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Monday, 16 September 2019

Grandfather's 42 First Cousins: 52 Ancestors - Wk. 38.

The "52 Ancestors" prompt of  "Cousins" had me stumped, until inspiration dawned (during the night of course) and I decided to look at the pattern of cousins in three generations of my family from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire

  • My grandfather  William Danson (1885-1965) had at least 42 first cousins. 
  • My mother Kathleen Danson (1908-1999) had 6 know first  cousins.
  •  I have just 4 first cousins.  
    My grandfather, William Danson (Billy) 
Grandad William (Billy) Danson had a bevy of aunts, uncles and cousins nearly all   living locally.  For his father James Danson was the youngest son, in a family of two  brothers and six  sisters, children of Henry Danson and Elizabeth Calvert.  His mother Maria Rawcliffe had four sisters, daughters of Robert Rawcliffe and Jane Carr.

ON HIS FATHER'S SIDE  - 26 Danson cousins,  with names in italics.
Billy's eldest Aunt Eli
abeth Danson, married Thomas Bailey, with six children born to the marriage - William, Elizabeth, Henry, John, Margaret Ellen  and Mary Jane,  But their mother died at the age of 53, in 1885, followed  by her husband a year later,  leaving a young family that included daughters Margaret Ellen and Mary Jane, only aged twelve  and nine.  Margaret went to live with her  elder sister Elizabeth, now married, whist Mary Jane joined the married household of her brother Henry. 

At the age of 28, Mary Jane married in 1905 at St. John's Church Blackpool John William Oldham from a family of carters and coalmen, with   two daughters  born to the marriage - Elsie and Hilda Oldham. but tragedy continued  to mar Mary' Jane's  life, when her youngest daughter Hilda  died aged 6 in 1915.   

 A family photograph of Mary Ellen with her husband John Oldham, 
                            with baby Hilda Oldham  and older daughter Elsie. 

Seven years later, Mary Ellen was sadly hospitalised and remained there until her death in 1945.   

Mary Ellen Oldham, nee Bailey
The only photograph I have of any of the 26 Danson cousins. 

Billy's Aunt Grace Danson, named after her maternal grandmother,   married Poulton joiner  John Cookson with  four children born to the marriage - George Henry, James, Tom, and Elizabeth.   Grace died in 1891 aged 58.  John second wife Elizabeth was twenty years his junior, descried in the 1901 census as "keeper of a sweet shop, working on own account  at home". Their daughter Alice was born c.1893, but died aged only 22, with the lovely epitaph  on the family gravestone "She lived respected and died lamented".

Billy's Aunt Mary Danson  married William Henry Gaulter, but their life together was unfortunately short.  For Mary, aged 26 died following childbirth, leaving her two young sons John Robert and William Henry motherless. Their father remarried, with their first born baptised,  only ten days after her parent's marriage.
Billy's Aunt Margaret Danson  was married and widowed twice by the age of 34 and had no children as cousins for Billy. 

Billy's Aunt Ellen Danson had an illegitimate  daughter in 1866, named Mary.   Ellen married John Longshaw in 1872 and they had a son John.  But in the census returns of 1871, 1881 and 1891, young Mary was living  - not with her mother - but with first her grandparents and then her widowed aunt Margaret. 

Billy 's Aunt Jane Danson married Thomas Cardwell, one of ten children, including eight sisters. the couple  had four children  - Ellen, Emma, Cornelius and Thomas.

Billy's Uncle Henry  Danson remains a mystery with two possibilities traced but not one definitavely confirmed.

Billy's Uncle John Danson, a gardener  married Mary Ann Tattterson  and they had  family of seven children who survived infancy   - Elizabeth, Harry, Mary, John, George,  twins John  & Jane,  and William.  The family moved away from the Fylde, to  West Yorkshire and then Clitheroe.  It was John, senior who had inherited the family bible with this page recording events. 

ON HIS MOTHER'S SIDE -  16 Rawcliffe cousins.

Billy's Aunt Anne Rawcliffe  had an illegitimate daughter Jane Alice, before she married gamekeeper Robert Roskell, with four children born to the marriage John, twins Matthew & Agnes, and Maria.  However Matthew did not survive infancy and young Jane died at only 14 years of age. 

Billy's Aunt Jane Rawciffe married Thomas Riley in 1873.  The photograph below came from an internet contact descendant and shows four generations of their  family, with first cousin George  on the left. 
 Jane Riley, nee Rawcliffe with her son George (left) grandson (Jack) and Jack's baby son George Robert who did not survive infancy.

Billy's Aunt Jennet Rawcliffe, also married a Riley - Richard Riley her brother in law's brother and they had two children Jane and Thomas

Billy's Aunt Alice Rawcliffe married John Mason and had initialy six children  - Robert William, Jane Elizabeth, John Thomas, James Richard, Margaret Alice and George RAwcliffe were born.   Then In 1886-87 the they  took the momentous decision to leave the fishing port of Fleetwood for the teeming tenements of Brooklyn, New York. where they had a further five children - Arthur Valentine, Harold Arthur Victor, Lillian Eveline,Jessie Irene, Florence Adelaie, with three dying in infancy. 

My grandfather's American cousins, with their parents
Top - Robert, Jenny (Jane Elizabeth), Mother Alice, Father John, Harold
Bottom - Thomas (John Thomas), Alice (Margaret Alice), Florence, George and James


My mother did not seem to know any of this large extended family of her father's, apart from having heard that  "granny had  two sisters Anne and Jane". Surprisingly my mother had only 6 known first Danson cousins, three of who I am still in contact with.   Mum's mothe,  Alice Englis,   is my major brick wall and I have never uncovered anything on on that side of the family.

As for myself I have only 2 first cousins in Australia on my mother's sid,  and 2 on my father's - and do admit to a touch of envy when I see pictures online of large happy family reunions.
  • My own research including parochial records, census returns and monumental inscriptions.
  • Lists of Members' Interests in the magazine of the Lancashire Heraldic and Family HIstory Society  - for the Cookson, Gaulter and Caldwell families.  I made contact and we exchanged information on our Danson links. 
  • An entry on the website of Genes Reunited resulted in information and photographs from a descendant of my grandfather's Uncle John Danson.
  • Two third cousins discovered my blog  and were major contributors of information and photographs on their Bailey/Oldham/Danson links  and the American Mason/ Rawcliffe links. 


to read posts from other bloggers taking part in the
 2019  "52 Ancestors" Challenges. 


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