Mary Ellen Medford Matthews Booth Owens was my 2nd-great-grandmother. Her ancestry has been quite a puzzle to me. At first I thought her second husband, John William Booth was hard to research but his parents records and his military records revealed a treasure trove of information about his heritage. Mary Ellen has proved to be even more of a challenge due to lack of records with information revealing her heritage.
The facts: She was married three times. Her first husband was Thomas Matthews, they had one daughter named Samella, born 1874. Her second husband and my 2nd great-grandfather was John William Booth. They married on June 20, 1878 in Montague County, Texas and had a total of seven children, two died while still young. They were William Anderson, Lillian Margaret, Rosa Ellen, Dovie, Baby, Jimmmie, and John Logan. Mary Ellen's third husband was Wilson Owen who she married on March 09, 1917, they had one daughter Gypsy. Mary Ellen died September 29, 1929 in Harmon County, Oklahoma and is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Harmon County.
The myths: Mary Ellen was born in December 1853 in Hamilton County, Texas and her parents were Zechariah Hardin Medford and Elizabeth Ward. This is highly improbable unless there are two sets of parents with the same names. Medford family researchers have told me in the past that the Mary Ellen who was a daughter of this Zechariah is not the same Mary Ellen in my line. I have to agree with them. Zechariah's daughter was born in 1864 which makes her only 10 years old when Samella was born.
Many people on Ancestry have uploaded their family trees showing the wrong parentage for Mary Ellen (and others). This is such a shame it, it renders every part of what they have shared as unreliable. Too many people take everything that is on Ancestry as Gospel-truth when the dates cannot be possible. The real problem is that when the errors are brought to the attention of the author's they refuse to correct their errors. I wish to warn all researchers that while Ancestry and other sites can provide documentation, to always verify everything they find so that the truth can be found!
I have tried to gather every document I can find on Mary Ellen which includes marriage licenses, land and tax documents along with all of her probate records. I still have been unable to document her ancestry. Mary Ellen is one of my brick walls -- but I will keep on trying to break through!