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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Mysterious Teat Lineage

The confidence I have in the genealogical information I present varies widely, but there is an unusually large amount of doubt concerning the identity of my great-great-great grandfather Teat.

According to ancestry.com, the father of Robert V. Teat and the husband of Elizabeth "Betty" Scott Teat was an Alfred Robert Teat, who was born in Alabama around 1835.  This must come from an undocumented family tradition, because I have not found any evidence of a person by that name. 

The 1860 census refers to a single man named A. F. Teat born around 1835 in Alabama living in Jackson County, FL.  Likewise, there is record of A. F. Teat enlisting in Company H of the 5th Florida Infantry.  In fact, this is the only man named "Teat" of the right age recorded as living in Florida at the time.  Presumably Alfred Teat and A. F. Teat are the same person?

At first I thought so.  I noticed that the 5th Florida Infantry fought mostly in Virginia, and Elizabeth Scott was born in Virginia.  Maybe A. F. Teat met Betty while he was deployed to Virginia and married her after a whirlwind romance, resulting in the birth of Robert V. Teat in October 1862 just before the death of A. F. Teat on 3 July 1863 at Gettysburg.  As touching as that story might be, it is impossible for several reasons.  For one, Robert V. Teat was born in Florida, not Virginia, and the resource demands of the war would have severely limited civilian travel.  For another, the 5th Florida Infantry was not even organized until April 1862, which is only six months before the birth of Robert V. Teat.  Furthermore, the 1900 census shows Elizabeth Teat living with her daughter Ida and her son-in-law Charles Burke, and Ida was 28 at the time, meaning she had been born in 1872.  Finally, the 1910 census reports that Elizabeth Teat had been married 15 years before being widowed.  "A. F. Teat" could not have been the same person as "Alfred Robert Teat", and I have no information about the latter.

This is not the first time I have had trouble along this line.  For example, there seemed to be a contradiction between the records of the Alford Family Association, which shows Frances Elizabeth Alford marrying Tyne Teat and having Henry Vastine Teat as one of their sons, and all the other records, which show her marrying Robert V. Teat instead.  Eventually the obvious solution dawned on me:  Robert V. Teat's middle name was "Vastine" or "Vastyne", and "Tyne" was just a nickname.  As for the name "Vastine" itself, ancestry.com reports it to be a French version of the German name "Wetzstein", so it was probably a family name -- quite possibly the maiden name of Alfred Robert Teat's mother, though I have no way of being sure.

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