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Monday, 4 June 2012

D is for Discoveries, Disappointment, Doubts, Drama and Detail - A-Z Family HIstory 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

I have been trying to think of a slightly different approach to this A-Z challenge and eventually, reaching D,  inspiration struck.  My postings will focus primarily  on what we experience on our family history journey.

A - for Adventure, Anticipation and Admiration

B - Brickwalls - but never Boredom
C - Coincidences, Celebrations, and Contributions

D is for:

Discoveries - something family history is full of. For me,  one highlight was receiving a birth certifcate through the post and discovering that my great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe nee Danson (left) was born in 1859 on the same day - January 15th - as my daughter 114 years later.  A lovely coincidence which so appealed to me at an early stage of my research.

My grandmother
Alice Danson, nee English
Disappointment - the fact after so many years (and using a professional researcher), I still have not traced the name of the mother of my grandmother (right) Alice Danson nee English, born c.1884.  I never knew her, could not trace her in early census returns and only have her marriage certifcate with her father's name given as Henry, painter (deceased).  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  - a huge asset.

Doubts - Do you often start having doubts about some of your findings?  Are you really on the right track?  This is where following ususual names scores points.  My great great  grandfather was Robert Rawliffe, but there were two of that name born around 1821 in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, so which was my ancestor and and I right in identifying my g.g.g. grandparents?    

Drama - I would love to say I have a dramatic story in my family history, but sadly no. Still  I admire those written by fellow bloggers.   

Detail - family history is so much more than names and dates and it is the richness of the detail in our family stories that make them so fascinating, both to ourselves and others.

And I cannot let D pass by , without listing my own family names: 

Danson Famiy - 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.

Donaldson Family - 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 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

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved


  1. Good idea Susan. Look forward to following your series.

  2. Discoveries and disappointment - two words that go hand-in-hand with genealogy :))

  3. Loving tbe unique approaches people are taking to this challenge.

    I can relare to the feelings you describe. Thanks, Susan.


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