Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Norris-Beldom Mystery

The Hay Wain by John Constable (1821)
A few months ago, a commenter asked if I knew why George Norris had changed his name to George Beldom. The short answer to this is: I don't know. Every so often in genealogy, I come across records that tell a story, but not the whole story, leaving some degree of mystery. I suppose that more famous ancestors would leave a greater imprint in the historical record, and, perhaps, more insight into the circumstances of the mystery. But not in the case of records belonging to agricultural laborer George Norris, who appears to have gone by the name George Beldom for over a decade.

When I first came across these records, I was not sure that they referred to the same person. In this post, I will lay out the records associated with the said names George Beldom and George Norris, and draw the tentative conclusion that these refer to one person.

So first off, where do these names fit into my ancestry? I have already posted about Henry Stroud, a pilot during the Great War, and one of my great grandfathers, and Henry Stroud, hairdresser of Hanwell, the former Henry's grandfather.

In between these two Henrys is Robert Stroud (1856-1925), a building contractor who played a part in developing Ilford, Essex. He married Charlotte Norris in 1882. The FreeBMD Marriage Index reference is Dec 1882 Wandsworth 1d 1013. They were married at St. Peter's, Battersea on Christmas Eve.

As you see from the certificate, Charlotte Norris gives her father's name as George Norris, occupation "Labourer". And it is through Charlotte that we will trace the records for George Norris or Beldom. On her census returns with Robert, Charlotte's place of birth is given as Dudley, Shropshire/ Worcestershire. (The upper margin note records a correction of Robert's age from 24 to 26 years of age at the time of his marriage).

Charlotte's 1881 Census return is as a servant in the household of widow Eliza M Bloxam at 74 Blenheim C[rescent?], Kensington. She is listed as single, aged 23 from "Staffordshire Not Known".

In 1871, the Census places Charlotte and her father in Hale, Farnham, Surrey.
       George Norris     Head       Mar  52  Labourer             [Farnham, Surrey]
       Mary        do         Wife        Mar  42                              Staffordshire, Codsall
       William    do          Son         Unm 15  Labourer                    "              Wombourne
       Charlotte do          Daur          "    13  Scholar                      "                      "
       Mary A     do            "              "    10      "                            "                       "
       George A do         Nephew     "      2                               Farnham, Surrey

And Wombourne is just a few miles northwest of Dudley and southwest of Wolverhampton. However, there is no birth index record for William, Charlotte or Mary A Norris in Staffordshire around their years of birth.

But I did find this 1861 Census enumeration at Blacklay (now Blakeley), Wombourne has the following household:
       George Beldom   Head     Mar   40  Park Lab            Surrey, Farnham
       Mary        Do         Wife      Mar   31                            Staffordshire, Codsall
       William     Do          Son                 5   Scholar                    Do           Wombourne
       Charlotte  Do         Daur                3                                   Do                 Do
       Robert Lamport     Lodger  Mar   30   Ag Lab               Surrey, Farnham
       Jane         Do         Wife      Mar   38                                  Do       Do
       George Norris        Nephew          9   Scholar                    Do   Mitcham

This is an interesting census return, because, Mary (the mother), William and Charlotte Beldom are most certainly the same individuals named ten years later as Mary (the mother), William and Charlotte Norris. The question arises as to whether the George Beldom of 1861 is also the George Norris of 1871.

Robert Lamport and Jane Norris (daughter of George Norris, labourer were married on 14 Sep 1851 at St Andrew's, Farnham. The nephew (presumably, of Robert and Jane) is probably the birth referred to in FreeBMD Birth Index George Norris Mar 1852 Croydon 2a 147. He is not someone I have followed up on.

The Wombourne, Staffordshire children have the following entries in the FreeBMD Birth Index:
       William Beldom Mar 1856 Wolverhampton 6b 360
       Charlotte Beldon Jun 1858 Wolverhampton 6b 380
       Mary Ann Beldom Jun 1861 Wolverhampton 6b 406

Charlotte's Birth Certificate reads:
       Date and place of birth: Twenty Ninth March 1858 Blacklay Wombourn
       Name/Sex: Charlotte/Girl
       Father's name: George Beldom
       Mother's name: Mary Beldom formerly Ferrington
       Father's occupation: Park Labourer
       Reported by: Mary Beldom Mother Blacklay

On 7 Aug 1882 William married Annie Cecilia Trigg. His marriage record (St John's, Hale) gives his father as George Norris, Labourer. And likewise, on 24 Dec 1887 Mary Ann married John Planton, and her marriage record (again, St John's, Hale) gives her father as George Norris, Labourer.

