Monday, February 1, 2010

Aldersons in England

Keld, Yorkshire, England
Although we don't have DNA to prove it, I suspect the Alderson family roots are Viking. The Alderson family is from the Swale River Valley which has an abundance of Viking names---Keld and Gunnerside are good examples. Click here for more information about the names of villages in the Swale Valley. Then there is the name Alder-son---sounds a bit Viking. But, the first indicator I had was in the York Viking Museum where we saw a map which showed the Swale Valley as being a significant inland Viking settlement.

The earliest Alderson I've been able to trace is Miles Alderson(1584-1610) who lived in Keld (in the upper left corner of the map above). But, we'll begin our story with Miles' great-grandson John Alderson (1661-1721) who lived in Park Hall near Healaugh (just down the river from Keld)
We have visited the area and the home was right around where "Healy Park" is in the center of this 1610 map. It's easy to imagine what the area looked like in the early 1700's---it can't have changed much. If you ever read or saw James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, then you are familiar with the area of Yorkshire, England. Although he changed everyone's names in his books, his wife in the book was Helen Alderson (not in real life). For more about James Herriot, click here.Helen Boswell, an Alderson descendant also visited Park Hall and wrote that although an Alderson family lives there presently, it was not known if they were related since they hadn't lived there very long:
We, too, found evidence of Aldersons still living in Healaugh---Dave, below is photographing a notice which includes someone named "Alderson" in the village of Healaugh.If I recall, the Park Hill home is up that hill from the village.

We don't know much about John Alderson (sometimes known as Rev. John Alderson). Some sources think he was a minister in the Church of England but others believe he was an Elder in the Baptist Church in England. We do know that he didn't approve of his son John's choice of wife. As Col. George Alderson wrote in 1860 of his ancestors:
"He (John the immigrant) was of warm and social feelings, and about to contract an alliance with a young lady whom his father (John Alderson, a Baptist minister of good standing and property) thought beneath the standing of his own family, and to divert him from consummating the alliance, furnished him with two hundred pounds, a good horse well-equipped, and sent him out to travel."
Later Col. George Alderson writes that John the immigrant became a Baptist minister himself and "kept up a correspondence with his father, John Alderson, in Yorkshire, England, who sent him three large Theological books,which this writer has frequently seen. They were printed in Old English form." Those books were last seen in Atchison, Kansas in posessesion of Lewis Allen Alderson.
The book above gives a slightly different view beginning on page 11.
"It seems that he [John Alderson the immigrant] was the son of an Episcopal minister in England and had been studying for the ministry himself, when he fell in love with a girl of whom his father did not approve. The older Alderson, in order to prevent an undesired marriage, gave his son the not inconsiderable sum of 200 pounds, as well as a fine horse and saddle, and told to travel and forget the girl. . . The father in England had, meanwhile, been delighted to hear from his son in the New World, and to know of his reformation."

John Alderson was born in 1661 in Park Laine which is in the Grinton Parish (pictured above), married either Margaret Burton and/or Alice Milner and died in 1721 also in Grinton Parish. We visited the Grinton church above, but didn't see any tombstones of family members and my most vivid memory was of flies everywhere in knee-deep grass.

It is an area of England that is awesome in its stark beauty. Our other memory of this area is being on a one lane road, in the middle of nowhere and seeing a bright red gypsy wagon off in the distance. We felt like we had been transported back in time.


Lena Zachary said...

I stumbled upon your site after doing some searching for Alderson history. I found the pictures stunning. I would love to travel and see these places. Thank you so much for posting these and the story.
Sincerely, Lena Renee Alderson-Zachary.

Lena Zachary said...
sorry, just saw the note about my email.

Barbara S. said...

Hello, my name is Barbara Brown Swinney. I enjoyed your post about the Alderson Family. I have been researching the family line too. I have gone all the way back to Miles Alderson. I have found that his father was Richard Alderson, born in 1560 in Keld, Yorkshire, England and died in 1584 in Keld.He was only 24 yrs old. He was married to Anne Norton Alderson 1560-1584. Richard's children were: Miles Alderson. If you noticed Richard died the same year that Miles was born. I am trying to find out more. Very interesting. We are from the line of John Alderson in USA (Baptist preacher). My Great Grandfather was Edgar F. Alderson and my Grandmother was Selma Alderson (Brown)We are from Arkansas. I find the family line interesting. I want to know more about the "person" and what life must have been like for them so I enjoy looking into historical records and information about customs at the time they lived. Medical problems existed that took the lives of many people in their youth. Thank you. There are several web sites and blogs on the Alderson family. Google sure is a great tool..