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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

D for Dansons, Donaldsons, Dictionaries, Directories, Diaries & DT - A to Z Genealogical Challenge

Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/ has come  up with the idea of an A to Z genealogical challenge for the month of April.  It soon got me thinking, so here are my contributions.

D is for: Dansons - My mother was Kathleen Danson and I have traced the family back six generations to the baptism of John Danson in 1736, son of Peter - a family at the centre  of my blogging stories.


Donaldsons - My husband's Donaldson family has been traced back via census records and old parish records  to 1759 and the marriage of Samuel Donaldson, merchant of Leith, Edinburgh's seaport. It was a family of mariners and related seafaring occupations, as the family moved to South Shields at the mouth of the River Tyne on the Northumberland coast   and then to H.M. Dockyard at Portsmouth.  The Christian names of name John Robert occurred  down the generations from 1769  to 1908.

 Marriage entry for Samuel Donaldson  in the Old Parish Records for South Leith , Midlothian, 1759 

My grandmother
Alice Danson, nee English

Death Certificates - How I wished my grandmother Alice Danson, nee English,  had died in Scotland.  If this seems stark and insensitive, it is because Scottish BMD records give so much more information than their English counterparts - in particular the names of both mother and father are given on marriage and death certificates. My major brick wall is a failure to trace Alice's birth certificate of 1884 (or any other record)  and so find out the name of her mother. Scottish certificates were introduced in 1855, much later than in England (1837).  if you trace a death in that first year of registration,  you are even luckier as the certificate names children and burial place.  Unfortunately this was regarded as too much detail to cope with and soon dropped.   Of course you are always dependant on the informant knowing the facts.

Dictionaries -  as an ex librarian, I love browsing reference sections of libraries/archive centres and dipping into their directories and dictionaries for nuggets of information,  whether it be Chambers Scots Dictionary, Dictionary  of Trades and Occupations, Latin Dictionary for Local Historians etc. 

Directories give little  more than a name, brief address and confirmation of status or occupation, yet,  as with all archives, there is a fascination in discovering the name of your ancestor in a publication written in his lifetime. A page in Mannex Directory of 1851  for Amounderness (the old name for the Fylde, Lancashire) lists my great great grandfather Henry Danson at Trap Farm, Carleton, his neighbour and brother in law John Bryning,  and under Poulton-le-Fylde Inns and Taverns two relations by marriage William Gaulter of the Golden Ball and Cornelius Cardwell  of the Kings Arms, plus watchmaker James Brownbill.  

1851 Directory with entries relating to my extended Danson family highlighted

Diaries - if I had a touch of genealogical envy, it would be for family historians who have a diary written by their ancestor.  What a wonderful piece of personal history.   

To end on a more prosaic note, be aware of Data Protection legislation in restricting access to archives less than  75 years old, (100 years where children are involved).   Your local archivist can advise on this complex topic
Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. looks like your donaldsons may have been tripping over my melvins in Leith.. a good caution to people about the DP Act. I too would,love a diary but as many couldn't even write I'd be dreaming I think. Like you I get just so frustrated by English death certs.


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