There are four further children to consider, although, sadly none of them survived to be enumerated in a census. They are:
       Robert Beldom Norris Sep 1864 Farnham 2a 72
              Baptized at St. John's, Hale 5 Sep 1864
                     Robert Beldon, of George and Mary Norris, Pharo's Row, Laborer
              Died Robert Norris Mar 1865 Farnham 2a 72
              Burial at St. John's, Hale
                     Robert Norris 18 Mar 1865 6 months

       George Norris Jun 1866 Farnham 2a 98
               Baptized at St. John's, Hale 8 Jul 1866
                     George, of George and Mary Norris, Common, Laborer
               Died George Norris Sep 1866 Farnham 2a 54 age:0
               Burial at St. John's, Hale
                     George Norris 17 Jul 1866 Upper Hale 7 weeks

       Louisa Jane Jun 1867 Farnham 2a 95
                Baptized at St. John's, Hale 14 Jul 1867
                       Louisa Jane, of George and Mary Norris, Upper Hale, Laborer
                Died Louisa Jane Norris Dec 1869 Farnham 2a 63 age:2
                Burial at St. John's, Hale
                       Sarah [sic] Jane 9 Nov 1869 Hale 2 yr and 5 mos

        Albert Henry Norris Jun 1873 Farnham 2a 101
                Baptized at St. John's, Hale 10 Sep 1873
                        Albert Henry, of George and Mary Norris, Pharo's Row, Laborer
                Died Albert Henry Norris Mar 1874 Farnham 2a 75
                Burial at St. John's, Hale
                        Albert Henry Norris son of George & Mary Norris 11 months Hale 28 Mar

Of these, I have the birth certificate of Robert Beldom Norris, which reads:
       Date and place of birth: Twenty Fifth August 1864 Hungry Hill Farnham
       Name/Sex: Robert Beldom/Boy
       Father's name: George Norris
       Mother's name: Mary Norris formerly Ferrington
       Father's occupation: General Labourer
       Reported by: M Norris Mother Hungry Hill Farnham

In 1881, this family is enumerated at No.1 Weybourne Lane:
       George Norris Head  Mar    60  Gen'l Laborer       Surrey, Farnham
       Mary        Do    Wife    Mar    51                               Staffordshire, Codsall
       William     Do     Son     Unm  25  Gen'l Laborer            Do         Wombourne
       George    Do     Son              12   Scholar                Surrey, Farnham

And in 1891, at Bagshot LEa Road:
       George Norris   Head   M  71  General Labourer    Surrey, Farnham
       Mary        Do      Wife     M  60                                  Staffordshire, Codsall
       George A Do      Nephew   22         Do        Do         Surrey, Farnham

In 1901, at Elm Tree Vil[las?]:
       George Norris   Head     M  82  Labourer (Agricultural)    Surrey, Farnham
       Mary      do        Wife       M  71                                          Staffs, Codsall
       Albert    do         Nephew S  32   Labourer (Agricultural)   Surrey, Farnham
       Emma Cooper    Visitor    S  28   Servant Domestic                do        do

The George Norris, son of 1881, George A Norris, nephew in 1891 and Albert Norris of 1901 are probably the same individual, George Albert Norris (1869-1947), the son of John Norris and Frances Maria Gardener. Our George and Mary Norris did not have a surviving son named George, while one George Albert Norris married Emily Cooper on 20th May 1901 at St. John's, Hale, shortly after this latter census was taken.

Both George and Mary died before the next census was taken in 1911. The FreeBMD Death Index lists the following:
       George Norris Sep 1903 Farnham 2a 81 age:84
       Mary Norris Dec 1906 Farnham 2a 103 age:77

From 1864 onwards, Mary's husband George bears the last name "Norris". We have already seen the 1861 Census from Blacklay, Staffordshire. We now turn to records prior to that date.

