.jump-link{ display:none }

Saturday, 2 June 2012

B is for Black Sheep, Bastards, Birthdays and Business Cards - A-Z Challenge

Having just finished a quick sprint through one A-Z challenge from Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/, I could not resist a further one from Aona at Genealogy & History News with her Family History through the Alphabet Challenge at

Enjoy reading it!

<>   <>    <><><><><> <>
James Danson is the bearded character on the left.
B is for

Black Sheep - these are our ancestors who contribute colour, interest and anecdotes to our family history, such as my great grandfather James Danson (1852-1906), who was,  by all accounts, rather a "ne'er do well".    Here he is sitting merry and fooling about  in the old stocks in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  It is the only photograph I have of him.

Bastards:  someone who could also be called a "Black Sheep" was John Danson, the brother of my great great grandfather, who fathered a bastard child in 1810 and became the subject of an affiliation order, which I  came across  at Lancashire Record Office  - a great find!   It ordered John  to contribute to the upkeep of his “said bastard child” - a daughter by Ann Butler of Marton. The poor child was repeatedly given this tag in the document below which is fascinating in its choice of language:

“Ann Butler, single woman, was upon the 27th day of August last, delivered of a female bastard child in the said township of Marton…and that John Danson, husbandman of Carleton did begot the said bastard on her body and is the father of the same.

Thereupon, we order… for the better relief of the said township…and the sustenance and relief of the said bastard child…John Danson pay unto the churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor…the sum of One Pound Eighteen Shillings for and towards the charges and expenses incident to the birth…further sum of four shillings towards the cost of apprehending and securing the said John Danson….the sum of Two Shillings weekly…towards the keeping, sustenance and maintenance of the said bastard child”.

Unfortunately I have been unable to trace anything further on this story. John Danson died in 1836, aged 46, as far as I know unmarried and predeceased his father Henry by 3 years.

Birthday Cards  - surely many of us keep birthday cards as precious memories of our families.  Here is one sent by my grandfather in Flanders to my mother Kathleen Danson on her 9th birthday on 8th September 1917.

Business Cards: perhaps, like birthday cards,  these are a piece of ephemera that often gets thrown away. I was so pleased to find, after her death, this memento of my mother's early working life.

Where to stop with B's?
I could go on to 
Babies, Bibles, Baptisms,  Brides, Burghs and Burgesses
and at the core of all this activity - Blogging

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved



  1. What a wonderful bunch of 'B' words you've thought of, and I can relate to them all. My hubby's family has endless black sheep, my family has numerous bastard children, my grandma was a hoarder and kept birthday cards, and the business cards - I've been saying how important it is to keep them (at least family ones). You've got a wonderful treasure having your mum's old business card. I've never seen one that old.

  2. You have included some great examples here. I have a special interest in researching 'black sheep' and 'bastards' in Australia. It is a continual learning curve, and I have found many wonderful sources.

  3. Great posting Susan... laughed so much over the photo of your "black sheep" great grandfather fooling around but am guessing that his wife was "over" laughing about his "shenanigans", eh?

  4. Thank you to everyone for your kind comments. I enjoyed writing this posting and am pleasedit struck a chord with fellow bloggers.


Thank you for your comment which will appear on screen after moderation.