CARSON, Mr 1
- Born: About 1800
- Marriage (1): CARSON MS UNKNOWN, Mrs
Mr Carson was a grocer, according to the death certificate of his daughter Mary Ann in 1874. He was deceased by then. 1
No Christian name was noted for either of Mary Ann Carson's parents in her death certificate of 1870. This is a little strange because the information was given to the registrar by her husband James Donaldson. It is not unknown for a husband not to know the names of his wife's parents, but it is not usual. One might expect a husband to know the name of even one of his wife's parents. James did not provide their Christian names, nor did he know his mother in law's maiden surname. That is perhaps less strange. For some reason he did know that Mary Ann's father was a grocer. Since this death certificate is the only certificate we have for Mary Ann, we have little information to go on.
What can we deduce about the Carsons?
Mr Carson may have been called John. This is only a guess, given that Mary Ann's first child was named John and that the second child was William called after, one presumes, the father of James Donaldson. Mr Carson was probably born about 1800 or 1805, or even before. Mary Ann was born about 1830 and Irish men of the time married at about the age of 30 years. James Donaldson and Mary Ann Carson were married in Ardkeen parish, County Down. It is predominantly and Presbyterian county, and Carson as a name is certainly associated with Presbyterian culture, originating as it did in Scotland. James and Mary Ann brought their family up as Roman Catholics, suggesting that James at least was Catholic if Mary Ann was not.
Often the marriage takes place in the bride's parish. There are, however, no Carsons listed in Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 1848-1864 for Ardkeen, which suggests that whatever Mr Carson did it did not have to do with the land, or not in Ardkeen. So Mr Carson may indeed have been a grocer, or at least a grocer's assistant. Mary Ann's death certificate recorded her parents as deceased in 1874, but we do not know whether they were alive or dead when their daughter married, or even before then.
A hypothesis may be that Mr and Mrs Carson lived in a nearby town like Newtonards, and that their daughter was in service in Ardkeen, or some similar scenario. The distance between these two points is about seventeen and a half miles. An entry contributed by an LDS member has some merit in fitting some of the picture we are looking for:
John Carson born 1799 in Donaghadee, County Down, marries in 1825 Mary Morrow born in the same town in 1800. They have at least two children known of Nevin and Jane, also born in Donaghadee and dying as small children. The wife died 1845, the husband 1851.
This suggests a possible illustration of what may have happened to the Carson family in the 1840s and 1850s. These were troublesome and painful decades for Ireland. Mary Ann may have been an orphan. She herself may not have known her parents' names, which would explain why her husband did not. Between 1846 and 1851 the potato famine took a terrible toll on the Ards peninsula. It may have reduced the Carson family, as it did others, to separate individuals who survived as best they could. many of those who survived, like Mary Ann, were the ones who left Ireland for other lands.
Mr married Mrs CARSON MS UNKNOWN. (Mrs CARSON MS UNKNOWN was born about 1805.)