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Monday, 25 April 2011

Royal Bridal Dress, 15th March 1879

In Britain we are in the  throws   of mega media coverage for the royal wedding on Friday of Prince William and Kate Middleton, so I felt it was time to unearth a copy  of "The Illustrated  London News", issue no. 2074 ,  March 15th 1879.  Many years  ago when in London I discovered a pile of the magazine in a shop by the Victoria and Albert Museum and bought several editions, as I love the old engravings.

The occasion featured  here was the marriage in 1879  of Queen Victoria's third son  Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert,  Duke of Connaught to Louise Margaret Alexandra Victoria, third daughter of  Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia.

The wedding report was very lengthy and extremely fulsome in style.  A short extract is given here:

The princess's dress was described as "made of thick white satin, the waist trimmed with lace 4" wide, the skirt also trimmed with lace 12" deep with bunches of myrtle.  The train was 13 feet long, with a rich lace flounce 3 feet wide, upon which was laid a branch of myrtle......
The pearl necklace worn by her Royal Highness  was a wedding gift from her most illustrious and venerable uncle King William I,  emperor of Germany.........

The bridal veil was richly decorated  with real point-de-gaze lace, ornamented with flowers, crown and the royal coat of arms  of Prussia, in relief, all worked with real white lace.  The order was given at the beginning of July last  and the work has been done by the hands of 300 peasant girls  in the mountains of Silesia". 

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter to all my Blog Readers.

Here in the Scottish Borders it is lovely sunny day  to make us all feel good about Easter.  I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. 
By St. Mary's Churchyard, Hawick

Smailholm Tower, near Kelso

Eildon Hills, near Melrose

River Teviot, Hawick
Photographs by Susan Donaldson.  Copyright © 2011 · All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Great Great Grandfather Henry Danson's Nine Children

This is the sixth in a series of articles tracing the direct line of my Danson ancestors. 

Danson, Bailey,Gaulter, Cookson, Brownbill, Cardwell.  Do you have a Lancahsire connections with these surnames?  If so I would love to hear from you, as we may be connected through my great great grandparents Henry Danson (1806-1881) and Elizabeth Calvert ( 1811 -1879)

When I started to find out about their family,  I only knew of my great grandfather James and a family story about a younger brother Peter buried in St. Chad's Churchyard, Poulton-le-Fylde. 
James Danson, my great grandfather

A search through census returns found that the family was far more extensive than I had ever thought with nine children born.  Information on James’ brothers and sisters came largely from parochial records,  census returns and monumental inscriptions. Then one edition of the Lancshire Family History and Heraldry Magazine gave, in the listing of member’s interests, three separate entries for the surnames Cardwell, Cookson, and Gaulter - all married names of the Danson sisters.   I made contact and amazingly all proved to be connections, adding more information to my family story.  

Further evidence of the extended family came from a page in the Mannex Directory of 1851.  The list of professions and trades in Poulton included: 

Inns & Taverns
Golden Ball, Ball Street.  Wm Gaulter,

King’s Arms, Market Pla.  Cornelius Cardwell,

Brownbill, Jas., Market Place

Henry and Elizabeth Danson had 9 children and 37 known grandchildren, with the tradition of naming children after family members very evident. By the turn of the century, this practice  began to lapse, and new names appeared amongst the new generations.  - Lily, Florence, Edith, May, Hannah, Dorothy, Ethel.

This was an age of great social change, from rural to urban life.  The period saw the rise of nearby Blackpool and Fleetwood and the impact of the railway.  New occupations appeared in the census entries for the family.  Henry himself moved from being a yeoman farmer to a toll collector over the new Shard Bridge over the River Wyre.  New occupations were appearing in the census  - pointsman, railway telegraph clerk, railway porter, railway coach examiner, and railway labourer.  The lives of the Danson children  illustrated the hazards and changes in  Victorian life.

Elizabeth Bailey  (1831-1885)  
When my great grandfather James was born in 1852, his eldest sister Elizabeth was already married to Thomas Bailey. They had six children - the eldest William born a few weeks before his uncle James DansonIn the 1861 census,  Elizabeth and her husband were at her parents - something that recurred with other daughters in later censuses. Elizabeth died at the age of 53, leaving a young family that included daughters Margaret Ellen and Mary Jane (the four names of Elizabeth's sisters)  aged only 11 and 9.  The family must have rallied round, as Margaret went to live with her elder sister Elizabeth and family, whilst Mary Ellen joined the household of her older brother Henry.

