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Friday, 14 February 2014

52 Ancestors: 7 - GGG Grandfather Henry Danson (1767-1839)

52ancestorsAmy at No Story Too Small has come up with a new challenge for 2014 - to write a post  each week on a specific ancestor.  

One of the great banes of family history research is unravelling people with the same name and this was the case with my great great great grandfather Henry Danson (1767-1839) who can easily be confused with his son - also Henry, especially as both married an Elizabeth.  I was lucky enough to find a range of documents on Henry's life.

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 (above)  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 - £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 - was this the reason for the licence?  


The  Family Bible had pages of what can only be described as scribbles as members of the family wrote in their name across pages

The fact that servant Ellie Simpson  was also included in the activity and signed her name,  somehow casts  a lovely informal light on the household - though the fact they used the Bible for these scribbles  raises other issues !

 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 that he was on the board listing sidesmen in  St. Chad's Church, Poulton. 

Henry died 21st October 1839, at the age of 71 - his wife six  months later, both buried in St. Chad's Churchyard,   Four  of their  chldren predeceased them -  John, William,  James and   Margaret. 
The Will of Henry Danson  is dated 1833, six years before his death. It was beautifully written in copperplate but very short on punctuation. The will brought first knowledge of two daughters - Ellen and Margaret and the names of Margaret's five children. It also raised interesting questions as middle son Peter, unlike his brothers John and Henry, was not named as a legatee or executor. Was he perhaps not regarded as fit or suitable in some way ? Peter never married and in the 1841 and 1851 censuses was in the household of his brother Henry until his death in 1855. 

As a follow up to the will, I traced online an index to Death Duty Records held at the National Archives (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), and found an entry relating to Henry Danson. I had to use someone in London to obtain copies for me and again it is so fascinating to have records relating to an ancestor of so long ago. The quality of the copies was not great, but they did confirm the names of the legatees and I am pleased to add them to my family archive collection.

It was left to son, another Henry,  (1806-1881) to continue the Danson line.

An entry in the family bible of young Henry's birth in 1806, 
with the date of January 1827 referring to his brother James' death  
Copyright © 2014 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

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