Week 37 (September 10-16) – Large Family.
The challenge from Amy Johnson Crow at 52 Ancestors:
Did you know that all 10 of the most common birthdays are in September? (If you’re a chart geek like me, check out this heat map of birth date frequencies.) So let’s feature an ancestor who had a large family or who was a member of a large family. My twist on this challenge is not to write about an ancestor with a large family but rather an ancestor that I was able to find a large amount of information on by examining a family member.
Mary Shaw was wife of Joseph Vitty and the mother to Harriet Vitty Smith. She was born in England about 1799 and from there immigrated to Canada. It was in Montreal at the Anglican Church that she married Joseph.
It has been typical in my research that the women left fewer documents and records to follow, especially in the early nineteenth century. Mary Ann is no exception to this rule. She appears by name in the baptism record of her daughter, Harriet in 1821. Her husband Joseph Vitty is named in the 1825 Montreal census. His household consists of 2 children and a married woman between 14 and 45 years old, presumably his wife, Mary Ann. At some point, her daughter, Harriet, had immigrated to the United States, so I searched for Mary Ann and Joseph in US records.
Mary A. Vitty, age 60, next appeared in my research in the 1860 US Census in Manhattan. She is enumerated in the household of Henry B Vitty, age 30. Also in the household were a woman of the age to be Henry’s wife, several children and a male John S Vitty age 39. Names of all occupants were given in the 1860 census, but relations were not defined. It was by researching Henry and John that I was able to find out more about Mary Ann.
Henry’s marriage record to second wife Eliza Jackson confirmed that Mary Ann Shaw and Joseph Vitty were his parents and that I was on the right track researching he and John. It also provided that he was born in New York City in about 1830 placing the family there.
It was by researching John S Vitty that I was able to find the information to fill in the Vitty family. John Shaw Vitty was a soldier in the Civil War and died at the Battle of Bull Run. Mary, widowed several years earlier, was dependent upon her son for support and as such, she filed for a mother’s pension. This file gives a wealth of information about the service of John Shaw Vitty. In addition, much information was given about Mary Ann and her other children.
To prove eligibility for pension, Mary Ann was required to submit several documents. An affidavit from the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City provided names, birth dates and baptism dates for several children. It also confirmed that the family was in New York by 1828 when daughter Sarah was baptized in that church. In addition, an affidavit filed by Mary Ann gives names, ages and current locations of all her surviving children, a death date for husband Joseph, and Mary Ann’s own signature. There was also an affidavit from the undertaker who attended to Joseph Vitty.
Further documents in the file follow the funeral expenses and settlement of the debts of Mary Ann Vitty upon her death. These documents fill in the picture of Mary Ann’s final years – she was in the care of her granddaughter.
Mary Ann Vitty died and was buried at Pennsylvania.