Henry I (Part IV): Resolution

tree building henry 1814 (1024x425)
Great great grandfather Henry’s parents and siblings, the Moira branch


It was also clear that there were two married couples named William Dennies and Elizabeth, both having children at about the right time and place. The obvious division was that one of these couples lived at Bagworth, then Moira, both Leicestershire, and the other at Oakthorpe, Derbyshire. Both took children to the parish church of St Laurence at Measham to be baptised.

To test this I traced some family members forward to the 1841 and later censuses and obtained some entries of marriage and birth of children. The more difficult family to trace was the Oakthorpe branch, partly because I have not been able to establish that Elizabeth’s maiden name (and probably never will), but also because they were earlier.
The first complication was that there appeared to be two boys named Thomas, baptised respectively in 1807 and 1814. I traced the first to the 1851 census, when he lived at Measham and gave his birthplace as Ashby de la Zouch. He had outlived the birth of the second Thomas, so they could not be siblings. The second Thomas (1814) moved to Nottingham by 1851 and gave his birthplace as Oakthorpe.

The oldest child was Mary, baptised in 1797. She married a John Gamble and in 1841 and 1851 lived at Market Bosworth. She also gave her birthplace as Oakthorpe. I therefore concluded that Mary 1797 and Thomas 1814 were brother and sister and that the older Thomas 1807 was the issue of another set of parents named William Dennies and Elizabeth, who probably lived in Ashby. I also concluded that on the balance of probability, John 1800, Sarah 1803, William 1804, and Ruth 1808 were also siblings – it is highly unlikely that they belonged to William and Elizabeth formerly Bonsor as they were not married until Christmas 1804.


The remainder all seemed to be children of William and Elizabeth Bonsor and born at Measham or Moira. The record for Abraham 1823 shows that he was baptised at Measham Wesleyan and his mother was Elizabeth Bonsor daughter of William and Mary Bonsor. This was the connection I needed to establish the identity of great great grandfather Henry’s parents.

There was one more twist in this tale. Rachel, baptised at Measham Wesleyan, was also the daughter of Elizabeth Bonsor, but her mother was given as Elizabeth Bonsor, presumably unmarried. If the record is right, Rachel could not therefore have been sister of Abraham (or Henry), even though she gave her birthplace in the 1851 census as Moira. As I have been unable to find another Elizabeth Bonsor with mother of the same name, I suspect the baptism record for Rachel is in error and that she was Henry’s and Abraham’s sister.


Taken together, this all indicates that there were three women named Elizabeth: one of unknown maiden name, wife of William Dennies of Oakthorpe; one of unknown maiden name, wife of William Dennies of Ashby de la Zouch; and Elizabeth Bonsor, daughter of Mary.

For me, though, the important thing was that I could take my ancestry back one more generation to William Dennies and Elizabeth, formerly Bonsor, whose parents were William and Mary Bonsor. It also meant that I could trace the movement of Henry’s family from Moira, through Bagworth to Brownhills and that I could try to find out where they worked, when they moved and, perhaps, the reasons for migrating from one mining village to another and from one coalfield to another.

One thought on “Henry I (Part IV): Resolution

  1. This was a very interesting piece of detective work. For a while I pursued the wrong William and Elizabeth . I realised my error when dates and known names didn’t work out right, something that is easily done. Similarly when I took over the research on the Herford’s from my father in law, he was working on a wrong set of 2 x grandparents , and it was only when I discovered that they had emigrated to Australia that the error became apparent. This caper becomes very time consuming but oh so fascinating and frustrating in equal measures!!


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