I recently received a query about a Richard Sargeson who died in 1890 and is buried in the MacMillan Pioneer Cemetery, Lancaster Township, Ontario, Canada. Details from the cemetery give his birth date as 24 May 1789, died 16 April 1890 and that he was a “native of Cumberland England”. The question was: did he fit into any of my trees? Well ever one to accept a request I set about trying to find him. I have two trees which feature Sargeson/Sarginsons and other variant surnames: Sarginsons in Cumberland and Westmorland and Serginsons of Cumberland and Derbyshire.
An initial search of both trees didn’t find a Richard Sargeson baptised in 1789, or thereabouts, in Cumberland. However, I did find a Richard Sargison baptised 30 March 1806 in Cumwhitton, Cumberland. His father George (1776-1862) was listed as a blacksmith in a number of records and at least two of George’s sons: George (1796-1885) and Isaac (1810-1893), were also blacksmiths. George is included in the Sarginson Cumberland and Westmorland tree. However, he did not marry his wife Ezat Wright (1771-1843) until 1797 although their first son George (1796-1885) was baptised before their marriage. It seems unlikely though that their son Richard is the one in question, although the Richard in Canada variously recorded his occupation on Canadian censuses as blacksmith and/or farmer.
I then set about collecting as much information as I could about Richard. His cemetery records said that he was aged 101 years, 11 months and 8 days when he died so I wondered if his death had been featured in a local newspaper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a digitised copy of The Glengarrian or Glengarry Times on the web, although it looks like the Ontario archives might have copies of these. I live in the UK so visiting the archive isn’t a practical proposition for me. Richard was also not consistent when he reported his age on a number of the documents, I found for him:
- 1851 Canadian census his age was given as 58 suggesting a birth about 1793.
- 1861 Canadian census his age was given as 71 suggesting a birth about 1790.
- 1871 Canadian census his age was given as 77 suggesting a birth about 1794.
- 1881 Canadian census his age was given as 858 suggesting a birth about 1796.
- Memorial inscription his age was given as 101 years, 11 months and 8 days.
Using primarily census records I constructed the following family tree for him and it is interesting to note that the first names George and Isaac appear in his descendants and also that in some of the later generations the surname changes to Surgeson.
So, if you are able to shed any light on this mystery do please contact me.