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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Which Ellen Danson married Ralph Dewhurst? Mystery Monday

Three Ellen Danson's in the 1790's in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire  - but which one married Ralph Dewhurst?

My four times great grandfather John Danson  had a daughter Ellen Danson, baptised at St. Chad's Church in 1763 (Poulton Parish Register)   In searching for a marriage I came across an Ellen Danson marrying a Ralph Dewhurst  - and made the basic fatal family history mistake.  I assumed this must be my Ellen.  
Some years later  I had  contact from a fellow Danson researcher who thought that that my John and his Richard were brothers, both sons of Peter Danson.    Richard had six daughters including an Ellen. born 1768 who it was  believed married Ralph Dewhurst. 

In my favour is that Ellen and Ralph  appeared to name their eldest daughter Margaret,(the name of "my" Ellen's mother)  and second son John after her father - so following the traditional naming pattern in the north of England and Scotland.  On the other hand these are Christian names in popular  use, and  "my" Ellen would have been 33 years of age on marriage, which seems quite old for the time. I was also  slightly sceptical on the John and Richard link, as Richard is not a Christian name that featured  in any of my family Danson lines.  

This is very much a sideline to my main research, so I did nor pursue it any further at this stage.

I was surprised  last week to find in the listing of members' interests  in the  Lancashire Family History and Herladic Society magazine  a reference to Danson and Dewhurst. I made contact and recevied an  e-mail from a fellow member  who had in her family an Ellen Danson (daughter of Raplh Danson)  and guess what  - this Ellen married Ralph Dewhurst. 

According to the website http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/ the population of Poulton in 1801 was 2938, and a search today on Family Search for the names Danson and Dewhurst brought up plenty of entries, so identifying who is who  is not easy.   Entries on the Public Trees on http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ are equally a minefield - many cite Ellen Danson, daughter of "my" John Danson and Margaret Fayle, but most (geneabloggers will not be surprised to hear) are short on source citations.   Much more unravelling is called for here!

What is certain is  that an Ellen Danson was born to my ancestors John Danson and Margaret Fayle,   and that an Ellen Danson married a Ralph Dewhurst at the same church  in 1796, but which Ellen was she?

Unfortunately the records available do not throw any light on this mystery and the message to me  is a strong one - DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS!  
Mystery Monday  is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/, used by many bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Blog Spring Clean - Sorting Saturday

I enjoyed reading the posting in TechTuesday  last week from The Keogh Corner (http://keoughcorner.blogspot.com/)   about giving your blog "a spring clean".  I realise that the content is the important factor, but I am a great believer in the principle that "first impressions count" in encouraging readers to look further.  

The last thing I am is technologically minded, so I am not into fancy graphic designs and I don't understand a lot of the answers on Blogger Helpline.  With some trepidation I aimed to freshen up the site.  

I went into the Blogger Templates - Advanced  and spent ages trying out various layout options and font styles and colours.  I am happy with my label organisation  and left them alone. I must admit there was  panic at one point when the Preview showed the site looked a mess,  but I managed to get back to broadly what I wanted.  And I also managed to set the site to "printer friendly".

Some aspects will have to wait for a fresher mind i.e. I could not work out how to alter the text colour of my archives and labels listings,  and I still need to try  setting up Pages in Blogger.  

In my early days of blogging,  I had a brief flirtation with the deep rich red background which I felt showed up photographs very well, but I soon tired of the heavy colour.

My choice eventually fell on  the  calm  look of the Simple  blue and white screen, which I felt was easy on the eye, but perhaps it has got rather boring and dull, especially when the posting does not contain images to liven it up.   Also I must admit it did not quite reflect my blog title "Family History Fun" to illustrate the enjoyment I get from this absorbing hobby.

So  I have gone for a  more vibrant cosmetic change from Simple to a customised Ethereal template  where I can change the font colour of the Post Titles as well as the Blog Title and Description.   (Blogger Help  advice worked well  here).   