Grace Cookson (c.1832-1891)
Grace, named after her paternal grandmother, married joiner John Cookson, They had three sons and one daughter Elizabeth.  Grace died aged 58 on 28 December 1891.  By the time of the 1901 census her husband had remarried, with his wife Elizabeth "keeper of a sweet shop, working on own account at home” and a daughter Alice, aged 7.  Sadly Alice died in 1915 aged 22 with the touching epitaph “She lived respected and died lamented”.   Grace's name lived on in her granddaughter and great granddaughter who married Joshua Mahadevan - thus linking the Danson line with Africa.

Mary Gaulter (1837-1864)
St. Chad's Church
Mary married William Gaulter in 1859 and in the 1861 census they were living with her parents, with Mary described as a laundress.  Their life together was unfortunately short.  A son John Robert was baptised in 1862     Two years later William Henry (named after both grandfathers)  was born,  and baptised, on 30th May 1864 - the same day as his mother Mary was buried at St. Chad’s Churchyard  at the young age of 26.  

Margaret Hornby and Brownbill (1839-?) 
At the age of 18, Margaret married  Richard Hornby in 1857.    The marriage was short and following the death of Richard, 24 year old Margaret married  again in 1864 James Brownbill, a Poulton watchmaker.  But within eight years, Margaret became a childless widow for the second time by the age of 33, with James buried at St. Chad's Churchyard in 1872 at the young age of 37. 

Ellen Longshaw (1841-?) Fifth born and fifth daughter,  Ellen  at 25 years old had an illegitimate  daughter, Mary - very likely named after her sister Mary who had died two years earlier following childbirth.  In the 1871 census, Ellen was described as an unmarried daughter and unemployed housekeeper, living with her parents. www.familysearch.org. provided new information on Ellen with the  fact she married James Longshaw in 1872 and had a son John  on 16th October 1872 -  information provided by a descendant in New Zealand. 

Jane Caldwell  (1849-?)
 Jane married groom Thomas Caldwell, who himself came from a large family of 1 brother and 8 sisters.   In the 1871 census,  the couple with their young daughter Ellen  were at Jane's  parents' house, making a large household of nine,    By 1891 Thomas  was in the nearby fishing port of  Fleetwood with his daughter Ellen,  and young son Thomas aged 10,  with 13 year  old  Cornelius at his aunt's.  Thomas'  status was given as "married" but there was no sign of his wife Jane.   An online search traced a Jane Cardwell, described as a 42 year old nurse at the home of 82 year old William Rowcroft and his much younger wife Margaret aged 58.  Margaret was a distant relation, like Jane,  a great granddaughter of John Danson and Margaret Fayle.    Jane was not back with her husband in 1901, with Thomas in the same house with his daughter and two grandchildren.  Had the marriage broken down?  More research needed here!

It proved more difficult to identify the whereabouts in the later censuses  of  James’ two brothers, John and Henry, until an internet contact on www.genesreunited.co.uk, proved to be the descendant of John and  had in her possession a family bible, which included three pages of scrawled writing, largely relating to Henry Danson. (See the posting "Danson Bible Scribbles" - 6th March 2011) and also a detailed  listing of John's family  which indicated the day that his children were born. (below).  John became a coachman  and was listed as from Clitheroe in the family mourners in the newspaper report on his brother James funeral in 1906.

Brother Henry remains am enigma - in 1881 he was unmarried and a railway porter, and I need to do more work to trace him.

As for the youngest of the Danson children James (my great grandfather),  he is the subject of many of my blogs postings.  And as for "brother" Peter, mentioned at the start of this account, that is another story! 

See Also:
Danson Discoveries - 4th Feb. 2011  
Grandfather William Danson - 17th Feb. 2011
Great Grandfather James Danson - 25th Feb 2011
Great Grandfather's 11 Children - 10th March 2011
Great Great Grandfather Henry Danson - 2nd April 2011

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Zero Restaurant Memories - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy: Week 16

This is the sixteenth challenge in in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.     Week 16 - Restaurants

Blackpool Tower, taken from the North Pier.