In 1851, a 29-year-old George Beldam is enumerated in the household of Eliza M Bloxam as a "General Servant", place of birth given as "Surrey, Effingham", which is about as far east of Guildford as Hale is to its west (about 8 miles).

At this time, 21-year-old Mary Ferrington of Codsall is a cook in the Wolverhampton household of fishmonger Joseph Bosworth.

On the 1st May 1855, George Belldom and Mary Ferrington were married at St. Michael's, Himley. The reference at FreeBMD Marriage Index is Jun 1855 Wloverhampton 6b 500.
       Groom: George Belldom/Of Full Age/Widower/Labourer/Himley
       Groom's father: George Belldom/Labourer
       Bride: Mary Ferrington/Of Full Age/Spinster/Domestic Servant/Wombourn
       Bride's father: William Ferrington/Farmer

As for records to explain George's first marriage - he is a widower in 1855 - the FreeBMD Marriage Index has George Beldon and Charlotte Tomlinson Jun 1851 Wolverhampton 17 387. England Select Marriages has the same names (and fathers both George, in addition) 24 Jun 1849 at St. Peters, Wolverhampton, but the date of the Index is more likely to be correct. The FreeBMD Death Index has a corresponding death of Charlotte Beldham Jun1853 Wolverhampton 6b 274.

In 1841, I have not yet found any George Beldom (Beldon, Belldom or Beldham, etc.), but there is a George Norris at Hoghatch Farnham:
       George Norris         45[-49]   Brickmaker     Y[es, born in Surrey]
       George    do   Junr  20[-24]   Lab[ourer]      Y
       William     do            20[-24]   Brickmaker     Y
       Jane        do            20[-24]                          Y
       Sarah       do           15[-19]                          Y
       John         do           14                                 Y
       Mary Ann  do           12                                 Y
       Henry       do            10                                 Y
       Louisa      do              8                                 Y
       Eliza         do              5                                 Y

These correspond to baptisms for children of George and Mary Norris at St. Andrew's, Farnham.
       George     21 Sep 1817
       William     21 Sep 1817
       Jane           3 Oct 1819
       Sarah        18 Jul 1824
       John           8 Oct 1826
       Mary Ann   7 Sep 1828
       Henry         2 Sep 1830
       Louisa        7 Nov 1832
       Eliza         16 Aug 1835

(It is Jane Norris who will go on to marry Robert Lamport, the couple who are lodgers with George Beldom and Mary in 1861. While George Albert Norris who is living with George Norris and Mary in 1881, 1891 and 1901 is the son of John Norris).

The marriage of the parents of these children must be this one recorded in Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages 1754-1937:
       George Norris of the parish of West Horsley bachelor married
       Charlotte Page of this parish spinster
       ... this fourth Day of November [1816]

The parish in question being St Lawrence's, Effingham, Surrey - which place was given as George Beldom's place of birth in the 1851 Census.

One reason why George and William might be baptized at the same time would be if they were twins. The 1841 Census ages are not that helpful here, since, according to the instructions for enumerations, ages over 15 were to be given rounded down to the nearest decade or half-decade. Thus, George and William being reported as 20 years old on the 1841 census could be separated in age by nearly five years.

George's year of birth based on ages given in his census records is relatively consistent, if inaccurate, at about 1819-1821. His baptism puts it in 1817 or before. William's census records (he died in 1871) yield a year of birth about 1816-1819. If they were not twins, then the double baptism suggests one of them was born before the marriage. George would be the candidate for this, since he is listed first in the 1841 census (although the census ages would argue the other way around). I had entertained the possibility that his father was named George Beldom, and this is still a possibility. Yet in the 1841 census, he is recognized as George Norris, Junior, suggesting to me that George Norris, Senior really is his father.

Here is the case for George Beldom being the same individual as George Norris.

One: George, junior and William of the 1841 census are most certainly the George and William of the 1817 baptisms. George Norris of the 1891 and 1901 censuses has a nephew George Albert Norris, who we know by other records, to be the son of John Norris. This John Norris appearing in the 1841 census as an apparent sibling of George, Junior, and baptized in 1826, a sibling of George Norris baptized in 1817.

Two: The George Beldom of the 1851 census gives Effingham, Surrey as his place of birth, which is where the parents of George (and all the 1841 siblings) were married. This George Beldom is almost certainly the George Beldom of the 1861 census, reported to be born in Farnham. The members of the 1861 George Beldom census appear to reemerge in 1871 under the name Norris.

