Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919) of Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde Lancashire, has been at the heart of my family history story and featured regularly on my blog.
But what of her family?
I tuned to the IGI (International Genealogy Index) (this was in the days of microfiche) and discovered two more daughters born to Robert and Jane Rawcliffe - Margaret, born 1852 and Martha Septima - a second name that intrigued me - born 1863. But I could not find trace of Martha in the 1871 census. So what had happened to her?
I next turned to the Lancashire Parish Records Online to find that three of the sisters had not survived infancy, with Margaret dying at 3 weeks old, Peggy just 16 day old and Martha aged 4 months, just after her baptism - all buried at the Church of the Blessed Virgin mary in Hambleton. Unfortunately there is no gravestone nor listing in monumental inscriptions.
So Maria’s mother Jane, gave birth to 8 children in a sixteen year period Jane was aged 44 at the birth of her youngest daughter Martha and died two years later, buried on 4th May 1865, leaving her five young daughters motherless at the ages of 6, 8, 11, 14 and 17. - the youngerst my great grandmother Maria.
So what happened to the five surviving sisters - Anne, Jane, Alice, Jennet and Maria? I will follow their stories in future posts.
Through the Internet, I made contact with Jane Rawliffe's great grandson and Alice Rawliciffe's 's great granddaughter and discovered we held the same family photographs. The surprise finding was to discover that Alice Rawcliffe died in Jamesburg, New Jersey - the first time I was aware of any American connections.
Again It was a story of births outside marriage, infant deaths, large families and remarriage - all features of life at the time.
So watch this space for more tales of the Rawcliffe sisters.