The next helpful bit of information was the baptism transcript of John at St James, Ogley Hay on 24 September 1852. The church was then quite new, having been consecrated only eleven months earlier. The parents’ names were Henery [sic] and Dorothy.
Henry Dennis was easy enough to find in the 1881 census; there was only one such inhabitant of Brownhills born in Leicestershire at about the right time. His age was 66, occupation miner coal, birthplace Gresley, Leicestershire. There was also a daughter, Eliza, 30, born Bagworth, Leicestershire, and she was blind. In addition was a grandson Charles Albert Gregory, 13, miner coal, born Ogley Hay. I found reference online to his being born at Moira, Leicestershire and mother’s maiden name was Hogg.
This was beginning to narrow down the areas of search, but Henry’s birthplace was unclear; Gresley or Moira? The most obvious way of answering is that if Gresley, the most likely place of baptism would be Church Gresley, but I found nothing relevant.
Familysearch, had two baptisms on 8 January 1815 at Measham: Henry Dennies, parents William Dennies and Elizabeth; and Mary Dennis, parents William Dennis and Elizabeth.
Jill Dixon very kindly revisited the parish register and sent me a copy of the relevant page. This recorded one baptism of a Henry Dennies, child of William & Elizabeth, of Moira. Jill explained that there were no other Dennis baptisms on the same day. The error, which has now disappeared, was clear. In the original entry the handwriting is somewhat spidery and the name could easily be mistaken for Mary. The contributor had then adjusted the surname to its more modern spelling.
So Henry was baptised at the parish church in Measham on 8 January 1815 and was probably born in late 1814 (later, a family bible would give 14 December). His parents were William Dennies, collier, and Elizabeth, and they lived at Moira, where Henry was born.
Once again there was a break in progress. I found records of many Dennies families in Measham in 1841, 1851 and 1861 (online via the Measham St Lawrence Parish Page, now at rootsweb, part of Ancestry) and thought they were probably all related somehow. Much later I would manage to show how almost all fitted in and found that some were involved in what today would be seen as petty crime and some in shocking mining tragedies.