This posting, unlike many of mine, will be short, as I  can't remember ever as a child  going for a meal to a cafe or restaurant.  I grew up in the 1950's and we simply never ate out.  I don't think we were unusual - people just did not do it, when you could eat at home.  

We lived then in the north west seaside resort of Blackpool, so there was an abundance of cafes and fish and chip shops - but they were there for visitors, not for us.  My only memory is of a regular Saturday afternoon trip with my mother  into town to meet my Aunt Edith at a cafe.  I think it was called "Pinny's"  (or something like that) and  it specialised in icecream from the local Palatine Dairy.     I can still picture where the cafe was, just up from the promenade and the famous Blackpool Tower.  My aunt was a teacher and I took the opportunity to take along any homework I was having trouble with and we would look over it together. 

In my  early teens we moved to York,  and again I have no recollections of eating out. This must  have been the time of the coffee bar culture, but that passed me by, and at weekends I met friends at my home or theirs. 

By my late teens we were living in Edinburgh and I remember going for a birthday treat with my mother to the Chocalate House (long since gone) on Princes Street.  (I remain a chocoholic!)   There was also the tea room at PT's (Patrick Thomson's) department store on the North Bridge, where it was all very genteel and waitress served. 

I suppose it was only when I started university that eating out became more of an experience, beginning with the  university refrectory where I lived off beans and chips for lunch every day, because it was the cheapest item on the menu - one shilling and sixpence. 

Gradually - and I mean very gradually -  I began to broaden my oh so British taste buds to exotic food such a pizzas and Chinese.  

Now eating out is one of our great regular pleasures, not just for special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries or family visits,  but to enjoy a relaxing lunch in a pub, bistro or country house hotel. 
I recommend it!   


Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Nifty at Netball but Hopeless at Hockey: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy - Sports

This the fifteenth  challenge in in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.     Week 15 - Sports

My early memories of sport at primary school were of the egg & spoon race, bean bag race, sack race & wheelbarrow race (no doubt the last two have since been curtailed for  "health and safety" reasons)  and the humiliation of dropping the baton in a relay race.

Nifty at Netball - At my first secondary school, I loved netball  with memories of crisp autumn days and sunny skies glinting through the trees as we dashed across the court, jumping high for the ball and shooing at the net,  in our sports kit of sky blue aertex shirts and short navy pleated  skirts.   I felt like a promotional poster for Healthy Active Britain.

Hopeless at Hockey - But at 14, we moved across the country and I began a new school with new subjects - such as hockey.  I hated it and my mother was not too keen on having to buy me hockey boots.   I had never played it before, compared to my teammates who had two years play ahead of me.  I hadn't a clue and dreaded getting hit on the shin by a hockey stick or even worse on the head by an over-excited player.  Being chosen to play goalie was even worse, having to don the heavy shin pads, and either stand still and bored if the play was all at the other end of the pitch - or facing a mob determined to get a goal passed me.  Hockey meant being cold, wet and miserable with frozen knees and hands and muddy boots and legs. If netball represented brightness, I saw hockey in shades of gloomy grey.

I was an unadventurous creature, so Rounders was Risky - the shame of not managing to connect bat with ball,  or hand with ball if fielding, or the risk of getting hit on the head by someone eager to run me out as I dashed for the first base.

Tennis was Terrific - I loved it - the grass courts and the white tennis outfits.  From the age of 12  I was converted to being a lifelong Wimbledon fan  (for the uninitiated,  this is the British Lawn Tennis Grand Slam Championships held in summer with wall-to-wall TV coverage).  I still get excited by it, as I did then and a few years ago visited Wimbledon on Men's  Championship Day - purely as a ground spectator, sitting on the hill to watch  play on  the big screen, savouring the atmosphere and enjoying  the traditional strawberries and cream.   

So at least I have school to thank for introducing me to this lifelong pleasure!  

(This article is based on a Sports Saturday posting of February 2011)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Great Great Grandfatther Henry Danson

This is the fifth in a series of articles tracing the direct line of my Danson ancestors. 

The birth certificate of my great grandfather James Danson provided the names of his parents -  Henry Danson, yeoman farmer of Trap Farm, Carleton and Elizabeth Calvert.

