Thursday, May 19, 2011

The early life & parents of Mary Benson 1843-1931


Mary Wright (nee Benson) was the wife of James Wright and they were my 3xgreat grandparents. It took me quite a while to locate the marriage record of James and Mary in the Yorkshire Gazette (1861), as I could not find a record in the parish records of parishes that I thought they may have married in. This newspaper record told me that they were married at St. Olave's Marygate, York - I have yet to look through this parish's records to see if there is any extra information about this marriage e.g. who were the witnesses? Also, when I started this research in 1999, I was not accustomed to ordering marriage certificates - I also have not yet got this certificate though I do know its reference number. This may give me some extra interesting information.

The first clue that Mary Wright was born Mary Benson came when looking through the Acomb Census records - in the old fashioned way of scrolling through microfilm at York Library. Here I found in the 1881 census that John George Wright, the eldest son of James and Mary Wright was living in Acomb with his grandparents George and Eliza Benson. This showed me that Mary Wright was the daughter of George and Eliza Benson.

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John George Wright seems to have been close to the Benson family as he named one of his children "Benson". Unfortunately he died in infancy:

From the baptismal register of Edward-the-Confessor Church, Dringhouses: bp. Jan 1 1885, Benson Herbert, son of John George & Annie Elizabeth Wright, North Lane Dringhouses, builder.

Yorkshire Gazeette 22/12/1888:
Death of John George Wright's son Benson Herbert aged 4.

The children of George & Eliza Benson

Mary Benson was the eldest child of George & Eliza Benson. I was able to piece together their family details from parish records, the IGI, census records and the newspaper indexes at York library. It appears that George and Eliza had 9 children, with 3 dying in infancy. The remaining 6 children all had children (issue) of their own (I will detail these descendants in the next post). What's also notable from this pedigree is that Eliza's maiden name is GOWLAND - this was first evident to me when I saw that George and Eliza had used this name as a middle name for two of their sons.

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From what I can gather (more info to come in later posts), George Benson was born in 1818 in Acomb but left at some point prior to 1841 to apprentice as a baker in York (this was with his future wife Eliza's father). George and Eliza married in York between Oct-Dec 1841 and had five children in York:

IGI search on
bp. 18 Dec 1842, Mary, daughter of George & Eliza Benson, St. Michael's Spurriergate, York.
bp. 6 Jan 1845 Thomas Gowland, son of George & Eliza Benson, St. Michael's Spurriergate, York
bp. 6 Jan 1845 Elizabeth, daughter of George & Eliza Benson, St. Michael's Spurriergate, York
bp. 17 Jan 1847 Eliza, daughter of George & Eliza Benson, All Saint's Pavement, York.

George Gowland Benson - known to have been born in 1849 from census records, but I cannot find his baptism in either parish records or the IGI. They then moved around 1851 to Acomb and had four more children:

baptisms MF 624 Acomb Parish Registers
bp 2 Nov (b 27 Sept) 1851 - William Benson, son of Geo. & Eliza, Acomb, farmer.
bp 2 Nov (b 27 Sept) 1851 - Martha Emma Benson, son of Geo. & Eliza, Acomb, farmer.
bp 3 June (b 9 May) 1861 - Frederick Thomas Benson, son of Geo. & Eliza, Acomb, farmer.
bp 5 Oct (b 19 Aug) 1866 - Florence Anne Eliza Benson, son of Geo. & Eliza, Acomb, farmer.

The deaths of Eliza and Florence Anne were confirmed from death records in the York newspaper index. Thomas Gowland is presumed to have died by 1851 as he no longer appear in the census.

What did George Benson do after returning to Acomb?

The census records show that George Benson worked as a farmer after returning to Acomb in 1851 until his death in Acomb in 1897 (according to the York newspaper index). Between 1851-1881 he and his family lived on front street apparently at the corner of gayle/gale lane. This is what each census record says (I won't post each of these images just yet as they will take up too much space):

1851 - farmer of 87 acres,
1861 - farmer of 120 acres
1871 - farmer of 100 acres employing 2 men
1881 - farmer
1891 - now living on gale lane at the corner with front st, still a farmer

In 1901, Eliza Benson is now a widow and living at 21 albert street, Acomb. She is living with her second eldest daughter Elizabeth who appears never to have married. She is also living with her grand-daughter Florence Anne Benson, named after her youngest daughter who died in infancy. This grand-daughter was born in Filey and I have now found out from the 1911 census that she is the daughter of Elizabeth. I'll write more about that in the next post.

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Eliza Benson died on the 8th August 1906 (again, according to the York newspaper index) - 7 years to the day after husband.

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