I feel the look is still clean, calming and simple but the different colours add interest, with the opportunity to make  seasonal colour changes - just to stop everyone getting bored1   

Has it been worth all that time spent on it - I leave you to judge!  Though you might well see more changes. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfaher John Danson

St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde
My four times great grandfather John Danson was baptised at St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde,  Lancashire, on 19th September 1736, son of Peter Danson, husbandman of Poulton. 

 John's marriage was traced in the Poulton Parish Register for 20th May 1757 where he was described as " of Thornton in the  parish of Poulton".  His wife was Margaret Fayle - father Henry.

John and Margaret proved to be long living, with Margaret buried at Poulton on 26th December 1815 aged 85 and John dying six years later, also aged 85, buried at Poulton on 30th May 1821. 

He made his will on 29th December 1813 and this document was traced in Lancashire Record Office:

This is the last Will and Testament of me, John Danson of the Holme Nook within Great Carleton, yeoman. …….. I give and bequeath to my son Henry my desk and all my books…….to my daughter Jennet, wife of John Bryning, my corner cupboard now standing in the parlour of my house and my meal chest in the room above the same. ……..To my dear wife Margaret……my household goods, furniture, plate, china and implements as she may think necessary to keep hous with and to be enjoyed by her during her life ……..and all the rest residue of my household goods…..to my son Henry and Jennet equally to be divided……
And as to for and concerning  all my messuages (?), lands, tenements and heriditaments……my personal estate and effect, I give devise and bequeath  to my said Henry his heirs executors.

And from and after the death of my said daughter Jennet or after the death of my said wife, I give and bequeath the said sum of £800 equally unto and amongst all and every one of my grandchildren Richard, Thomas, Jennet, Margaret, Betty and John, sons and daughters of my said daughter Jennet.

And lastly I nominate and appoint my said son Henry and my grandsons, John Danson and Richard Bryning, Trustees and Executors”

A search in the Death Duty Records held at the National Archives confirmed the death on 27th May 1821 of John Danson, late of Holmenook.   The statement also confirms the legatees of Margaret Danson (wife),  Henry Danson (son), Jennet Bryning (daughter), and grandchildren Richard Bryning, Jenny Chadwick, Thomas Bryning, Margaret Bryning, Betty Bryning and John Bryning.

Only two children Henry and Jennet are named in John's will.  However Poulton Parish Register,  transcribed on http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/,  confirmed the baptism of an earlier Henry in 1757 - buried in 1762,  Ellen baptised 28th May 1763, and also the burial  of Margaret aged 7 months in 1772.  What happened to Ellen remains a puzzle - more research needed here! 

This concludes this series of postings on my Danson Discoveries,   as I hit the proverbial brick wall in 1736 and  the birth of John, my great, great, great, great grandfather.   

However watch this space for more on the Mystery of Ellen and on the Bryning connection.
Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Friday, 13 May 2011

Great. Great, Great Grandfather Henry Danson

My great great great grandfather Henry Danson (1767-1839) can easily be confused with his son - also Henry, especially as both married an Elizabeth.

Henry Danson (senior) was baptised 27th January 1767, the  son of John Danson and Margaret Fayle of Carleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire  Nineteen years later in 1786  he married 20 year old Elizabeth Brown.  A marriage bond with his signature was traced at Lancashire Record Office.   

A marriage bond was a promise between two people, normally the groom and a friend or relative (in this case Henry's brother in law John Bryning) that if the marriage proved invalid in the eye of the law they would pay a penalty to the church of a substantial sum of money - in this case £200.  

Marriage licences could be obtained as an alternative to having the banns read.  They enabled marriages to take place at any time and were useful  if the marriage had to take place quickly or be kept quiet for some reason.   Henry and Elizabet's first born child, daughter Margaret was born 7 months after the wedding.

A family bible had pages of what can only be described as srcibbles as family wrote in their name across pages -  See my posting:  Danson Bible Scribbles - 6th March 2011

Testimony to Henry's standing in the small community of Carleton (319 inhabitants in 1831)  was given by a listing of his property in the Title Schedule of 1838;  also to the fact that he was on the list of sidesmen in  St. Chad's Church, Poulton. 

