Mary Dobson Duncan 1845-1912

Mary Dobson was born on 17 February 1845 at Hullock Bank, Orton, Westmorland, the daughter of Frances Dobson. No father's name is give.

The following year on 9 November 1846 Mary's mother married William Duncan at Orton. Both were of Hullet Bank. William's occupation was excavator, father John Duncan, labourer and Frances's father was John Dobson, farmer. There are no known children from this marriage.

In the 1851 census the family were living at Oakley Side, Lambley, Northumberland. William was a railway labourer age 32, born Scotland. Mary's age was given as 5, presumably adjusted by a year to give the respectability of her being born after her parents' marriage.

Mary's mother Frances Duncan died aged 38 on 22 August 1856 at Finney, Kilmarnock. Her death certificate shows her father to be John Dobson, farmer and mother Elizabeth Dobson, maiden surname Grimes. The informant was her husband William.

In 1861 Mary was living with her grandparents John and Janet Duncan in Kennoway, Fife. Mary's father was probably the William Duncan, widower age 42 lodging at 36 Market Square, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, occupation superintendent railway works. This is the last record I have been able to find for William.

In 1871 Mary was a servant at 2 Queens Cresent, Edinburgh.

When Mary Dobson Duncan married William Hendry on 4 December 1874 in Edinburgh, she gave her father's name as William Duncan, occupation contractor, and her mother as Margaret Duncan, maiden surname Dobson, deceased. Her mother's name contradicts Mary's birth certificate but she named her only daughter Frances and using the Scottish naming convenction for children this would imply that Mary's mother was actually called Frances. Also Mary's death certificate names her mother as Frances.

Mary Hendry died on 3 March 1912 at Longniddry, East Lothian.

In the 1920's and 30's Mary's daughter Frances used to visit a Dobson family near Coniston Water and Daniel Dobson and two younger women would visit her. They were said to be her cousins. This is a very long time, approximately 70 years, after Frances Duncan died. Mary was just a child when they moved to Scotland and after her mother's death she went to live with her paternal grandparents. As Frances's birth certificate suggests that she was adopted is it possible that her relationship with the Dobson's is closer than first appears?


This Dobson family were based at Ullock Bank, Orton by 1841 and moved from there to nearby Greenholme, Birbeck Fells between 1861 and 1871. By 1881 they were at Grizedale, Satterthwaite, Lancashire where they remained until at least 1904. Jane died at Hawkshead in 1919 and Daniel at East View, Coniston in 1937. Some of the family are recorded on two tombstones in Satterthwaite churchyard.

Ullock Bank has several different spellings but simular pronouncation and is currently Ewelock Bank.

The Daniel who used to visit Frances Hendry would have been the one born in 1862 and who died at Coniston in 1937.