Dalston registers – love and Latin

Dalston registers cover the parish and village of that name in Cumbria. But this post is of general interest to: anyone researching their family history anywhere; anyone interested in Cumbrian history, and; anyone who likes a ‘good story’. And there’s a love story, for Valentine’s Day!

Parish registers

In my post on the Kirkoswald parish registers

I mentioned how much more you can get from searching through full registers, compared to online clicks in a search box. Of course, I do appreciate that’s simply not possible for most people. But it’s just a reminder that if you ARE able to get to a county archives or library or other place that holds parish registers, it really is worth it. 

The following are items I noted while working through the Dalston registers in search of some of my ancestors.

Dalston registers

Love’s young dream

If you’ve heard the oft-repeated idea that ‘everyone died young’ in centuries gone by, you may find this post on Average life expectancy in 1776 and 1845 of interest.

For sure, the residents of Dalston parish in the reigns of Queen Anne and George II would have laughed at anyone today imagining they were considered to be ancient if they made it to 60.

  • 1706. Robert Simpson, aged 80,married Jennett Harkness
  • 1731 Robert Briscoe, aged 88, married Isobel Dawson

Latin puzzles

Go back a few centuries, and many vicars like to use Latin in the parish registers. It had, after all, been the language of the Church and of legal documents, for a long time. Dalston registers are no exception.

Thanks to the internet, you can quickly translate some:

  • vidua = widow, 
  • uxor = wife. 

But what to make of 

‘buried 1621 William Peele, sutor calcearius’?

Which one online translation tool offered as ‘soup shoe’! But others say means ‘shoemaker’s shoemaker’.

Elizabetha Rainbow uxor Edwardi Rainbow Episcopi sepulta fuit sexto die Decembris Anno Domini 1702. 

It’s not hard to work out that this was the wife of Bishop Rainbow, and that she was buried on December 6, 1702. 

It must have been love

 In 1632, on May 28, the Dalston registers record that Annas Ladyman (presumably Ann) got married. The surname ‘Ladyman’ may or may not have appealed to her, but she married… John Dunghillson.

It’s not really surprising that if you key ‘Dunghillson’ into Ancestry’s ‘search’ box* (without a first name, dates, place, or any other information), the marriage entry comes out top.

Or that there are only a handful of Dunghillsons in the search results at all – and those with a location are Cumbrian, with the last a 1666 baptism. 

One of the entries is the baptism of a Thomas Dunghillson in February 1633 – in Dalston. Suggesting John and Ann had at least one son to continue the name.

(*Yes, I looked for stats on Ancestry! But I’d never have discovered the name existed had I not read the original registers).

Tragic ends

Sometimes the vicar of the day recorded not just the date of a person’s death, but the cause – when it was out of the ordinary. As in the following examples:

  • 1583. buried Anthony Tickell, who fell off his horse asleep and died
  • 1583 John Sanderson drowned in shauke (??)
  • 1585 Thomas Reyson, infant, slaine with a doore
  • 1803 Aug 21st Frances wife of Isaac Milburn of Cardew Hall, killed by a bull aged 70.
  • 1809 May 16. Christopher, son of John Graham of Dalston Servant, killed by lightning aged 21.