Parochial Records took me further back and the birth at Carleton of Henry Danson  on 25th July 1806 - baptised a day later in St. Chad's Church, Poulton.

Sole entry on a page (right) in the family bible   reads “January 4 1827 Henry Danson Son of Henry Danson Born 25 of July 1806”.  This entry was dated just after the death of Henry' s 15 year old brother James, so is there a significance in this?
(See the blog posting - Danson Bible Scribbles - 6th March 2011)

Henry Danson junior married 6th April 1831  at St. Chad's Church, Poulton Elizabeth Calvert of St. Michael's Over Wyre, daughter of Nathaniel and Grace Calvert. 

Initially I was only aware of two sons to Henry (junior)  and Elizabeth - my great grandfather James and his younger brother Peter who I was told had died as a child and was buried in Poulton churchyard.

It took research in the census records to establish that the family was far more extensive, with 9 children born in 20-21 years - five girls, Elizabeth, Grace, Mary, Margaret, Ellen, followed by sons John, Henry, then another daughter Jane and finally my great grandfather James  If you are wondering about Peter this is a puzzle - to be revealed in another blog posting!

With a population in Carleton of just 378, the family was easily traced in the 1841 census to Trap Farm and a household of 10 including Henry & Elizabeth and family, Henry's brother Peter and two servants. 

It was noticeable that the children were named after family members, with the two eldest daughters taking their grandmothers' names. All the children were baptised at St. Chad's Church, apart from second daughter Grace who was born in the picturesque village of Wrea Green.   How did that come about, as I have been unable to trace a baptism?  

Trap Farm in c.1998
The family were still at Trap Farm (left) 10 years later in 1851, with Henry described as a farmer of 31 acres in a household that had grown  to 13,  Grace had left home, but eldest daughter Elizabeth was there with her husband, and Peter was described as unmarried brother and annuitant.

With these details found so easily,  it was frustrating to "lose" the family from Trap Farm in 1861 (this was before census returns online).  What had happened to a seemingly prosperous farmer?  Had there been a downturn in agriculture?

Henry, Elizabeth and family were eventually traced to the parish of Layton with Warbreck, near Blackpool, where Henry was a carter.   There seemed to be a trend of married daughters returning to live at their family home with their husbands - this time living with her parents was third daughter  Mary, a laundress and her carrier husband William Henry Gaulter.

The 1871 census revealed a complete change of occupation as Henry was toll keeper at Shard Bridge Toll Bar.  The Shard Bridge opened in 1864 across the River Wyre to replace the ferry.  Rejoining the family at this time was youngest daughter Jane with her daughter Ellen and husband Thomas Cardwell, a groom;  also Jane's sister Ellen with her illegitimate daughter May.  

By 1881 the Danson household was much depleted.  Mother Elizabeth had died in 1879, with daughter Margaret, widowed twice, returning to act  as housekeeper, with her brother  Henry  and niece May.

Henry Danson senior died a few months later on 27th October 1881 aged 75 years, with Poulton Monumental Inscriptions recording his burial on 1st Novemer in St. Chad's Churchyard.

St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde
A photograph taken by my uncle Harry Danson

See Also:
Danson Discoveries - 4th Feb. 2011  
Grandfather William Danson - 17th Feb. 2011
Great Grandfather James Danson - 25th Feb 2011
Great Grandfather's 11 Children - 10th March 2011

To follow - Great Great Grandfather's 9 Children

Friday, 1 April 2011

Kathleen Weston - A Mother's Day Tribute

Mum and I  - 1944
 As this Sunday is Mother's Day in the  UK,  I wanted to give a tribute to my mother, Kathleen (Kay) Weston, nee Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, who featured in  a previous posting "Happiness is Stitching" in December 2010.  

I love this photograph above.   Surprisingly  I was 27 years old when I first saw it, when my great aunt presented it to my husband, just before our marriage.  I presume it was taken for my father away during the war, but  a copy  never made it into the family photograph album. I have no memories of Mum other than with grey hair, so it is especially lovely to see her here .    