Three: There is a lack of data for two separate individuals. There is no marriage record (1861-1865, or at any time for that matter) for George Norris and Mary Beldom, which would indicate two different people, and no obvious death record for George Beldom in the same period. While it is possible that a George Beldom deserted his family, and his wife ended up living with George Norris (I've come across stranger situations in my research into more distant branches of my family), naming a child Robert Beldom Norris argues against the plausibility of this.

Four: Further, in any one time period, I have only ever found records for one or the other of George Norris or George Beldom. Even after diligent searching, I have not found census records for George Norris for 1851 and 1861, nor any for George Beldom in 1841, 1871 and later.

The most likely explanation is that George Norris of the above records and George Beldom are one and the same. For some reason, George Norris left Farnham, Surrey between mid-1841 and early 1851 and reappears as George Beldom in Staffordshire. A family quarrel? Or some legal trouble? We'll probably never know. Depending on the timing he spent some 10-23 years in Staffordshire. Time smoothed things over. George Norris returned to Farnham between mid-1861 (when Mary Ann Beldom is born in Staffordshire) and mid-1864 (when Robert Beldom Norris is born in Farnham).

Friday, January 8, 2016

Shipmaster of Leith

Bernard Street, Leith
Continuing from the previous post, today I focus on the Denoons. As we saw in that post, the births of Mary [Maria], James (my 3xgreat grandfather), and Catherine were certified by Daniel Denoon, Shipmaster of Leith, their maternal grandfather, and Christian Reymer[t], Merchant, brother-in-law to their parents. From here it was very easy to find the following birth records for their mother, and her siblings.

Familysearch.org has the following records in Scotland, Births and Baptisms, all in South Leith, Midlothian.

                          Birth              Baptism           Father's name     Mother's name            
       Catharin    16 May 1764  24 May 1764  Daniel Denoon   Elizabeth Johnston
       Agnes        29 Apr 1767                          Daniel Denoon   Elizabeth Johnston
       Elizabeth   19 Sep 1768   22 Sep 1768   Daniel Denoon   Elizabeth Johnston
       Daniel        4 Nov 1770    14 Nov 1770  Daniel Denoon   Betty Johnston
       James        26 Feb 1773     7 Mar 1773   Daniell Denoon  Elizabeth Johnston
       Alexander  6 Dec 1774    24 Dec 1774   Donald Denoon  Elizabeth Johnston
       Katherine  19 Jul 1776     28 Jul 1776    Daniel Denoon    Elizabeth Johnston
       Charles      19 Dec 1778    3 Jan 1779    Daniel Denoon    Elizabeth Johnston
       Mary          12 Dec 1780  22 Dec 1780   Donald Denoon  Elizabeth Johnston
       Isabella      17 Jan 1783   19 Jan 1783    Donald Denoon  Elizabeth Johnston
       Janet          29 Sep 1785   31 Oct 1785   Daniel Denoon   Elizabeth Johnston
       Barbara      20 Feb 1788    6 Mar 1788   Donald Denoon  Elizabeth Johnston

These are preceded by a marriage in 1762. The transcript of OPR Marriages 692/02 0100 0291 from scotlandspeople.gov.uk reads:

              Daniel Denoon Mariner in Leith & Eliz=
              abeth Johnston were married 13 December 1762.

Which unfortunately is not much information.

We can see among the birth records the interchangeability of Daniel and Donald. And this is confirmed here on the scotlandspeople.gov.uk website, along with Elizabeth/Betty and Jane/Janet/Jessie. Of these twelve children, Catharin (born 1764) must have died young before Katherine (1776), and this latter must be our Catherine Denoon, who married the Revd. James Young.

Of the some of the remaining children, I can document the following records, starting with the youngest:

Janet (or Jessie) Denoon
Scotland, Marriages has:
      Janet Denoon (father Daniel Denoon) married Christan Reymert
              on 13 Jul 1810 in South Leith

              The Scot's Magazine Vol 69, p.637 notes a previous marriage
                      At Edinburgh, Mr. J. F. Ross, to Miss Janet Denoon, youngest
                      daughter of Capt. Donald Denoon, Leith
              For Janet to be the youngest daughter, Barbara (born 1788) must have died
              before this marriage.

