My 2x great maternal grandmother lived with my great grandparents that last year until her death on 15 December 1910. She is buried in the Moravian Cemetery in the Dougherty family plot on Staten Island New York. So who was Mary Agnes (Lambert) Ferguson? Mary Agnes was the mother of Margaret Helen (Ferguson) Dougherty. Her death certificate from the City of New York I obtained back in the early 1990’s. (Click on image to enlarge)
Mary A. Ferguson
15 December 1910
Mary A. Ferguson
15 December 1910
It showed her fathers name as ‘Lambert’ (no first name) his birthplace ‘U.S.’, and her mother as ‘Ester Hall’ her birthplace ‘U.S.’ Mary Agnes is listed being ‘80′ years of age, a ‘widow’, under occupation it lists ‘Lady‘, and her birthplace is simply ‘U.S’. This certificate does not list who the informant was so it is difficult to ascertain the reliability of the information listed. Back then I took this sort of information at face value. but now I have more information from census records (also not always accurate) and her daughters death certificate.
The first census of the United States of America that listed all family members, is the 1850 Census, earlier US census only listed by name head of household. Here we see that ‘Mary A. Furguson’ is ‘2o’ years old, place of birth ‘New York’. Her husband is ‘Joseph Furguson’ (23), listed as a ‘laborer’ place of birth ‘Ireland’.
1850 US Census Forestburgh, New York
In this census we see Margaret H. Furguson (1) and an Ellen Furguson (25) whose place of birth is shown as Ireland. Ellen may be a sister to Joseph. So we can assume that Margaret’s birth year is about 1849. Her actual birth date is found on her death certificate to be 18 April 1850. So she is actually only 4 months old?
In the 1855 New York State Census we learn a little more about Mary Agnes.
1855 New York State Census
Here we see ‘Mary A. Ferguson’ (24) born in ‘Orange’ county New York, having resided in this town (Forestburgh) for ‘6’ years. ‘Margaret H.’ is now ‘5′ years old. Mary’s husband Joseph is shown living in Forestburgh for 7 or 9 years, which helps indicate when he came to this country considering that his brother ‘David Ferguson’ (25), shown here in this census has been in the city for 7 years. David should therefore be in the 1850 US census in Forestburgh somewhere since he was not in Joseph’s household on the night of the census. Also from this census we see Joseph and Mary have another child ‘Mariett’ who is 3 years old.
Nothing new for Mary A. was discovered in the 1860 except the addition of two sons, David W. ( 3) and Charles T. (1)
In the 1870 US Census I find ‘Mary Ferguson’ (40) as head of household in Scranton Pennsylvania. Margaret H. would now be 20+ and Marietta would be 18. Neither are in this household. We do find David (13), Charles (11) and Edwin (9). Mary A. has three boarders that are living in her house. Between 1860 and 1870 was the civil war for which her husband Joseph Ferguson joined the New York’s 1st Mounted Rifles. See my earlier blog Joseph A. Ferguson Civil War Pension for Josephs story. It appears that Joseph has not returned from the war to his family. Yet we know from letters that Joseph kept in touch with his daughter Margaret Helen after the war from Michigan. Margaret had married John Lyle Dougherty in 1868. Where is Marietta?
For the 1880 US Census we have no record for Mary Agnes. So we do not find her until 1900 US Census in New York . This may or may not be our Mary Agnes. There are a lot of things that are wrong.
1900 US Census
New York, New York
First off we see Mary A. Ferguson was born in 1830, that is correct. We have no source for the exact date and this record shows July. Next she is shown as born in New York, that is consistent with all other records. What is not consistent is that this record has both parents born in Ireland. Other records show New York. Mary A. is shown as a widow but her husband does not die until 1905. But many women who were divorced listed their marital status as widowed. This census also asked ‘mother of how many children’ , what is shown here looks like 3 with 1 still living. Actually Mary Agnes had 5 children and I have accounted for 4 still living in 1900.
When we look at the record for her daughter Etta M. Ferguson the first thing we note is that her name is off. Marietta was also known as Etta, Ettie, and Mary Etta. She was born 11 May 1852 this record indicates born in May and being 48 years old which while the year does not look like 1852 the age would be consistent for 1852. Also consistent with our Marietta is that she was born in New York, her father was born in Ireland and her mother was born in New York. In 1900 Etta is shown as a widow. If it is our Marietta her last name should be Anneman. We have no record of when she married and when her husband dies. Under ‘mother of how many children’ we see a ‘0‘ and for still living a ‘0‘.
1910 US Census
New York, New York
Here is the 1910 US Census. (Click on to enlarge). Taken in April of 1910. Ferguson, Agnes (78) is living with her married daughter Margaret H. Dougherty. Agnes is listed as a widow which is now true in the sense that her ‘ex’ husband has now died. It also shows ‘mother of how many children’ 5 , with 4 still living. So we know now that either her son David W. Ferguson or Edwin H. Ferguson has died prior to 1910. If we knew what the number was in the 1910 census we would know if it was David or Edwin. So I have to keep looking for both. Also for reference back to the 1900 census we noticed that Anneman, Ettie (58) is listed as ‘sister- in- law’ to head of household and a widow. Under ‘mother of how many children’ 1 , with 0 still living.
From the death certificate above we know that Mary Agnes died on 15 December 8 months later. Now you are asking why was I confused about Mary Agnes’s maiden name? Well on Margaret Helen (Ferguson) Dougherty death certificate where the Mothers name is written we find Mary A. Wall. True that is not Hall nor is it Lambert, but this is a typed death certificate transcribed from the records of Death reported to the Department of the City of New York. I believe the “w” is a transcribing error. Again we do not have listed who gave the information for the death record.
I’m thinking I need to order Marietta Anneman’s death certificate and Charles T. Ferguson’s since I know where and when they died. This might add or solve the confusion on Mary Agnes’s maiden name.