Mum in 1930's
Kathleen Danson was born in 1908 in the small town of Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool,  daughter of William Danson and Alice English. At the age of 14, she was apprenticed to be a tailoress and was still making her own clothes in her 80's. For her going  into a fabric shop was like going into a jeweller's.   If she sat down, she was rarely without a needle in her hand.  She was a creator in patchwork, crochet, collage, knitting, embroidery, smocking,  dolls and dresses, with dabbles into  rug making, millinery, lampshade making and china painting.

She set up her own dress-making business from home, working in the spare bedroom which was icy cold in winter and hot and stuffy in summer. 

A 1950's Family
Mum  was a typical homemaker of the 1950's and 60's.  She was always making something -  cushions changed their covers regularly, new patchwork quilts appeared on the beds and new curtains at the windows, worn sheets were turned, old bath towels were cut, and trimmed into hand towels, tray cloths and table cloths were embroidered. 

Besides being a stitcher,  Mum  was a "joiner".  Because of my father's work, we moved around a lot,  and Mum joined whatever women's group were in the locality  - Townswomen's  Guild, Mother's Union, Parent Teacher's Association, Women's Rural Institute (WRI) .  Whenver there was a coffee morning, bring & buy sale, spring fete, sumemr fete, Christmas fete, Mum was there,  with her contributions for the sales tables - aprons,  cushion covers, doll's clothes, soft toys and of course home baking. 

Mum and I in 1972

These were the days of coming home from school to home baking, and biscuit and cake tins full, with wholesome cooking at mealtimes.

I don't have Mum's skill, but I have inherited her love of crafts  and she left me with tangible memories of a true homemaker whose family was her life. 

Mum - 1980's


Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Sweetie Memories - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

This is thirteenth  challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 13 - Sweets

I grew up in the 1950's as rationing was coming to an end.  Sweets I remember include liquorice sticks, liquorice allsorts, Pontefract cakes, dolly mixtures (regarded as babyish), sherbert, flying saucers, jelly beans and jelly babies (where we loved to bite off the heads) and chocolate buttons with coloured sprinkles on the top.  For my husband in wartime Britain, a sweet treat was a stick of rhubarb from the garden and a pole of sugar

A Sunday  treat from my grandfather was a bag of pear drops.  The Saturday evening  treat from my father lasted well into my teens when he bought us all a bar of chocolate - mine was a Fry's Turkish Delight, my mother's was Kit Kat and my brother's a Mars Bar.  We always had a Terry's Chocolate Orange in our Christmas stocking and an chocolate egg at Easter.

I like to have something to suck whilst travelling (mints & fruit  pastilles), but don't go down the route of toffees and boilet sweets - my teeth are too precious to risk them!

However I remained a chocoholic, though my favourites changed.  I have tried them all  - Crunchie Bar, Twirl, Twix, Kit Kat, Fry's Chocolate Cream, Double Decker, Wispa. Aero, Cadbury Flake, Mars Bars, etc, etc,  etc.  Nowadays I regard with askance paying over 50p.  (old 10 shillings/half a pound) for a single small bar.  Though I was regularly tempted by those 3 in a pack discount offers in supermarkets.

I am now taking the view that dark chocolate can be good for you and have turned to the quality products with the aim to just eat one square at time - emphasis on try!  Still if I get given a box of chocolates as a present, it does not last too long - just taking one or two and putting the box in a cupboard does not work for me - or my husband - unlike those strong-minded souls who still have chocolate Christmas presents untouched months later.  

My mother was a great baker and a great follower of the Bero Book  - Caribbean  slices, chocolate cake with butter icing, Victoria sponges, chocolate crispies, currant slices,   coconut pyramids, ginger biscuits and Shrewsbury biscuits, flapjacks, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes. Eccles cakes, home made jam and jellies with the muslin bag slung between to two chairs to drip.   I loved home-made marmalade - nothing to beat it.

Lemon meringue was my favourite Sunday dessert with fruit tarts also on the menu, along with trilfe and jelly fluff (whipped up with evaporated milk).  I disliked blancmange but liked Angel Delight.   The desserts and cakes of my mother's mealtimes have now been reserved for weekend only, with  yoghurt and fruit more the norm.

And no I don't regard myself as fat, though I would be a lot slimmer if I cut out chocolate alltogether.

As for my two year old granddaughter,  I am pleased she  has not yet had her first taste of chocolate.  She has that temptation to look forward to.