Henry died 21st October 1839, at the age of 71 - his wife 6 months later, both buried in St. Chad's Churchyard, with the monumental inscription providing information on family members.   

A copy of his will dated 26 August 1833 was traced at Lancashire Record Office, beautifully written in copperplate. A death duty record was also traced at the National Archives in London.  This was invaluable in confirming family members who were legatees. 

Henry and Elizabeth's children had a chequered history

In 1804 eldest daughter Margaret married just before her 17th birthday  in  1804 - before the births of her two younger brothers. Her husband was  brick setter  Roger Ryding, but  Margaret was dead by the time of her father's will (1833)  and death in 1839, with her five children receiving legacies.   

First born son John died aged 46 in 1836, with no marriage traced.  However at the age of 21 he was served with an affiliation order ordering him to contribute  to the upkeep of his "said bastard child" - a forerunner of the current Child Support Agency!  See my posting "John Danson''s  'Said Bastard Child'" - 21st January 2011  

Second son William died  in 1833 aged 41, whilst youngest son James died in 1827 aged just 15.  No further information has been found on George, born in 1797 nor on daughter Ellen/Nelly born 1799. 

Which left son Peter who  seems  to have been considered unsuitable as a will executor, with later census returns listing him  unmarried livng with  his younger brother Henry's household until his death.   

Henry Danson (my great great grandfather)  was born 1806 twenty years after his parents' marriage when his mother much have been 40 years old with the youngest child James born 5 years later.   

An entry in tthe family bible of young Henry's birth in 1806
with the date of January 1827 referring to his brother James' death  

 It was young Henry who carried forward the Danson name. 

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Stop Press! A Genealogy Sceptic - 1842:

I came across this statement when browsing at my local archive centre.  An article in "The Galashiels Weekly Journal:  no. 6, 1842" announced:
"Genealogy, in our opinion, is a matter of very little importance, fit only for chattering groups over their tea" 

Is this worthy of being a "Wisdom Wednesday" topic for discussion? 

If you share my liking for press articles, have a look also at:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

My First 100 Page Views - Thankful Thursday

I just had to strike a jubilant note, as I have reached my first 100 page views for a posting with "Wedding Wednesday - Jennie Danson 1920's Style", which first featured 8th December 2010.

I am sure much of this is due to the Geneabloggers wedding theme  - after all who can resist a wedding!   Plus the fact I had some striking photographs to go with it and a totally over-the-top fulsome newspaper report on the dresses.  

So a big thank you to all my fellow bloggers - and here is a reminder.

My great aunt Jennie Danson's wedding, 1929. 
My aunt Peggy is the little bridesmaid on the left

My great aunt - Jennie Danson

Thankful Thursday is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/ 
used by many bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors. 

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Pictures of Childhood : Wordless Wednesday

Jessie and Bernard Pennington
Granny Jolly & granddaughter


I know nothing about these two charming photographs, apart from the fact they were in the large collection left by my great aunt Jennie Danson (1897-1986) of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,   It must have been the custom  in the1910's-20's to exchange personal photographs with friends as she had many such memorabilia, nearly all inscribed on the reverse with the names. 

Postscript:  By chance after drafting this posting, I was browsing through my books of old photographs of Poulton-le-Fylde, and what should I find but  one  of Bernard Pennington - the little boy above in the sailor hat.   He was pictured in uniform, with the sad news tht he died in France in 1940.   

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/,
used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors. In this instance, the emphasis is on photographs.

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Great Grandmother Maria's Jewellery - Treasure Chest Thursday


My great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919) had ten sons  and as her last child an only  daughter Jennie.  On a visit to see Jennie's daughters, I took these photographs of their mother's jewellery and they remain among my family history treasures.

Left - Maria with her only daughter Jennie (1897-1986) and in front her granddaughter Annie Maria, who following the death of her young mother, made her home with Maria.  