Scotland, Births and Baptisms records that Christian Reymert and Jessie StClair Denoon had a child Christian Denoon Reymert, born 27 Mar 1813, baptized 17 May 1813 in South Leith. In addition, Norwegian records have other children, among them James Denoon Reymert, who studied in Edinburgh under the care of the Revd. James Young and Catherine Denoon, eventually emigrating to the United States of America.

The Phrenological Journal offers some biographical detail for James Denoon Reymert, although it's not clear where the information came from.

     His [James Denoon Reymert's] mother, Jessie Sinclair Denoon, was a Scotch lady
     of the Campbell clan, whose family grounds were a part of the present Argyle estate,
     near the Clyde, where the castle of Denoon yet stands. He had two uncles who
     participated in the American Revolution, one of whom fell in the naval service.
     Another uncle, on the mother's side, was an object of British dislike on account of
     his publications in favor of the independence of the colonies in America, and at
     length made good his utterances by emigrating to America during the war. He
     became afterwards the pastor of, and for upwards of fifty years preached in, the
     "Auld Stane Kirk" at Caledonia, N. Y. The name of Rev. Alexander Denoon is
     yet venerated by the Scotch of that place.

     At the early age of fifteen Reymert left his father's house, and being intended for
     mercantile pursuits, completed a course of study at the Commercial College at
     Christiania, the capital city of Norway. He was the youngest student at that term,
     and returned home with his diploma only to leave it again for Scotland. He entered
     the extensive commercial house of John Mitchell & Co., at Leith. Four years were
     spent there in active duties, partly in the office of Mitchell & Co., and more especially
     in the study of law and literature in Edinburgh, in the law-offices of Messers. Murdoch
     & Spencer. In Edinburgh he was under the guardianship of his uncle , Rev. James
     Young, a minister of the Presbyterian Church...

While the latter paragraph above makes chronological sense, the uncles of James Reymert Denoon (at least on his mother's side) were too young to be fighting or publishing at the time of the American Revolution. This may relate to Reymert's great-uncles Denoon, but of his uncles, including the Revd. Alexander Denoon of the "Auld Stane Kirk", see Alexander below.

Mary (or Maria) Denoon
Scotland, Marriages has:
     Maria Denoon (father Donald) married James Thomson
              on 4 Aug 1815 in South Leith

From scotlandspeople.gov.uk, I have the following death record of 11 Aug 1818:
     OPR 692/01  0070 0235
     11/08/1818 DENOON MARIA THOMSON

Charles Denoon
National Archives in Kew has ADM73/212/92, relating to Greenwich Hospital School.
      Name: Charles Denoon
      Date of Admission: 14 Jan 1791
      Parents: Daniel/Donald Denoon nee Johnston
      Date of Birth: 19 Dec 1778
This has not been digitally imaged, and it's not in my budget to have it scanned, but it is definitely for the correct person.

An artist in the United States of America named Charles Denoon made at least three contemporary engravings of naval action during the Tripolitan War 1801-1805. I have not been able to find out much more about him, although the name and nautical connection are suggestive.

Alexander Denoon
US Mortality Schedules record the death of the Revd. Alexander Denoon of "The Auld Stane Kirk" in 1850, at the age of 80. This would be in the right ball park for Jessie Sinclair Denoon's brother, born in 1774. However, an obituary for the Revd. Alexander Denoon in the American Rochester Gazette claims that he was born near Inverness, whereas Jessie's brother was born in Leith. So, it seems unlikely to me that her brother is the Revd. Alexander Denoon, since I would tend to trust the obituary, rather than the unsourced genealogy of The Phrenological Journal.

James Denoon
Of greater certainty is the identity of James Denoon, born in 1773, who might just be the publisher mentioned in the Phrenological Journal, but who would have emigrated during the French Revolutionary War (and not the American). The Merrick Library has a 1796 deed naming James J Denoon and Thomas Condie, Booksellers of Philadelphia. Worldcat.org records the partners in connection with the book:

     Sentiments upon the religion of reason and nature: carefully translated 
     from the original French, Philadelphia, printed for T. Stephens, and
     Denoon and Condie 1795.

