Henry Pearson, mystery man

Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, Henry Pearson, was born in about 1838 in Cromford, Derbyshire, but has proved difficult to trace.

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According to his marriage certificate, his father was a labourer also called Henry, but I can find no census records for 1841 or 1851 that fit this family, nor any record of a birth or baptism.

The alternative theory, which is supported by various records, is that he was born in 1842 to Mary Kitchen Pearson. In this version of his story, in 1851 he is living with his grandmother Elizabeth Pearson in the almshouses in Cromford.

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Mary then married Jabez Fenton, and the family can be found in 1861 living in Scarthin Nick, Matlock. If this is the right story, then we probably won’t ever know who his father was.

Henry died on 17 Aug 1911 in the almshouses at Wirksworth, aged 73, occupation general labourer, and was buried two days later in the public cemetery there. I would love to know the truth about his origins and solve the mystery!

Ari, this shows how you are related to Henry:

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Frances of Ashbourne

For several of Ari’s ancestors, I know very little about their lives. I thought I’d do a post about Frances, one of his 6x great-grandmothers, to illustrate this. Apart from her burial record, the census records for 1841, 1851 and 1861 are all I have found for her so far.

Frances (or Fanny) was born in about 1782 in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. I don’t know when or where she married, but her first child, John Williams, was baptised on 8 Nov 1807 in Cawston, Norfolk, which was where Frances’ husband William Williams came from. Her other four children – Samuel, Frances, Thomas and Mary – were all baptised in Ashbourne.

In 1841, Frances is listed as living at Pig Market, Ashbourne. She is aged 60, and her children Frances (a dress-maker), Mary (a bonnet-maker), and Thomas (a pig jobber = trader) are at the same address.

In 1851 she is 70, listed as living at 32 Buxton Road, Ashbourne, with her husband, a pig dealer. The grown-up children John (42), Fanny (37) and Thomas (33) are all still living at home. (Buxton Road is just next to the Market Place.)

Finally, in 1861, she is listed at Church Yard with her husband who is shown as an almsman, widowed daughter Fanny, still a dress-maker, and son Thomas, now a general labourer. Does this mean she was living in one of Spalden’s Almshouses? Not sure!

geograph-3623395-by-David-Hallam-Jones

“The grassed area at the front of a u-shaped row of almshouses viewed from the entrance gates off Church Lane. These were once almshouses for clergy widows. They were built in 1753, courtesy of a legacy outlined in the will of Nicholas Spalden. Spalden, who lived in the early C18th, also left money in his will with which to establish two elementary schools in the town, one for thirty boys and the other for a similar number of girls.”
  © Copyright David Hallam-Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

This is the record of her burial:

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Source: England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537–1918.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Frances:

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