851)
    • Thomas L Vinson       (b. 1853-1854)
    • Albert L. Vinson         (b. 1855-1856)
    • Turner Vinson           (b. 1858-1859)
    • Laura E “Lizzie” Vinson (b. 1865-1866)


  • Littleberry Vinson      (b. 1815-1816)
    + Elizabeth [Vinson]   (b. 1815-1816)
  • Laura Vinson (b. 1845-1846)
  • J. Robert Vinson (b. 1847-1848)
    + L. N. Vinson (b. 1853-1854)

    • C.R. Vinson, (b. 1871-1872)
    • Fannie Vinson, (b. 1872-1873)
    • B. H. Vinson, (b. 1873-1874)
    • Emmett Vinson, (b. 1876-1877)
  • Littleberry Vinson (b. 1857-1858)
  • William Vinson (b. 1859)

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Finding John Vinson’s Father & John Vinson (c. 1817 – c.1865)

By – Don Taylor

Finding John Vinson/Vincent’s Father
It is my goal to find ancestors in all of the census records that were taken during their lifetime. Based upon the 1870 Census, I’m fairly certain that John died between 1860 and 1870. I would guess most likely during the Civil War. So, I have a lot more research to do there. But, I really wanted to track him back earlier, see where he was in the 1840 Census. Hopefully, that would tell me his father’s name, something I did not have. I knew John’s mother’s name was Elizabeth. She was a widow in the 1850 Census.

Information I had:

Mother: Born abt 1786
Father: Unknown
John: Born abt 1817 in Halifax County, NC
Nancy: Born abt 1825 in Halifax County, NC
Using Ancestry.Com, I used the Card Catalog to select only the 1840 Census.

Knowing that John was born in Halifax County and lived his entire life in Halifax County, I searched for anyone with the surname Vincent in Halifax County, NC and had no hits. Then, I searched for people with the surname Vinson in Halifax County, NC and had 4 hits. I then compared my known information about the family to see if any of them fit the things I thought I knew.

Three of the family units had few to no similarities whatsoever, but the fourth one fit it what I think I knew about John exactly.

1840 Census – Halifax County, North Carolina – Source: Ancestry.Com

Burket Vinson’s household consisted of five individuals:[1]

A male 60-70 years old – Presumed to be Berket
A male 20-30 years old – Fits John who was 23 then.
A male 15-20 years old – Unknown (possibly a brother?)
A female 50 to 60 years old – Fits Elizabeth who would be 54 at the time.
A female 15-20 years old – Fits Nancy who would be 15 at the time.

So, everything in the Burket Vinson household matches up.

Additionally, John named one of his sons, Joseph Burkett, which kept the Burkett name in the family for another generation.

So based upon the 1840 Census record for Burket Vinson, the known birth location for John, the continuation of the given name Burket, I tentatively associate Burket Vinson as John’s father. I will continue researching to see if anything contradicts this assumption. But I’m pretty sure I’ve puzzled through this wall.

John Vinson/Vincent (c. 1817 – 1860-1870)
John Vinson was born about 1817 (Between 2 Jun 1816 and 1 June 1817) in Near Weldon, Halifax County, North Carolina.

In 1840, he appears to be living with his parents, Burket and Elizabeth Vinson, a sister, Nancy, and possibly a brother.[2]

He married Lenora Busbee about 1843, because their first child, Virginia was born between June of 1844 and June of 1845.

A second daughter, Elizabeth, was born between June 1846 and June 1847.

Their third daughter, Susan R Vinson, Mary-Alice’s Great Grandmother, was born 22 August 1848.

The 1850 Census finds the young farmer with a farm worth about $50. Living with John and Lenora was Eliza Beasley, age 30.[3]

Finally, their first son, James W., was born between June 1851 and 1852.

Another son, Benjamin I., was born 1855-1856.

Another son, Joseph Burkett, was born 1857-1858.

In the 1860 Census, the family is still living near Weldon in Halifax county. John is a farmer whose real estate value is $800 (a 1600% increase in value over 10 years) and whose personal estate value is $538.[4] This was a fairly valuable at the time for a farm being worked without slaves, as the Vinsons had no slaves.

As a quick aside — the 1860 Census indicates one of John’s children is “Barkhead.” I thought that was one of the funniest names I had ever encountered. Now, I sure it was Joseph Burkett. But is still interesting to think that maybe he went be “Barkhead” when he was young.

Living with John is Ellenior, a 35 year-old seamstress. The change in name from Lenora to Ellenior and the 7 year change in age made me originally think that Lenora and Ellenior might be two different people and that John remarried between 1850 and 1860. However, finding Lenora in the 1870 census with all the children put that consideration to rest (for now at least), but, it is still an area of concern.

Finally, another daughter, Ellen B. was born 1861-1862.

I cannot find John in the 1870 Census, but found Lenora and the children, which suggests John died before 1870, probably during the Civil War.[5] I need to research and determine if the 45 year-old John served.

Further Actions:

Follow Burket & John in the 1830 and 1820 Censuses.
Determine if John fought during the civil war.
Determine more about the life of Lenora Busbee


List of Greats

Susan R Vinson
John Vinson
Burkett Vinson




[1] 1840 United States Federal Census,, 1840; Census Place: Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 362; Page: 2; Image: 674; Family History Library Film: 0018094.
[2] 1840 United States Federal Census,, 1840; Census Place: Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 362; Page: 2; Image: 674; Family History Library Film: 0018094.
[3] 1850 United States Federal Census,, 1850;Census Place:  , Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: M432_633; Page: 34A; Image: 73. [Family 636  – John Vincent.
[4] 1860 Census, 1860;Census Place: Western District, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: M653_899; Page: 424; Image: 228; Family History Library Film: 803899. – John Vinson.
[5] 1870 United States Federal Census,, Year: 1870; Census Place: Rapides, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1141; Page: 545B; Image: 516; Family History Library Film: 552640 – Lines 26-31.


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