Denoon is listed by worldcat as James Johnston Denoon. And Johnston, of course, is his mother's maiden name. The book would appear to have been regarded as subversive as narrated in a story from Judicial Records of Renfrewshire: Illustrative of the Administration of the Laws in the County, and Manners and Condition of the Inhabitants, in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by William Hector (Ed.) (J. & J. Cook Paisley 1876), pp.170-176.

Briefly, in February 1796, a package containing unbound books, pamphlets and newspapers arrived in Glasgow from James Denoon of Philadelphia addressed to D. Denoon of Leith. Among these were several that the customs officers thought seditious enough that they requested permission to confiscate the package pending further inquiries. One of these was Sentiments Upon the Religion of Reason and Nature. The package turned out to have contents for several recipients, among them Elizabeth Denoon - sister of the James who sent them - and D. Denoons, Senior and Junior. Although the relationship of these latter two is left as "relatives" in Hector's history, I suggest they are the father and brother respectively of James Denoon, and that the father is Daniel Denoon, Shipmaster of Leith. As seen above, Elizabeth and Daniel, Junior are also children born to Daniel Denoon and Elizabeth Johnston.

Donald Denoon
       Scotland, Marriages has:
       Donald Denoon married Agnes Keir (father Stephen)
              on 25 Apr 1801 in South Leith

       Donald Denoon married Harriot Ballingall (father David)
              on 15 Jul 1804 in South Leith

      A "Testament Dative and Inventory of the debt and sum of money addebted to and
      owing remaining to [...] Donald Denoon residenter in Leith who died there upon the
      fifteenth day of April [1806]" was made by "Harriet Ballingall or Denoon Widow of
      the said Defunct".

      There is a postscript to the story of his widow, although not involving any progeny of
       the Denoons.
             The Edinburgh Weekly Journal of 17 August 1806 notes the marriage of
              Lieut. Alex. Anderson of the marines, to Mrs. Denoon, relict of Capt.
              Denoon, and sister to Col. Ballingall. On 11 Sep 1814, now-Captain Alexander
              Anderson R.M. of H.M.S. Confiance was killed in the Battle of Lake Champlain,
              and is buried in Plattsburg, NY. The probate record for his will is at the National
              Archives in Kew, and notes that he was a widower. A thread on
              british-genealogist.com, the writer of which has presumably seen the will, notes
              a son Alexander and his executor David Ballingall.
              FreeReg has transcribed the birth (7 May 1807) and baptism (12 June)
              record for the son, Alexander Anderson, at St. Margaret of Antioch, Rochester.
              There also is the burial of 27-year-old Harriet Bellinghall Anderson on
              11 February 1809. Alexander followed his father into the Royal Marines, rising
              to the rank of Lt. General. He died 21 November 1877, and is buried in
              Brompton Cemetery, London. His monument has an interesting arrangement of
              cannonballs on it, one of which has been stolen.

Agnes Denoon
       Scotland, Marriages has:
       Agnes Denoon (father: Donald) married James Thomson
              on 22 Sep 1786 in Edinburgh Parish

              Evidently, this is extracted from: The Register of Marriages of the City 
              of  Edinburgh 1751-1800, Francis J Grant (Ed.) [Edinburgh 1922],
              the entry for which reads (p.785):
                     Thomson, James, merchant, New Grayfriar's p., and Agnes, Tron p.,
                     d. of Donald Denoon, shipmaster in Leith, 22 Sept. 1786.

Returning to the father, Daniel/Donald Denoon, the Edinburgh Advertiser from the 1780s through to 1800 has many references to Captain Donald Denoon, Shipmaster of Leith in connection with the following vessels, plying trade between Leith and London:
       1781-83   Friendship
       1784        Raith
       1785-86   Star
       1789-92   Jemima
       1793-96   Duchess of York
       1796-97   Minerva
As to the fates of Daniel Denoon and Elizabeth Johnston,OPR692/01 0070 0190 transcript: 
      Johnson Elizabeth Relict Daniel Denoon Shipmr. S.L. died the 9th 
      & was buried the 12th June [1815] E.78.N.43. Old Age 68

Originally I had thought that her husband's burial might be recorded St Botolph, Aldgate, London on 16 Nov 1812 for one Donald Denoon. Our Shipmaster of Leith had London connections, while this London burial clearly had Scottish connections, noted as it is in The Scots Magazine and Edinburgh Miscellany, Vol 74 (1812), p.964 that "At London, Capt. Donald Denoon, in his 69th year". However, the date does not agree with the birth record of the three children of the Revd. James Young and Catherine Denoon, attested by Daniel Denoon and his son-in-law Christian Reymert. This record is dated April 1813, and latest of the births was December 1812, after the burial date. Thus, I am still searching for a death or burial date, sometime between 1813 (that is, after the birth record) and 1815 (before his wife's death).

