Elderson genealogy


This page could be called "Everything you know is wrong" as many of the few facts I knew turned out not to be fact at all. Almost the sole source of information on this family was my grandmother who was happy to talk about her husband's family but not her own. The facts were few, my grandmother married my grandfather at St. Andrew's Hertford (wrong) and her father was a teacher who died before or very early in the 2nd world war (not quite right). She had two brothers (wrong) called Jim and Ron (still no sign of Jim). Fortunately Elderson is a very rare name and I found Eldersons in censuses at Lanark, Hammersmith, Lewisham, and Birkenhead, unfortunately they seem to be difficult to find on other censuses.

My grandmother's father, Arthur Charles Elderson (b.1864), became the main focus of investigation and having found him on the 1881 and 1901 censuses nothing seemed unusual apart from the fact that the only candidate marriage I could find in the indexes was about ten years too early and possible partners names did not match the 1901 census. It was only when I looked up every Elderson in England on the 1901 census that a story started to emerge. There were two children living with their grandparents (maternal as their surname was different), one child a boarder in Newdigate and a married woman also in Newdigate but at a different address for whom I could find no husband without another wife. There had been the thought that there were two people with the name Arthur Charles Elderson but this vanished when I noticed started to think about the children who were living with their grandparents. If they really were grandparents then their mother's maiden name would have been Morgan and that sounded familiar. I checked the marriage index again, and one of the candidate partners for Arthur Charles was Emma Georgina A F Morgan. The 1891 census confirms much of what I suspected. Arthur Charles did marry Emma and have children and live in Fyfield where he was a School Master. Something happened before 1901 because on the census he has a different wife and three children. Looking at the dates and places of birth for the six children, that something was between 1893 and 1897.

In 1901 the "wife" of Arthur Charles is Alice. This isn't much to go on, but I thought it might be worth looking for her on the 1881 census. There was only one Alice born in 1875 at North Weald, but with no marriage I could find I wasn't certain I'd found the right person. A few weeks later at a family gathering my aunt produced some notes of a conversation when she had extracted information out of my grandmother about her family. This was all new, no one else had a list of aunts and uncles. The surname matched the one I'd found on the 1881 census. It turned out that Alice was one of the daughters of the Fyfield blacksmith, and might have been one of Arthur's pupils.

From the 1881 census we can see that Arthur's parents were Richard and Marion, and he had a sister Emma. I eventually found them on the 1871 census as Alderson but Richard is not there and there is another child called Henry. Henry was the eldest but from their ages Richard and Marion could have married ten years earlier which indicated I should look for other children.

Richard came from Scotland, probably Lanark, and was born about 1818. I found a Richard Elderson who appears to have had four children (one also called Richard) with Sarah Lyle, however I've not found a marriage for them or any indication as to who Richard's parents were though the indication is that he was born in Lanarkshire. One son, William, went to Cheshire and had a family in that area. Could the Richard who had children with Sarah Lyle be the same one who married Mary in London? He almost certainly is, ages and places of birth match sufficiently, one disappears and the other appears. The name Richard having occurred in at least three generations, no one is ever called Richard again in his first partner's family after his departure.

With the exception of Richard in 1851 I have failed to find the family before 1871. I found another five possible children in birth and baptism records born or baptised around Richmond or Westminster. It appears that Marion was known earlier as Mary, so if the children are of the same parents a marriage around 1843-52 would be likely. I found the mother of one of the children was Marion Elderson formerly Nisbet and the father was Richard (a coachman - this is one consistent fact). I had failed to find a marriage for Richard using FreeBMD, however there was a match for Mary Nisbet. Looking in the same quarter under E I found Richard with the same page number. The marriage certificate tells me Richard's father was Richard Elderson, but nothing else. Working on the place of birth of one of the children I looked in the 1861 census for the same address. Unfortunately that piece is missing, so those extra clues will never be found.

If my grandmother knew much about her family I can see why she might not have wanted to let much on, although I would have expected to hear more about her brothers. It may be that her mother concealed much and that having married well she didn't wish to have much to do with her family later on.

I would like to know more about what happened in Fyfield and something about the descendents of Arthur and Emma.


Frederick Claydon was born in Stock, the son of Joshua and Ann Claydon. He became a Blacksmith and had children with Phoebe (from Hanningfield) at Hanningfield, North Weald, and Moreton. After that he moved to Fyfield, but Fred and Phoebe have died by 1901. Joshua Came from Great Yeldham and his parents appear to have been Joshua and Elizabeth. Claydon and its varients appear to be a common name is Essex. Annemarie Shuttle's site may be of interest.

Significant sources have been:

  1. Family Search for the 1881 British Census and International Genealogical Index
  2. FreeBMD
  3. 1901 census online
  4. GRO Scotland through the Scotland's People web site
  5. Ancestry - I don't like paying for things I think should be free, however at the cost of less than twelve journeys to the Family Records Centre it has paid for itself
  6. British History has provided some useful background information referred to above
  7. old copies of Kelly's Directories are always useful for tracking people down if they stay in one place for long enough, some of which are available on-line

12 Jan 2006