Something that puzzles me is the extent of the collection, given that Maria's husband James was only a joiner, was by all accounts  a bit of a wastral and he died in 1906, leaving Maria with seven children still living at home - a simple (and what must have been crowded)  terraced house in Bull Street, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  Two sons John (father of young Annie - above)  and George died in the First World War.

Necklace & brooch sent by son Frank who was in hospital
in Malta during the First World War

Maria's collection of rings

Brooch of the Women's Institute  

Fly brooch

Mourning jewellery

Treasure Chest Thursday  is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/,
used by many bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Puzzle of Peter:- A Danson Story: Surname Saturday

Early on in my Danson family history, my aunt recounted a story of her grandfather James having  a younger brother buried in St. Chad's  Churchyard,  Poulton-le-Fylde.  I soon found  in the local library a Danson entry in an  "Index to Graves" which I noted down as:

Henry Danson, who died 27th October 1881 aged 75 years.

Elizabeth Danson, wife of Henry Danson,
died 8th April 1879 aged 67 years.

Peter Danson, son of the above who departed this life
18th May 1866 aged 12 years.

Sacred to the memory of James,
 son of Henry and Elizabeth Danson.

This quick confirmation of the younger brother of James Danson delighted me and indicated the young Peter was born 1853-4, so would have been about 8 years old at the time of the 1861 census.  However no entry in the census records had been found of him locally.  He was not at the home of his parents of any of his  older married sisters, nor was a record of his birth traced.

Moreover when help was sought from the Blackpool Registrar, the only relevant certificate related to Peter, the brother of Henry Danson, who died aged 72 of apoplexy on 18th May 1866 at Back Street, Poulton.  The informant was Jas Brownhill, of Tithe Barn Street Poulton, who was present at his death - thought to be  the husband of Peter’s niece Margaret Danson.    The burial entry in the St Chad’s Church Register is rather faint but the age given is clearly 72 not 12.

As a further check I later obtained a copy of the monumental inscription from Poulton Library to discover that I had originally recorded the entries in the wrong  order, and this subtly changed their meaning.   The correct order was:

Sacred to the memory of James,
son of Henry and Elizabeth Danson
(I now realise this refers to 15 year old James, son of Henry Danson  and  Elizabeth Brown, who died in 1827, and not as first thought my great grandfather James)

Also of Peter Danson, son of the above
who departed this life 18th May 1866 aged 12 years.
(Was this a confusion between 12 and 72
in recording the age for the Index ?)



Also of Elizabeth, wife of Henry Danson

who died April 8th 1879 aged 67years.

Also of Henry Danson

who died October 27th 1881 aged 75 years

By changing the order in which I had originally written down the inscriptions to give emphasis to “my” James parents (above), I had completely misinterpreted the entries - not helped of course by the repetition of  the same Christian names down the generations.  

That I had made a mistake was further confirmed when I found in a history of St. Chad’s Church that the graveyard had been closed in 1883, so the James Danson buried there could not be the James Danson my great grandfather who died in 1906.   Further research was to find that he had been buried at Moorland Road Cemetery.

Further confirmation when a  microfiche transcription became available, as this  gave far more specific details on a monument in the south section of the churchyard, which has since been cleared.

Sacred to the memory of James, son of Henry and Elizabeth Danson died January 9th 1827 aged 15 years.  Also of Peter Danson son of the above who departed this life 18th May 1866 aged 12 (72?) years.  Also of Elizabeth wife of Henry Danson who died April 8th 1879 aged 67 years.  Also of Henry Danson who died October 27th 1881 aged 75 years.

William Danson died February 18th 1833 aged 41. John Danson January 28th 1836 aged 46.  Henry Danson October 21st 1839 aged 71.  Elizabeth Danson May 10th 1840 aged 74.

Whether there was a young Peter remains doubtful, and perhaps the family recollection was on this occasion wrong.  But there were also lessons for me on transcribing information correctly!