City Directories and the advertisements for his voyages place his address at Bernard Street, Leith - the picture at the top of this post.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Youngs and Denoons

Old Toll Booth, Edinburgh 1811

In the previous post, I followed the ancestry of Jemima Jessie Foggo, first wife of James Denoon Young (my 3xgreat grandfather) back to Niel Gow. Now I return to my direct line through James Denoon Young himself.

This is material I've been sitting on for a while. More than two years ago (wow!), a correspondent by the username CasparV directed me to a possible birth record for James Denoon Young (and also two of his sisters). At the time I wasn’t convinced, but hadn’t ruled them out either. Now I am certain that this is just such a record, thanks also to an archaeologists from Scotland who sent me a transcript of the original document, and subsequently an image. So thanks to both for steering me in the right direction.

Scotland, Births and Baptisms is an index compiled from various sources, including microfilm of the original documents. The names of the parents in this record are given as James Young and Catherine Dinoon, but there is always the possibility of the original document containing more information than the index. The original document (scotlandspeople.uk.gov - OPR Births 685/03 0110 0356) consists of the certification of the births of three children of the Revd. James Young and his wife Catherine Dinoon (my 4xgreat grandparents). Unusually, the parents are not the ones attesting to the births, but the mother's grandfather and brother-in-law. As such, it has good deal more information than the index itself. Here is a transcript:

                                                 21st [April 1813]
              Revd James Young Edinr and Catherine Dinoon his
              Spouse had a Daughter Born the 30th of November 
              1809 named Mary.
              The said Parents had a Son Born the 16th of May 
              1811 named James.
              The said Parents had a Daughter Born the 11th of 
              December 1812 named Catherine. The above 
              Births are Certified by Daniel Dinoon Shipmaster 
              in Leith, Father to Mrs. Young, and Christian Rey-
              mer, Mercht. Foot of Leith walk, her Brother in law.

So, three birth records for the price of one, being those of Maria Denoon Young (later Peddie), James Denoon Young (my 3xgt grandfather), and Catherine Denoon Young (later Ponsonby, and then Smith). I wonder why the parents hadn't registered the older two earlier.

So, what convinced me? Having become accustomed to the imprecision of so many (especially pre-1837) documents, I wonder now why I was so cautious! However, there is additional information in the transcript, not present in the index, plus further information I discovered after I first received the tip, for which thanks are due to distant cousins in Belgium.

First, the occupational data for the father of James Denoon Young from other sources shows he was an ordained minister, and that after the Great Disruption of 1843, he joined the Free Church of Scotland. I have never been able to find him in any of the church histories, and this may be due to the fact that he never was the minister of a church. Family recollections refer to him as a "stickit minister". As part of the process of finding a pulpit, presumably after ordination, the ministerial candidate had to preach a sermon, and some were found to be unable to do so effectively - the sermon "stickit" in their throat, so to speak. This didn't preclude gifts in other areas of ministry - Revd. James Young wrote a whole volume on the Book of Revelation, for example - but they would not be the senior minister in a parish. Joseph Ebenezer Cupples, brother-in-law to Charles Denoon Young, writes in his genealogical biography (Cupples, JE, The Cupples Family: A Record and Family Memorial [Malden, MA 1887]) that the Revd. James Young was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in England. In any case, my prior information had the father of James Denoon Young as the Revd. James Young, and here the father appears on this birth record.

Second, there are many records for Catherine's father Daniel (or Donald, its Gaelic equivalent) Denoon, shipmaster of Leith, and no other for Dinoon, suggesting that Dinoon is merely an odd spelling of Denoon on this document, and not a distinct last name. The Edinburgh Advertiser during the 1780s and 90s mentions Donald Denoon frequently in connection with shipping from Leith to London; his ships are named: The Friendship, The Star, The Jemima, and the Minerva. Subsequently I have received from cousins in Belgium, the scan of a letter passed down through the family of Catherine Denoon Thomson from her cousin James Arthur Young, written in 1913. In the letter James Arthur Young mentions their common great grandfather Denoon as Shipmaster of Leith, who fortunes declined due to the disruption to trade caused by the French Revolutionary Wars.

The brother-in-law turns out to be Christian Reymert, who married Janet (or Jessie) Denoon, daughter of Donald Denoon. Christian Reymert was Norwegian, and the couple moved to Norway. Their son, James Denoon Reymert, emigrated to the USA, and became editor of the first Norwegian language newspaper in the country. Before he emigrated, he spent time in Edinburgh, where he lived under the care of his uncle, the Revd. James Young. Note that the Revd. James Young and Catherine Denoon name a child Jessie Sinclair Denoon Young, who later married David Purdie Thomson. They are the parents of Catherine Denoon Thomson noted above.

Likewise, the problems with the ages are small compared with documents I've found for other people. Of the three children of the birth certification, here is a comparison between ages on documents and their "correct" age, given their certified date of birth.

Ages on documentation for Maria Denoon Young or Peddie (only on this birth certification is she known as Mary; elsewhere as Maria):
          Date of birth given as 30 November 1809
          Census 1841 Age 30 (i.e. 30-34) should be 31
          Census 1851 Age 41 should be 41
          Census 1861 Age 50 should be 51
          Census 1871 Age 61 should be 61
          Census 1881 Age 70 should be 71
          Census 1891 Age 80 should be 81
          Age at death on 23 October 1893 given as 78-80, should be 83

Ages on documentation for James Denoon Young:
          Date of birth given as 16 May 1811
          Census 1841 Age 30 (i.e. 30-34) should be 30
          Census 1851 Age 38 should be 39
          Census Age 48 should be 49
          Age at death on 19 April 1868 given as 55, should be 56

Ages on documentation for Catherine Denoon Young or Ponsonby:
          Date of birth given as 11 December 1812
          Census 1841 Age 25 (i.e. 25-29) should be 28
          Census 1851 Age 34 should be 38

And this information matches the family pedigree produced around 1890, and passed on through James Arthur Young to Catherine Denoon Thomson and her descendants. The pedigree names as children of the Revd. James Young and Catherine Denoon: James Denoon, William Denoon, Charles Denoon, Catherine D, Jessie and Maria. This is the order on the document, but not their birth order, which is: Maria, James, Catherine, William, Jessie and Charles.

This pedigree also claims that the Revd. James Young's parents are James Young and Euphemia Craigh of Torryburn, Fifeshire. If so, the records of their marriage must be these two. First, from Falkirk, Stirlingshire, marriage banns for:

       Euphan Mcrach and James Young on 24 Jun 1774

And in Torryburn:

       Euphame Mccraich and James Young on 25 Jun 1774

The 1851 Scotland Census gives Falkirk, Stirlingshire as the place of birth for the Revd. James Young. And, while I have not found a baptism for the future Revd. James Young, I have this one from Scotland, Births and Baptisms for a presumed brother of his:
       John Young son of James Young and Eupham Mcreach on 8 Mar 1778 in Falkirk

The "Craigh" of the pedigree is presumably the Mccreach/Mccraich/Mcrach of these records. This would make sense if the pedigree passed down orally. Also in Torryburn are the following baptisms, the first, possibly for the future wife of James Young:
       Euphame Mcraich daughter of William Mcraich and Margaret Russel 29 Aug 1748
       Agnes Mccraich daughter of William Mccraich and Margaret Russel 15 Feb 1751

Prior to that on 13 May 1748 at Torryburn is the marriage of:
       William Mccraich and Margaret Russel

Interestingly, the family pedigree has Margaret Russel as the paternal grandmother of Revd. James Young. While the name is not uncommon, it would be curious if he had two grandmothers of the same name. More likely in my opinion, I wonder if the facts have been mis-remembered, and it is this maternal grandmother, Margaret Russel to whom the pedigree name really belongs.

Next up: continuing with Catherine Denoon and  the maternal lineage of James Denoon Young.