St. Chad's Churchyard, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire

See Also:
Danson Discoveries - 4th Feb. 2011  
Grandfather William Danson - 17th Feb. 2011
Great Grandfather James Danson - 25th Feb 2011
Great Grandfather's Eleven Children - 10th March 2011
Great Great Grandfather Henry Danson - 2nd April 2011
Great Great Grandfather Henry Danson's Nine Children - 21st April 2011

Surname Saturday is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/,
used by many bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Friday, 6 May 2011

Making the Most of the Weather: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy - Week 18.

This is the eighteenth 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 18 Weather.

Where would we be without the topic of the weather - in Britain it is a standard topic of conversation, one that oils the wheels of social contact.  And why?  Perhaps because the weather here is so varied and unpredictable, but at least we are largely spared the extremes of adverse weather, experienced elsewhere in the world.

I can't say I have any memorable weather memories from my childhood - I was too young to recollect the dreadful winter of 1947  I grew up in north-west England where winters were relatively mild, but  this was the days before tights and girls then did not wear trousers.    A Liberty bodice, skirt with short socks (short trousers for my brother), homeknitted jumpers and pixie hood,  wellington boots, gloves kept safe on string through my sleeves,  plus a long scarf criss crossed over my chest and tied at the back - this was the ritual dress for going out in winter in my early 1950's childhood.   I hated Liberty bodices - the rubber buttons were difficult to do and undo, and if the day got warmer you ended up all sticky inside them.   

 I have no winter photographs of my childhood - cameras must have  been reserved for summer (as here).

Snow meant the chance to make snowmen in the  garden.  Even if it was wet, that was no excuse to stay indoors - we donned welllingtons and an old rain coat and went outside to splash in puddles.  If we were stuck indoors, this was the time for make-believe games - creating a tent from a sheet over a clothes horse;  making glove puppets and putting on a play,  dressing up (essential pre-requisite a long skirt and something fancy for my head), sorting out my cut out dolls, games such as snakes & ladders, ludo and snap (animal snap even noisier) colouring books and painting - and of course curling  up on the settee with a good book - usually by Enid Blyton.   

In Summer we used to go on holiday to Bournemouth on the south coast of England where a great friend of my mother had moved to open a hotel. My main memory was of time on the beach, and enjoying the good weather.  Even on wet days we still went onto an empty beach and constructed a hide-away shelter from the deck chairs.

 Fast forward to 1963 (a notoriously bad winter).  We were living in Edinburgh then and I recall my mother worried at the non-arrival of my father from a business trip to London (before the days of mobile phones and instant communication).  He was stranded overnight on a train stuck in the Border hills, with an engine sent to rescue it also trapped.  He arrived home 12 hours late.  In the 1960's I was very proud of my fur hood - the fashion sstatement  of the times, with echoes of the Dr. Zhvago film.  
I was a September baby, so does that have any influence on my liking autumn?   I once read a comment of someone hating autumn because everthing was dying - what a sad outlook!   I loved as a child kicking through fallen leaves and collecting leaves to make into pictures. Now, living in the Scottish Borders,  I love the  the changing tree colours (can be as great as anything to match the more famous New England foliage), the colours reflected in my choice for both clothes and home, and the crisp air is great for walking,  And autumn fruits are among my favourite food.  

As for today's weather - to disprove "it always rains in Scotland", April has been brilliant  and sunny - the best since records began, with no signs of the proverbial April showers.  So I have been making the most of it in the garden (left)  

As for "being stuck at home in bad weather", It is probably only snow that stops me going out, especially as we live at the top of a hill and I have no intentions  of skating down it!  But what an opportunity to catch up on things I never feel I have the time for, such as baking, trying out a new recipe, doing  my crossstitch or patchwork and of course turning to my family history, the computer and my blog! 

You soon learn in Britain to set out to enjoy yourselves whatever our weather might throw at you! 

No, this is not the Greek Islands, but Scotland - looking across from the Isle of Iona to the Isle of Mull  -
just to prove we do get good weather here sometimes!

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved